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Berkley High baseball returns for another spring season

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published April 3, 2018

 Berkley High senior David Austin takes fielding practice earlier this year. According to coach Matt Rawlik, Berkley has brought back 10 players from last season’s squad.

Berkley High senior David Austin takes fielding practice earlier this year. According to coach Matt Rawlik, Berkley has brought back 10 players from last season’s squad.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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Berkley High baseball coach Matt Rawlik is in the third season of what he referred to as a dream job.

The 2004 Berkley graduate said the program is trending in the right direction, and he would like for the success to eventually include some division and district championships.

Given Rawlik’s history with the school, those kinds of accomplishments could have a special significance.

“I’m a second-generation Berkley grad,” Rawlik said. “My dad and my uncle played there, went to high school there. … It means something to me; it’s important to me. But I just hope that people (kind of) recognize how much I care and how much I want this program to succeed.”

The Bears finished at 9-18 overall and 4-8 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division last season.

“There are some things that didn’t go our way last year, some games we really wanted that we didn’t get,” Rawlik said. “Bringing back 10 guys, I think a lot of (them) are really hungry to flip some of those results this year.”

Among Berkley’s 10 returning players are seniors David Austin, Jake Serwa, Jake Gringorten and Tae Whinham.

Having 10 returnees can help make Rawlik’s job an easier one.

“They know what the expectations are,” Rawlik said. “It goes back to holding each other accountable, and I think that they’re doing a really good job of making sure they hold their teammates accountable, and that everyone knows what’s expected.”

Rawlik said depth and experience are probably the team’s biggest strengths. Those assets can be very useful as the Bears try to make their way through the OAA Blue.

Although Rawlik wants to compete for an OAA Blue title, he understands it could be tough with teams like Troy High, Troy Athens and Auburn Hills Avondale in the mix.

Regardless of how the division race turns out, going through it could be good preparation for the playoffs.

Berkley competes in a district that includes Royal Oak High, Athens, Warren Mott and Troy.

“I think the level of the five teams is pretty on par with each other,” Rawlik said. “Going through a 12-game schedule where you’re playing teams with similar talent really helps you get ready for the postseason.”

Aside from what Rawlik would like to accomplish this season, there are also reasons to be hopeful for the future of Berkley’s program. He said there are 16 players on varsity, 14 on JV and 15 on the program’s freshman team.

“I think the numbers are good,” Rawlik said. “They’ve been good the last two years. Got really talented classes coming in.”

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