Clawson High senior Dan Steinbach  attempts to pick off a South Lake base  runner in a recent home game.  At press time, the Trojans were 4-3 overall.

Clawson High senior Dan Steinbach attempts to pick off a South Lake base runner in a recent home game. At press time, the Trojans were 4-3 overall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Clawson High baseball filled with seasoned vets

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published April 22, 2019

 Clawson High senior pitcher Bryce Blaesing looks on from the pitcher’s mound April 17 in a game against St Clair Shores South Lake. Trojans coach Eric Essler called Blaesing the team’s ace.

Clawson High senior pitcher Bryce Blaesing looks on from the pitcher’s mound April 17 in a game against St Clair Shores South Lake. Trojans coach Eric Essler called Blaesing the team’s ace.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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Clawson High baseball coach Eric Essler believes his team can compete for the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title. He believes this because of the 11 seniors he has leading his team.

Just seven games into the season, the second-year coach at Clawson has learned that his team plays hard and its chemistry is high.

After finishing two games back in the Silver last season and ending their year with a loss to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in a Division 2 district semifinal, Essler said redemption is fresh on the minds of his players.

“Last season, it didn’t end the way that we wanted it to,” the coach said. “We’re really looking toward the end of the season and really looking toward getting a better result when it comes playoff time. Everybody on the team that was on the team last year is thinking the same thing, where this year is going to be a little different.”

Like he did on both Clawson’s football and basketball teams, senior TJ Verner is back to lead the Trojans for another season. According to his coach, the second-year captain of the baseball team is a pillar of the program and the school who conducts himself well.

Alongside Verner is fellow senior Bryce Blaesing, who is the team’s ace. Essler said Blaesing is a solid player to turn to when it comes to leading by example. He is the epitome of getting your work done on the field.

At press time, the Trojans were 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the MAC Silver. With a multitude of games still to be played, Essler said having such a close group is a positive thing as the season drags on.

“I think that for me, having a team with such good chemistry is really going to help out when we have to start grinding through games and when the kids are getting tired halfway through the season,” he said. “The kids are really able to pick each other up, and our team is really good at that.”

When asked about the biggest strength of his team based on what he’s seen so far, Essler eluded to the Trojans’ mental capacity. Because the team mostly comprises older players, they know where the play on the field is and they know where to go with it. 

The players are good at coaching each other up as well — another thing that can help during the dog days of the spring season. Many of these players have been involved with the game for a long time, and while some of them are going to continue at the college level, they are a stable bunch when it comes to knowing how to play their positions.

With the senior leadership there, Essler also has the luxury of young talent — in particular, freshman Alex Cordone. Essler said Cordone would take the mound many times for the Trojans this season while also having the ability to make plays as a fielder when needed. 

Having a young player ready for varsity action isn’t an anomaly for Clawson, and that’s due to the work of the junior varsity coaching staff.

“Down at the JV level, we have such a solid team,” Essler said. “The coaching staff does such a good job of preparing kids for the next level that once they come up to me, it’s a very easy transition. They’re fundamentally sound, and they know how to play the game the right way.” 

Call Sports Writer Jacob Herbert at (586) 498-1062. Follow Sports on Twitter @CandGSports.

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