Published July 17, 2013

He was more than two hours late for his own graduation party, but the excuse came in the form of a baseball regional championship trophy.

So as he got acclimated to the guests there to, well, celebrate him, Harrison Wenson could hardly pay attention to his own cellphone.

When he finally did, confusion was calling.

“I had so many missed calls and texts,” he said with a laugh. “People were congratulating me, but I didn’t understand why. These were a lot of the same people I had been with during the game all day.”

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Published July 12, 2013

It began as a simple idea — a possibility to be kicked around.

Some three years later, it’s become an event generating more interest than ever expected.

And it’s all for a cause that needs every bit of the interest.

“Every year, we seem to turn away more teams than the year before,” Allan Bittker said of the annual Matthew Bittker Foundation baseball tournament, which was held June 21-23 in Franklin. “We’re limited to a max of 14 teams to host every year, and we’ve always had 14 teams.”

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Published June 19, 2013

When the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball team lost to Richmond High in extra innings of a regional game last season, Matt Petry spoke of the necessary steps the program had taken to get back on track.

When the Eaglets lost to Richmond in extra innings of the 2013 regional round, Petry boasted about many of the same steps, now with a focus on taking “the step,” come next spring.

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Published June 12, 2013

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s baseball team captured what coach Dan Cimini said is the program’s fourth regional championship in the last six years with a 2-0 victory against Allen Park Inter-City Baptist in a Division 4 regional final at Liggett June 8.

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Published June 12, 2013

For the second straight year, the Roseville High baseball team lost a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 district semifinal to Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse.

The latest setback came in the form of a 7-2 loss in a game played June 1 at Warren Woods Tower. It was a 0-0 game going into the bottom of the fourth. The Panthers end the season at 10-8.

L’Anse Creuse went on to fall 4-3 to Warren Woods Tower in the district final.

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Published June 5, 2013

The effort and the attitude — Jordan Gruppen loved it all.

But at the time of year when one bad inning can derail an entire season, the Berkley High baseball team ran out of magic in what had been a memorable 2013 campaign.

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Published June 5, 2013

With only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, his team seemed to be peaking.

Wins were piling up and confidence was soaring.

And after a victory against West Bloomfield High, a division title was in hand.

“Then we fell back to earth,” North Farmington baseball coach Mike O’Connell said.

His team went through some “very ugly losses,” as he put it — a lopsided one to Lathrup Village Southfield Lathrup and one by mercy to Plymouth Salem.

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Published May 29, 2013

Local baseball squads receive district tournament draw

As fun as the regular season may have been for Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s baseball squad, with the Knights leading the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue Division at press time with a 14-0 record (24-4 overall), it is the postseason that holds their biggest goals, which include getting “back to Battle Creek” — what coach Dan Cimini cited as the team’s primary ambition earlier this season.

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Published May 28, 2013

The opponent is the same.

For the most part, his team is the same, as well.

But things are much, much different this time around.

That’s the message Pete Lamerato is sticking to as the 2013 baseball state playoffs approach.

For the second consecutive season, the Farmington Hills Harrison skipper leads his team into a Division 1 district semifinal against Novi High.

Only this time around, the Hawks’ coach doesn’t see his squad as the underdog while taking on the defending district champ.

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Published May 28, 2013

The East Detroit High baseball team will play in a 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 District tournament with Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe South and St. Clair Shores Lakeview.

The Shamrocks’ district semi against St. Clair Shores Lakeview will take place at 10 a.m. June 1 at Grosse Pointe North, with the winner moving on to face either North or South in a district final.

So what does East Detroit coach Jim Brandon think his team needs to do to advance in the state tournament?

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Published May 28, 2013

He’s not in the business of predicting outcomes or trying to forecast who would be a more favorable opponent.

So, with roughly a week remaining in the regular season, when he was asked about the approaching playoffs, West Bloomfield High baseball coach Eric Pierce painted his team’s entire district with a broad brush.

“It’s a good one, and it really doesn’t matter who we face,” the Lakers’ skipper said. “It’ll be a good team, either way.”

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Published May 22, 2013

Right now, it is a team of destiny.

Well, at least one that controls its own.

And at this time of year, that’s the most anyone could ask for.

After winning the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division in 2012, the Berkley High baseball team moved up to the Blue, with ambitions of doing the exact same thing in the Blue.

Nearly 12 months later, the guys are just a few wins from the championship.

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Published May 7, 2013

After sweeping a home doubleheader May 1 against Mount Clemens, the St. Clair Shores South Lake baseball team got back into contention for the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division title.

A league-championship win would be the second in a row for the Cavaliers, which had a record of 5-6, 3-2 MAC Bronze at press time. South Lake sits just a half game behind New Haven (2-1) for the league lead. The Cavs split two games with New Haven earlier this season.

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Published May 1, 2013

SOUTHFIELD — Emerging from the spring break tournament held in Oakland County a year ago, Steve Sharp and the guys on his Southfield High baseball team were battered and bruised.

In terms of confidence, at least.

The season had hardly begun, and the Blue Jays were 0-6 and had more questions than answers.

“To go 0-6 and start the season that way was pretty rough,” senior first baseman Eric Singleton said. “To do what we did this year was key, though. It was a huge boost to the confidence of this team.”

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Published May 1, 2013

To say that Grosse Pointe North has a strong baseball tradition would be an understatement.

According to coach Frank Sumbera, who has been the leading force behind North’s storied tradition after coaching for some 40 seasons, the Norsemen have the third most wins of any baseball program in the state, behind only Blissfield and Grand Ledge.

That knowledge, along with the pride that goes along with pulling on a green-and-gold jersey, is something the players are well aware of.

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Published May 1, 2013

TROY — As coaches and teams piece their rain-soaked schedules back together, the final month or so of the baseball season is likely to see some out-of-the-ordinary happenings.

Such is the case for Berkley High and Troy Athens, which will face one another in Oakland Activities Association Blue Division action three times in less than a week’s span.

“League games are always important, but when you start jamming them all together, it puts even more of a premium on them,” Berkley coach Jordan Gruppen said last week.

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Published May 1, 2013

They spoke of a snowballing effect, where one bad play or game led to another, and another.

Before long, confidence was all but gone, and a nine-win season had developed.

That was last year.

As guys on the Farmington Hills Harrison baseball team worked inside the school gym last week, well, they spoke of a snowballing effect yet again.

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Published April 30, 2013

In his time playing with the Birmingham Brother Rice baseball team, Matt Petry was fortunate enough to battle for a Michigan Catholic High School League title on two separate occasions.

Since arriving in Orchard Lake to manage the St. Mary’s program three years ago, Petry and his guys have been on the outside looking in when it comes to trips to Comerica Park.

From the onset of the 2013 season, though, Petry said reaching the championship game, and having the chance to play in a Major League venue, was one of his squad’s top goals.

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Published April 24, 2013

As the weather continued its indiscriminate path of frustration on spring sports teams last week, Farmington High baseball coach Pete Finn searched for answers as to how to shake out of a rut.

Getting outside more consistently would certainly help.

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Published April 24, 2013

The Utica Ford II baseball team has started slow out of the gate, with a record of 1-8 overall and 0-2 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division at press time.

That isn’t clouding the spirits of Falcons players, though.

Junior pitcher Jordan Luzod said he believes the Falcons, although inexperienced in spots, can improve over the course of the season and peak by the time the state playoffs start May 28.

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