Baseball

Published April 19, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The 2015 season was a bit of an odd one for the Macomb L’Anse Creuse North baseball team.

The usually consistent Crusaders finished 11-20 overall and 5-10 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. LCN had finished above .500 in five straight seasons before last year.

Crusaders coach Jeff Dropps, who is in his 14th year with the team, attributed the down year to quiet bats, hitting just .235 as a team in 2015.

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Published April 19, 2016

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — After finishing last season with an overall record of 30-13 and advancing all the way to the quarterfinal round of the Division 1 playoffs, Grosse Pointe North’s baseball squad is hoping to make another big splash in its 2016 campaign.

Head coach Frank Sumbera cited pitching and defense as the strengths of his squad. If those continue to be strong suits through the month of June, North may be in a strong position to realize Sumbera’s ambitions.

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Published April 18, 2016

UTICA — The Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball team lost a lot of players to graduation from a team that went 32-7 in 2015 and won a sixth straight Macomb Area Conference Red Division championship and an eighth consecutive Division 1 district title.

Even with the roster turnover, nothing changes for longtime Titans coach Joe Emanuele and his Titans.

The goals remain the same: reach the 20-win mark, win the MAC Red, bring home another district championship, and challenge for a state title.

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Published April 18, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — With a host of returning players from a team that made it to a regional final last year, Utica Eisenhower’s baseball program has plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into divisional play.

After a 4-10 start, the Eagles finished last year going 14-6 over their last 20 games. The run culminated with a district title win against Rochester High, followed by a regional semifinal win against Birmingham Brother Rice, which was Eisenhower’s first regional round victory in school history.

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Published April 18, 2016

UTICA — After winning its first Macomb Area Conference division title in two decades, Utica High’s baseball program has its sights set at the top of the MAC Blue again in 2016.

The Chieftains went 10-5 in the Blue last year to win the league title by two games over four other teams, which all tied at 8-7.

“That was a great experience and a great group of kids, but if you go back and look at those games, all of those league games were really close and they could’ve gone either way,” Utica coach Mark Moehlig said.

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Published April 15, 2016

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Longtime Warren Mott baseball coach Shawn Maloney is hopeful this season will be better than a 2015 run that saw the team finish 11-21 overall and 3-12 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division.

“It felt like the team was in a bit of a malaise last year. We weren’t really sure that everybody wanted to be here,” Maloney said. “There’s a lot of positive energy surrounding the team this year. The kids are working hard, and we feel good about the season.”

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Published April 14, 2016

C&G Newspapers

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Macomb Dakota’s baseball team has gotten its 2016 campaign off to a 2-1 start after a 17-14 victory against Grosse Pointe North April 14 on the road.

In a game that featured multiple lead changes, Dakota scored what turned out to be the winning run on a fielder’s choice RBI by junior Cade Lawitzke in the top of the seventh inning, giving the Cougars a 15-14 lead.

Dakota got two more insurance runs in the inning to help secure the victory.

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Published April 14, 2016

LATHRUP VILLAGE — Four games and two practices.

Six days in total that the Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup baseball team has spent outdoors this spring.

It’s not a unique situation that the Chargers are enduring in these first weeks of spring, which could easily be mistaken with midwinter.

But with teams like Lathrup, where so many players are in so many new positions, getting outside, eventually, may just be a saving grace.

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Published April 13, 2016

atekip@candgnews.com
ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak High baseball coach Greg Porter believes in the potential of his 2016 team.

Right now, though, it’s all about making adjustments to ensure that this season has more promise than Michigan’s spring weather forecast.

After graduating eight seniors last year, Royal Oak (1-1 overall at press time) is in the early stages of adapting to a new squad, with some players new to varsity, and others who are adapting to a new field position.

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Published April 12, 2016

ROSEVILLE — Longtime Roseville High baseball coach Keith Marzec relishes the fact that his team enters the season as two-time defending Macomb Area Conference Silver Division champions, but he knows it’ll be tough to stay atop the division.

