Published April 13, 2015

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — There’s almost a brand-new baseball team suiting up at Utica Eisenhower.

The Eagles graduated 13 seniors a year ago, and they will turn to four seniors and 11 underclassmen to fill those shoes.

“We’re going to grow up here in a hurry this year,” Eisenhower coach Jason Gendreau said. “It’s a different dynamic. There’s positives in both directions.”

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Published April 10, 2015

WARREN — Longtime Warren Mott baseball coach Shawn Maloney said he has an older, more experienced team than last year, and he expects the group to battle to the last out in every game.

Maloney, whose team sat at 1-3 at press time, including a 1-2 mark in the 2015 Macomb County Spring Break Tourney, said it’s important to have returning players because it allows the team to focus on fine-tuning aspects of its game instead of spending much of the pre- and early season on basics.

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Published April 10, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores South Lake baseball team hasn’t raised a lot of postseason banners, so last season’s Division 2 district title win was a big deal for the program.

“We’re expected to win now,” said senior first baseman Anthony Bommarito, a member of last year’s team that beat Center Line 6-3 in a district final. “We like that. We want to be a respected program. The district title helped make a name for (South Lake baseball).”

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Published April 10, 2015

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Players on the Clinton Township Clintondale baseball team believe this year’s group is further along than a 2014 team that featured just one senior and several first-year varsity players.

“I just feel like we’re better conditioned and we’re playing really hard,” Dragons senior pitcher/infielder Chris Williams said.

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Published April 10, 2015

C&G Newspapers

DETROIT — He played in a state championship game in high school, in front of more than 100,000 fans during his time in college, and last year, on the grandest stages that the game of football can offer as a rookie wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So when asked if he was nervous about throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Detroit Tigers’ home game April 9, Allen Robinson said simply, “I don’t think so. I feel ready.”

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Published April 9, 2015

ORCHARD LAKE — Playing doubleheaders every couple days is nothing new for the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball team — or any team, for that matter.

But the importance of the next eight games for the Eaglets is certainly something to take note of.

“We’re going to have to have a mindset of coming out ready to play in every single one of them,” Eaglets skipper Matt Petry said of his team’s upcoming schedule.

Eleven days. Eight league games in a row.

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Published April 7, 2015

FERNDALE — He’s been part of successful programs in his own backyard and where a decent amount of travel was required.

But Chris Bailey is back closer to home, back coaching the sport he loves, and now working on turning Ferndale High baseball into a yearly competitor in the Oakland Activities Association — and maybe beyond.

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Published April 7, 2015

FARMINGTON HILLS — The similarities are certainly there.

It was a team a year ago that brought back some serious talent but was void of some key returning power in the lineup and strength from the mound.

And then, the 2014 North Farmington baseball team went 25-8 and reached a district final before falling in extra innings to Novi High.

As he assessed his 2015 squad, coach Mike O’Connell talked about a lineup that graduated some power, a pitching staff with a new ace, and a season loaded with potential.

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Published April 6, 2015

EASTPOINTE — The win percentage for the East Detroit High baseball team has improved every year since 2010.

Senior catcher Andrew Whitlow thinks that trend can continue, even as the team welcomes a new coach, Tom Miller, who spent the last six years as an assistant at Center Line High.

The team’s season opener against Harper Woods High took place April 6, after press time..

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Published April 3, 2015

CENTER LINE — The Center Line High baseball team doesn’t have a roster full of power hitters, so the team hopes its approach of manufacturing runs leads to it pulling out a lot of wins in 2015.

Panthers coach Rob Conti, in his fourth year, said he wants his players to be smart at the plate and move guys around the bases. The team bunted eight times in a season-opener doubleheader sweep of Marine City Cardinal Mooney.

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Published April 1, 2015

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — After going to a state title game for the last four seasons, three of which resulted in a championship, the baseball team from Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett is preparing to embark upon another season.

Last season, Liggett won a state title after moving from Division 4 to Division 3.

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Published March 31, 2015

ROSEVILLE — Winning a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title last season was a great accomplishment for the Roseville High baseball team, but the squad now has its sights set on a different title.

“A district title is the goal,” said Panthers coach Keith Marzec, a Roseville High graduate now in his 14th year with the team. “We’ve gotten close. We want to get it done. We don’t want to be one and done in the state tournament again.”

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Published March 31, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Lakeview baseball coach Scott McGregor said the key to the team’s success in 2015 would be hitting.

Later that day (March 24), the Huskies went out and beat Utica High 6-1 in their season opener.

McGregor, whose team went 8-18 overall and 5-10 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division last year, said offense has been the focus for some time. He said Lakeview had solid pitching and defense last season, but couldn’t get key runs across the plate.

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Published March 31, 2015

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Lutheran North baseball coach Michael Hardies is direct and to the point when talking about the makeup of this year’s team.

“We have a very young team after graduating five seniors who were multi-year starters at their positions,” said Hardies, whose team sat at 0-2 at press time.

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Published March 30, 2015

DEARBORN — It may not have been a day-night doubleheader, but the results were certainly night and day.

The Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup baseball team officially opened its season Monday afternoon at Levagood Park in Dearborn, dropping a pair of games to Divine Child in vastly different ways.

“We’re going to be all right,” coach Darren Mosley said with a laugh afterward. “This was our first two games, our second time all year being on an actual baseball field. We’ll be all right.”

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Published March 27, 2015

WARREN — A group of 10 seniors, in what Warren Cousino baseball coach Justin Newcomb called as strong a class as he’d had in his tenure, will lead a team focused on ending 2015 on a different note than it did last season.

The Patriots, who finished 23-9 overall and 11-4 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division, which was good enough for their second straight league title, lost 3-2 to Berkley High in a Division 1 district quarterfinal. The game ended on a suicide squeeze.

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Published March 26, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — There’s change at the top, but those involved in the switch vow not much will be different.

In fact, as Justin Robinson prepares for his first spring as manager of the Madison Heights Bishop Foley baseball team, he does so with the same elevated expectations.

“A program with high-caliber players that will contend for state titles,” the Ventures’ first-year skipper said last week.

It’s a lofty goal, but one the program has set — and realized — in the past half-dozen seasons.

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Published March 20, 2015

STERLING HEIGHTS — The goals for the Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball team have remained the same during coach Joe Emanuele’s tenure: win game one, reach the 20-win plateau, and win division, district and regional championships.

Titans players have added another box to that list they hope to check off: win a state title. Stevenson’s lone championship came in 2005.

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Published April 30, 2014

BERKLEY — Coaching is hardly a new concept for him, but baseball is a sport he says he’s still growing with.

He’s not new to the diamond, but as a varsity skipper, his career is all of four games old.

“But I know how passionate this community is about the game,” Berkley High coach Tom Whinham said last week. “Baseball is a big deal around here, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

Whinham has coached before, even at the varsity level.

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Published July 24, 2013

FARMINGTON HILLS — He’s played catch on more occasions than he could possibly count.

A life-long baseball junky, Sterling Sharp has tossed the ball back and forth thousands upon thousands of times.

There is one, however, that will forever resonate with the recent North Farmington grad.

“I was outside, just playing catch,” he said last week. “I went in to check my phone and somebody had tweeted me a congratulations. That’s how I found out.”

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