Athens baseball team riding wave of momentum with interesting wins

By: Mike Moore | Troy Times | Published May 18, 2011

 Pitcher Alex Harrison and the Athens baseball team were 9-5 at press time and had found just about every way imaginable to win this season.

Pitcher Alex Harrison and the Athens baseball team were 9-5 at press time and had found just about every way imaginable to win this season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


TROY — Mike Morris joked about feeling as if he is aging quicker this season than any before it.

It’s a reality he’s come to accept over the course of this spring. In fact, he’s enjoying it.

And with good reason.

“As long as we keep winning, I really can’t complain,” the Troy Athens baseball coach said last week.

While their schedule has been chopped up due to the weather — the Red Hawks had played just 14 of 24 scheduled game at press time — the wins have come early, often and in just about every way possible.

“It’s been a weird season, considering the schedule, and the way things have gone and the way we’ve played,” Morris added. “But this is a good group of guys. I’m very confident in what they can do every time we step on the field.”

Athens was 9-4 overall and 6-2 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, good for second place at press time. But it’s been the variety of ways some of those wins have come about that has Morris using a word like “weird” when talking about the season.

There have been some surprising wins, like a 2-0 shutout of a Clarkston High team earlier in season. Clarkson has lost only three times since, including once more against Athens by a 7-6 margin.

The Red Hawks have also won by mercy, like the 14-4 season opener against Bloomfield Hills Andover and an 11-1 win against Rochester High May 6.

But the ultimate came May 12 against Rochester Adams. The final score, 9-8, seems somewhat typical of a good, solid, offensive shootout, but does little to tell the whole story.

“I guess our guys just never give up,” Morris said with a laugh about the win. Athens trailed 8-0 in the bottom of the fifth before scoring nine runs in its final two at-bats.

“They have a never-say-die attitude that I love.”

“When you have the lineup we do, you can find ways to win games like that,” senior pitcher Alex Harrison said. “Every team needs wins like that over the season to accomplish some of the goals we do.”

The lineup Harrison referred to is one Morris said is strong “one through nine.”

The Red Hawks were averaging nearly seven runs per game

“We’ve been in a good groove lately,” junior shortstop Tommy Eng said. “We’re hitting the ball really well, and when we play the way we can, there aren’t many teams out there that can beat us.”

Consistency is the main key moving forward.

While the wins have been memorable, many have been followed with a head-scratching loss. Three times this season, Athens has won a game by double digits only to drop the next by seven or more runs. The day after the 9-8, come-from-behind win against Adams, Athens lost to the same team 11-5.

“We’ve got two weeks and a bunch of games against some good teams to get everything going,” Morris said, referring to the playoffs, which start May 31. “Like I said, though, I’m confident in what they can do. We’ve got guys that can hit, good speed, good chemistry and a pitching staff that is developing nicely.”