Dakota baseball coach looking for consistency

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published April 22, 2019

 Macomb Dakota senior pitcher John Sovey winds up during an April 10 win over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The Cougars are looking to build on last season’s success when the team won division, district and regional championships.

Macomb Dakota senior pitcher John Sovey winds up during an April 10 win over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The Cougars are looking to build on last season’s success when the team won division, district and regional championships.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Macomb Dakota junior Joe Torres makes contact in an at-bat in an April 10 win over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The Cougars’ next game is against Grosse Pointe South at 4:30 p.m. April 25 at home.

Macomb Dakota junior Joe Torres makes contact in an at-bat in an April 10 win over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The Cougars’ next game is against Grosse Pointe South at 4:30 p.m. April 25 at home.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Coming off a season in which it won division, district and regional titles, Macomb Dakota baseball coach Matt Carley said his team has scuffled a bit out of the gate despite its record.

“We’ve been a little inconsistent so far,” said Carley, whose team was 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division at press time. “We think we have a pretty good team. We’re kind of young. I think we’re improving every day.”

The team has some youth like Carley said, but the Cougars return nine players from last year’s team that went 29-9. That includes six seniors, two juniors and one sophomore. Some of those players were regulars on last year’s team, while others saw spot duty. Carley said each of the veterans are finding ways to contribute and lead early on.

Carley expects seniors John Sovey, Pat Merolla, Matt Biebuyck, Connor Verduci and Jack Girling, along with juniors Jeff Reseigh and Billy Sawyer and sophomore Greg Guzik to make major contributions.

Sovey and Biebuyck are the top pitchers.

“We’re counting on all of them to contribute,” said Carley. “I think the strength of this year’s team will be its cohesion. They really pull for one another, and I believe team chemistry is key for any winning team.

“We want to have a better approach at the plate this season, and we want to put balls in play. We think our pitching will be consistent and our defense is getting better each game.”

Last season, Dakota won its first MAC Red title since 2010. It also marked the first time Sterling Heights Stevenson didn’t win at least a share of the league since 2009.

Dakota, for its part, has averaged 24 wins a year since the start of the 2012 season.

Carley believes the league got tougher with the addition of Romeo High, which won the MAC White last season. Winning the MAC Red again is the goal, Carley said.

“Every team in the league is really good, so it will come down to pitching and defense,” Carley said. “If we can be consistent in those areas, we believe we have a chance.”

The Cougars coach also wants to have a repeat of last season’s success — and then some.

“We want to win districts and win a regional title, and try to catch some momentum and ride it as far as we can,” Carley said. “We’re trying to get healthy too. We’re waiting on a couple of guys right now who will really help us with pitching. We asked our players to be invested in what they are doing, so that means it matters to them. We know that we will play hard. We play a tough schedule every week and that will pay off for us.”

Dakota’s next game is against Grosse Pointe South at 4:30 p.m. April 25 at home.

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