WEST BLOOMFIELD — First came the upset of the opening round.
Then came the first district title since 2007.
Now the West Bloomfield High baseball team gets to contend with a team that’s made a living of reaching the regional round in the state playoffs.
And coach Eric Pierce is just fine with that.
“If you look back and see how far they’ve come, and look at the strides we’ve made, I think we’re one of the best teams in the state when we play at our best,” Pierce said earlier this week about his Lakers.
After beating Brother Rice, Southfield-Lathrup and Seaholm in the district round, West Bloomfield is now set to face a 26-4 Northville High team in Saturday’s noon regional semifinal at Novi High.
“We know Northville is very solid,” Pierce said. “In order to have the records they’ve had in the past, they have to be a good program.”
The Mustangs won their third consecutive district title last weekend, allowing three total runs in a pair of wins against Plymouth Salem (1-0) and Canton High (5-2).
“They are fundamentally sound on defense. They have good pitchers, and they are a team that can hit the ball,” Pierce said of Northville. “We have to hit the ball well, and we have to make the plays we should. We can’t give anything away, because they will make us pay if we do.”
Northville is playing in its fourth regional since 2009, which gives them an experience advantage.
Though Pierce isn’t buying into that.
“I’m not worried about experience or anything like that,” he said. “We have a lot of veterans, a lot of seniors on our team who are hungry, excited and not very nervous at the opportunity we have. They want to seize this moment. They want to be part of this.”
In last weekend’s district round, West Bloomfield beat Lathrup 11-1 and Seaholm 11-5 on the heals of some strong offense and near-perfect defense.
“A lot of what we did in those games we have to do again,” Pierce said, stressing how good his defense must be. “At the same time, as the season goes on and you move from one round to the next, you always want to progress a little bit. You want to play a little bit better, and we need to do that.”
The winner will face Novi (23-13) or Brighton High (27-6) in a 3 p.m. final.