Berkley baseball success may hinge on whether or not the bats show up

By: Mike Moore | Woodward Talk | Published May 17, 2011

 The Berkley baseball team celebrates a home run by sophomore Ian Kobernick, center, during a 17-run explosion against Southfield May 9. If the offense can find some consistency, the Bears will be a team to contend with.

The Berkley baseball team celebrates a home run by sophomore Ian Kobernick, center, during a 17-run explosion against Southfield May 9. If the offense can find some consistency, the Bears will be a team to contend with.

Photo by Andrew Potter

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BERKLEY — Jordan Gruppen said the pitching’s been good.

He called the defense “solid.”

So the Berkley High baseball coach has two-thirds of any skipper’s dream already working like a well-oiled machine.

“If the offense comes to life, we’re going to be a team that will make a run,” he said.

Gruppen spoke the afternoon of May 10. At the time, his team was 7-7 overall and fresh off a rare 17-run explosion the day before in a win against Southfield High.

“Maybe that will get us going,” he added.

To that point, his team was hitting .240, and he said it had dipped a bit since the early parts of the season.

On the flip side, the defense had made only a handful of errors, and the team ERA was stellar at 2.40.

“I’m not sure why we haven’t hit the way we know we can,” said senior shortstop Mark Meisner. “We just have to keep working at it. We’ll figure it out.”

Meisner spoke before a May 11 game at home against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. Less than two hours later, the Bears sprayed the ball all over the field and cruised to a 12-2 victory.

In a doubleheader against Hazel Park High the next day, Berkley exploded for back-to-back wins by scores of 17-0 and 15-4.

“We’ve talked all year about getting back to the basics of hitting,” Gruppen said. “If you put the ball in play and you put pressure on the defense, good things are usually going to happen. When you put the bat on the ball, results will take care of themselves.”

Berkley was 10-7 at press time with an offense that appears to be finding its stride.

That’s good news for a team that entered the year with big expectations, considering the 2010 squad won a program-record 25 games.

“Last year helps with the focus we have and the thing we want to do,” senior first baseman Adam McDowell said. “At the same time, last year is last year. We have to focus on this group and what we can do.”

Gruppen, who’s in his first year with the team, hasn’t seen his confidence waver at all from the start of the season until now.

“It’s a matter of us getting that consistency and playing with that energy that’s needed,” he said. “Once that happens, we’re going to be just fine.”

“Capable of a district title, even a regional,” McDowell added. “We believe we’re that good. Now we have to go out and prove it.”

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