Published April 25, 2012

C&G Newspapers

Non-league games in the middle of the season can often offer a chance to step back, analyze progression and perhaps see some other players fill some roles they’re not totally accustomed to in a more relaxed atmosphere.

That won’t be the case in this one.

On April 28, two of the area’s better baseball teams will squad off for what should be an excellent doubleheader of action when Ferndale High welcomes Royal Oak Shrine to town for a noon start.

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Published April 25, 2012

FRASER — His team is averaging about nine runs per game (14.3 in wins), yet Fraser baseball coach Dave Kuppe doesn’t believe the Ramblers’ offense is the key to the season.

Kuppe said making plays on defense and solid pitching would determine how successful Fraser — 7-4, 1-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division at press time — will be this season. Early on, both phases of the game have been a little shaky, with the Ramblers giving up more than six runs per contest, 10 per game in losses.

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Published April 23, 2012

CENTER LINE — An 11-1 start has Center Line High baseball players aspiring to do big things the rest of the season.

“We host a district this year, so we definitely want to win that,” senior first baseman Nathan Mezek. “We want to show people that this is a baseball town.”

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Published April 23, 2012

DEARBORN — With a team this young, playing a schedule this intense, early season results must be taken with a grain of salt.

That’s the message Warren De La Salle baseball coach Matt Cook had last week while speaking of his squad and the road it’s traveled so far.

Though they are the defending Catholic League champs, the Pilots start as many as five sophomores at times.

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Published April 18, 2012

CLAWSON — In their four years as members of the Trojans baseball team, Clawson High senior center fielder Jawaun Harris and senior pitcher/second baseman Justin Smith have seen their share of highs and lows on the diamond.

As freshmen, the two were a part of a 2009 team that went 9-1 in winning the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. The squad has won just three games in the MAC Silver since then.

“We love the competition. That’s why we keep coming back,” said Harris, one of three seniors on the roster.

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Published April 16, 2012

MADISON HEIGHTS — Early in the season, the seniors on the Utica High baseball team have already taken a liking to first-year coach Mark Moehlig.

“It’s like a college-level practice,” senior first baseman and designated hitter Andrew Ackerman said. “He’s been able to put in a lot of things that will help us win this season.”

This is the first varsity coaching job for the new Utica skipper, who previously coached the Chieftains’ JV squad for four years and served as a varsity assistant at Utica Stevenson last year.

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Published April 12, 2012

Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse baseball coach Bob Walmsley knows it’s still early in the season, but he said a win against defending Macomb Area Conference White Division champion Romeo could do a lot of positive things for his team.

“If you get one win, momentum can start to build, and you can start to roll as a team,” said Walmsley, whose team was 9-1 overall at press time.

“I think it’s important to get off to a quick start and try to keep that up. Just like in any other sport, momentum can be huge.”

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Published April 11, 2012

LAKE ORION — There’s been five runs allowed in the first four games, and in those first four games, there were three wins.

Solid pitching is hardly unique to baseball coaches when it comes to laying out the key to any successful team.

But when Lake Orion High skipper Andrew Schramek talked about that particular attribute, he referred to it as a strength, not a key.

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Published April 11, 2012

ST. CLAIR SHORES — After the Cougars made it to the regional round of the 2011 state playoffs, Macomb Dakota second-year baseball coach Matt Carley has his sights set on a deep playoff run in 2012.

“I can’t say I wouldn’t be disappointed if we didn’t get back there,” Carley said of his team, which went 19-12, 4-6 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. Of the 18 players on the current roster, nine were a part of last year’s regional qualifier.

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Published April 9, 2012

ROYAL OAK — There’s a sense of confidence about the team, and there are plenty of reasons for it.

There’s an offense that expects to score some runs; a defense that sees itself as a well-oiled machine.

Then there’s a pitching staff that was solid before the MHSAA changed any rules on the bats, but now hopes to take full advantage of it.

But most of all, as Royal Oak High baseball coach Chris Lau and a few of his guys explained, the confidence being felt here this year comes from a combination of talent and team work.

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Published April 3, 2012

ROYAL OAK — While there may never be a suitable answer as to whether or not momentum can carry over from one season to the next, guys on the Royal Oak Shrine baseball team have no problem believing it does.

And why shouldn’t they?

The Knights didn’t exactly hit the ground running last year, but from the midpoint of the season on, few were better in Division 4.

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Published March 30, 2012

MADISON HEIGTHS — When the spring of 2011 ended, Brett Sunde and Luke Ortel were basking in an unrelenting Battle Creek sun, tears and dirt smudged across their faces while the celebration of a state title carried on around them.

Some nine months later, the Madison Heights Bishop Foley seniors and the rest of the baseball team are set to embark on a task some consider more daunting than what was accomplished last year — defending the title.

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Published March 28, 2012

MADISON HEIGHTS — After losing seven players from last year’s team who’ve gone on to play at the college level, Madison Heights Lamphere baseball coach Adam Wooley isn’t ready to call the 2012 campaign a rebuild.

“We’re pretty young in spots, but the good thing about this team that I’ve seen in the early stages is that these guys are focused on the high school baseball process,” Wooley said.

“We had some guys last year who might have been looking ahead to college. This group is more cohesive.”

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Published July 8, 2011

MADISON HEIGTHS — For six innings, Dan Zuchowski labored.

For six innings, he did exactly what was asked and gave his team a chance at a pinnacle of success it had never known before.

Three batters hit by pitches suggested his location was a bit off, but when that big pitch was needed — when the bases were loaded and pressure was mounting — he came through.

And when he was asked to take on another role, he did that, too.

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Published June 28, 2011

BATTLE CREEK — On March 15, it officially began.

Everything made possible now originated way back then.

There would be countless hours of work, some of it seemingly tedious.

There would be weekends spent in a batting cage reviewing the simplest aspects of a swing. Other days, on the field behind the school, battling ground balls on rain-soaked dirt.

The belief and hope all along was that this would be worth it.

On June 18, it certainly was.

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Published June 23, 2011

BATTLE CREEK — If there was pressure, they never showed it.

If tension was mounting, cooler heads prevailed.

If there were any thoughts of this magical season slipping away on the final day, well, the Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett baseball team wasn’t going to stand for it.

Sure, the Knights trailed for nearly six full innings.

Sure, they had plenty of chances that resulted in runners left on base, but Dan Cimini stressed all season that his team was the best Division 4 had to offer.

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Published June 15, 2011

This was a journey nobody could have ever scripted.

This was a road with more potholes and detours than a Michigan freeway in summer.
Yet through it all, this was a team that never let the final destination escape its radar, a group focused and committed on deeming every obstacle of this twisting and turning voyage worth it in the end.

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Published June 15, 2011

Dan Noble admitted that he really didn’t know what to expect when he took over the Royal Oak Shrine baseball program. He wasn’t sure what type of players he had or what reasonable expectations he could set.

Still, he maintained that no matter what happened, there were certain things that could be done with a payoff at the end that all would enjoy.

He was right.

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Published June 14, 2011

This was a journey nobody could have ever scripted.

This was a road with more potholes and detours than a Michigan freeway in summer.
Yet through it all, this was a team that never let the final destination escape its radar, a group focused and committed on deeming every obstacle of this twisting and turning voyage worth it in the end.

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Published June 7, 2011

The offense was dynamite.

During two district games, it exploded for 25 runs and a pair of wins.

But when asked about his team’s district title from last weekend, Ferndale High baseball coach John Sibula was quick to talk about the main weapon any coach loves to have during the playoffs.

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