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June 11, 2014

Stevenson baseball romps on way to third district title in four years

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball team is looking for its second state title. Pictured is Titans senior second baseman Dean Emanuele taking a lead off third base while Stevenson coach Joe Emanuele looks on during a May 31 district final.

STERLING HEIGHTS — Longtime 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 advanced to take on Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse in a D-1 regional semifinal played after press time. For more regionals, see next week’s paper and visit our website at www.candg news.com.

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.

The Titans bested Utica Ford 8-0 May 28. The Falcons finish the season at 12-15.

“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 base runners 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 events.

“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.”

Parkway Christian baseball wins district championship

The Sterling Heights Parkway Christian baseball team bested Warren Macomb Christian 11-0 May 30 to claim a Division 4 district title. The Eagles (13-5) squared off against Lutheran Westland in a D-4 regional semifinal played after press time.

To get to the district title game, Parkway Christian knocked off Royal Oak Shrine 3-0 in a semifinal.

The Sterling Heights High baseball team saw its season come to a close in a 14-0 loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a D-1 disrict semi May 31 at Stevenson. The Stallions end the season at 7-24.

For continuous coverage of the 2014 state playoffs, check www.candgnews.com and www.mhsaa.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.