Senior leadership key for Stevenson baseball

By: Jason Carmel Davis, | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 18, 2017

STERLING HEIGHTS — Last season, Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball fell to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a Division 1 district final, ending the program’s streak of eight straight district titles.

But so far this season, it looks like the team has put that setback behind them.

At press time, the Titans were 4-1 overall.

 Sterling Heights Stevenson senior catcher Todd Paperd takes a lead off first base against Madison Heights Bishop Foley. The Titans fell 4-0, and their next game is against Anchor Bay at 4 p.m. April 19 on the road.

Sterling Heights Stevenson senior catcher Todd Paperd takes a lead off first base against Madison Heights Bishop Foley. The Titans fell 4-0, and their next game is against Anchor Bay at 4 p.m. April 19 on the road.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

So what has led to Stevenson’s strong start?

“I think it’s senior leadership,” said coach Joe Emanuele, who guided the team to a 27-11 record last season and a seventh straight Macomb Area Conference Red Division title.

“We have a group of guys who are able to play the game unselfishly. They don’t worry about individual accolades. Our seniors run the team.”
Stevenson’s roster features eight seniors, including captains Luke McGuire (pitcher/infield), Mario Camilletti (shortstop/pitcher) and Todd Paperd (catcher/left field).

Stevenson has had a slew of strong seasons. The team has won 10 of the last 12 MAC Red titles and has reached 20 wins in nine straight campaigns. It last finished with a losing record in 2002, but still won district and regional titles that season.

“I think things are going great so far,” said McGuire, who already has a grand slam to his credit. “We’re an older team, but we still have a lot of new guys. We’ve bonded quickly, and I think that’s shown on the field so far. I think we’ve got good things to look forward to.”
Emanuele said — and McGuire concurred — that the team has a lot of depth.

The Titans should be able to produce a lot of runs, and the defense is a strength too, with talent up the middle, according to the coach.

Emanuele is also leaning on his pitching staff and noted that junior hurler Zack Roth has been a pleasant surprise. At press time, Roth was 2-0 and had allowed just two runs over his two starts.

The goals are clear for Stevenson: eclipse the 20-win plateau, win the MAC Red and make a deep postseason run.

McGuire believes the team can hit all of those marks.

“We just have to stay focused,” McGuire said. “Regardless of the opponent, we have to take every pitch, every out and every inning seriously. If we do that, I think we’ll have a good year.”

Stevenson’s next game is against Anchor Bay High at 4 p.m. April 20 on the road.