Senior Jamison Ross smacks a home run against Sterling Heights on May 12 at Lamphere High School.

Senior Jamison Ross smacks a home run against Sterling Heights on May 12 at Lamphere High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Lamphere baseball’s senior-led group readies for districts

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Madison-Park News | Published May 18, 2023

 Senior pitcher Teagan Barndollar controls the mound during Lamphere’s matchup with Sterling Heights.

Senior pitcher Teagan Barndollar controls the mound during Lamphere’s matchup with Sterling Heights.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


MADISON HEIGHTS — It wasn’t the start the boys expected for the season, but it was exactly what they needed.

After an impressive run through the Michigan High School Athletic Association state tournament in 2022, edging Detroit Country Day and Macomb Lutheran North, Madison Heights Lamphere’s regional semifinalist baseball team looked to build off that momentum heading into the 2023 season.

That was until a 1-5 start to the year had the team doing a little self-reflection. But having gone 13-5 since their opening six games, it’s safe to say that the Rams knew what it took to overcome the early-season obstacle.

“I’d say we started out rough just trying to get into a groove, but then we just meshed together and started swinging the bats and got more confident,” senior shortstop Noah Atherholt said.

Atherholt, one of nine seniors on the squad, is currently committed to play baseball at Macomb Community College. He leads a dynamic senior group alongside center fielder Amare Curran, outfielder Jamison Ross, third baseman Blake Holt and left fielder Joshua VanDoorn.

While the lineup includes a substantial number of veteran players who all carry their weight, Lamphere’s pitching staff of Holt, Atherholt, junior Koltin Krstich, and senior Teagan Barndollar has been dominant this season.

All multiyear varsity players, Lamphere’s core of arms helped lead the squad to a 14-10 record so far this season, including a second-place 10-2 league record in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

Lamphere coach Keith Lelli said the staff’s command has been key to its success so far this season.

“I would say we have a lot more Greg Maddux than power,” Lelli said. “Blake Holt is crafty with three or four pitches that he can usually throw for strikes. Nothing overpowering, but good velocity when he needs it. Same with Noah Atherholt; two pitches on command whenever he wants to throw them, and he can sneak fastballs by guys just by being able to locate a lot. When the time comes, he can dial it up. Koltin Krstich, he is a three-pitch (pitcher) with a lot of sink to his baseballs, so he doesn’t get hit very hard, and there’s a lot more Greg Maddux in him, too, where he’s just a strike thrower.”

Offensively, it all starts with sophomore second baseman Aidan Grzesikowski, whose combination of speed and contact ability makes him an ideal leadoff hitter.

A freshman on varsity last season, Grzesikowski was finding his footing towards the bottom of the lineup, but now has exploded during his sophomore campaign.

Lelli said his impact extends far beyond what he can do on the field.

“He not only belongs with his skill level, but his maturity level, too,” Lelli said. “He’s the varsity quarterback, too, so he has that leadership quality, and that’s the big thing.”

Atherholt, Curran and Ross have all been consistent contributors offensively this season as well.

Now heading towards the final stretch of the season, the Rams’ senior core will look to end their high school careers with another deep run into the state tournament.

Lamphere is slated to open up district play against Warren Fitzgerald on June 3 at Hazel Park High School, and will potentially face district opponents Center Line High, Eastpointe High, or Hazel Park if they move on.

Regardless of the opponent, Lelli said his guys are only focusing on one game at a time until the state tournament.

“They’re in a great headspace right now,” Lelli said. “We’re still not playing the cleanest baseball, but we’re finding ways to win. (Even if) we make an error that costs us two or three runs, we find a way to get two or three back.”

Lelli expanded on his thoughts.

“With these kids, some of them can’t even drive yet,” he said. “They’re going to make some errors, so it’s all about how you refocus and how you respond to that.”