“It’s tough enough to win it once,” said Marzec, now in his 15th year with the Panthers. “I think teams will be gunning for us.”

Marzec, whose team went 11-1 in MAC Silver play last season and 14-5 overall, said he expects the divisional race to be very competitive.

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Published April 12, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS — There aren’t many coaches who, after only a handful of outdoor practices, will pin the success of an entire season on what happens come playoff time.

Count Jeff Hall among those that will.

In fact, that’s what the Rochester Adams baseball coach did over spring break.

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Published April 12, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Dakota baseball program for nearly a decade has garnered a reputation of having consistently good teams.

The reputation is well-deserved.

The Cougars have won at least 19 games every year since 2007. In that span, Dakota has finished each season with a better than .500 record. The Cougars have also won the Macomb Area Conference Red Division title three times: 2007, 2009, 2010, and finished second in the tough league four other times since 2007.

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Published April 12, 2016

FARMINGTON HILLS — More than a decade after playing for the Farmington Hills Harrison baseball program, Dominic Carino is back in the dugout.

Though his role has certainly changed.

“This was a dream come true to get this position,” Carino said of becoming head coach of the Hawks this spring. “It was tough to leave the college game, but I’ve always waned to be part of a program known for developing student-athletes and having success on the field.”

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Published April 8, 2016

WARREN — For the seniors on the Warren Cousino baseball team, it’s been lonely at the top.

That’s because the Patriots have won three straight division titles.

Cousino (0-1 at press time) won the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division in 2013 and 2014, and went 10-2 to win the MAC White last season.

The run came after the Patriots finished second in divisional play for five straight seasons from 2008 to 2012.

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Published April 8, 2016

ROSEVILLE — Longtime Roseville High baseball coach Keith Marzec relishes the fact that his team enters the season as two-time defending Macomb Area Conference Silver Division champions, but he knows it’ll be tough to stay atop the division.

“It’s tough enough to win it once,” said Marzec, now in his 15th year with the Panthers. “I think teams will be gunning for us.”

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Published April 7, 2016

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Two years, 47 wins, a pair of district titles and an Oakland Activities Association White Division crown.

It was a pretty good run for the West Bloomfield High baseball team in 2014 and 2015.

As the 2016 season gets rolling with a roster that’s been massively overhauled, coach Eric Pierce is stressing the positives of the players he has back, not the talent he lost to graduation.

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Published April 7, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Last year was somewhat of a bounce-back season for the Clinton Township Clintondale baseball team.

The Dragons finished 2015 with a mark of 13-12, giving the team its first finish above .500 since 2011. Clintondale also finished above .500 in 2008 and 2009. The program’s last division title also came in 2009.

So what needs to happen for the Dragons to stay on the right path to success this season?

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Published April 6, 2016

C&G Newspapers

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Bishop Foley defeated Royal Oak High 4-1 in five innings on April 6 in an Oakland County Spring Break Tournament contest. The game was called after looming storm clouds made it too dark to play. 

Foley pitcher Jake Pittman allowed just one hit and helped his own cause with a solo home run to give Foley the lead in the fourth inning. Royal Oak pitcher Dave Lundeen stuck out three Ventures.

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Published April 5, 2016

TROY — It took most of the regular season, but at the most important part of the calendar, Mike Morris and the Troy Athens baseball coaching staff “put the pieces together” on a team that had an average road to the playoffs, and then nearly reached the final weekend.

“It took us all year to figure it out,” Morris said about last year’s run to the Division 1 quarterfinals. “But we ended up clicking at the right time.”

A year later, the objective for the Red Hawks is the same, even if the roster has been totally overhauled.

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Published April 4, 2016

TROY — From expanded bleachers to patio areas to a first-rate clubhouse, the Birmingham Brother Rice baseball facility went from one of the best in the state to “something I’d compare to a minor league stadium,” as coach Bob Riker put it last week.

After opening in the 2013 season, the $1.7 million Warrior Park, located in Troy, underwent the second phase of its construction this past offseason.

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