Sterling HeightsMay 31, 2014
Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball dominant on its way to third district title in 4 years
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball coach Joe Emanuele has stressed that his team take the 2014 campaign one phase at a time.
Coming into the state playoffs, the Titans had done just that — won their first game, reached the 20-win plateau and won a fifth straight Macomb Area Conference Red Division title.
Stevenson, ranked the No. 1 baseball team in the state by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association, kept its focus, as the Titans dominated three opponents on their way to a Division 1 district title.
The Titans advance to take on Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse in a D-1 regional semifinal set for 10 a.m. June 7 at Anchor Bay. In the other Anchor Bay regional semi, Warren De La Salle will take on the winner of a Port Huron High district at noon June 7.
Stevenson (33-2) downed Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 11-0 in a district final played May 31 at Stevenson. The Titans outscored their three district opponents (Utica Ford II, Fraser and Chippewa Valley) 34-0 on the way to the program's third district title in four years and ninth since 2000.
"This is not a group that needs motivation. They're (locked in)," said Emanuele, who guided Stevenson to a state title in 2005. "It comes from a desire to achieve every goal. We don't talk about the next step until we take care of the task at hand."
Stevenson senior pitcher Brandon Hughes got out of an early jam in the district-title game. The Big Reds (17-16) loaded the bases in the top of the first inning but could not push a run across the plate. After putting four runners on base in the first, Chippewa Valley had just six baserunners the remainder of the game.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," said Hughes, who helped his own cause with a 350-foot home run to left field in the bottom of the second inning that made it 6-0 Stevenson. "It was harder for me early on, but I was able to get back in the strike zone."
Emanuele said he tries not to let outside happenings influence his team, but with highly regarded and ranked teams like Birmingham Brother Rice, Rockford, Lake Orion and Hudsonville suffering upsets early in the postseason, he acknowledged it would be difficult to not take heed to those upsets.
"It definitely serves as some added motivation," Emanuele said. "One bad game can cost you your season. Really good teams can have bad days. That's why we just have to stay really focused in what we're doing."
Other district final scores
Warren De La Salle 9, Warren Mott 1
Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse 8, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 1
Bloomfield Hills High 4, Rochester Adams 2
Madison Heights Madison 25, Grosse Pointe University Liggett 0
Madison Heights Lamphere 11, Hazel Park 4
Romeo 6, Utica High 0
Utica Ford 2, Utica High 1
Grosse Pointe South 8, Detroit Western International 0
Macomb Dakota 1, Anchor Bay 0 (shootout)
Utica Eisenhower 3, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 2
Hazel Park 5, Hamtramck 3
Birmingham Marian 8, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 0