Warren De La Salle baseball players celebrate after a 15-8 May 22 win over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Catholic High School League A-B tournament championship game. The Pilots went 6-1 to end the regular season after making a coaching change May 10.

Warren De La Salle baseball players celebrate after a 15-8 May 22 win over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Catholic High School League A-B tournament championship game. The Pilots went 6-1 to end the regular season after making a coaching change May 10.

Photo courtesy of Warren De La Salle High School


De La Salle baseball thriving under interim coach

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published May 31, 2018

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Warren De La Salle began the Division 2 postseason after press time. For scores and updates, visit candgnews.com or follow Sports on Twitter @CandGSports.

WARREN — The Warren De La Salle baseball team earlier this season saw a change in leadership and has been thriving ever since.

De La Salle athletic administration sent a letter to parents May 10 making them aware of the termination of Dave Zelmanski, a 1974 De La Salle graduate who got the job last fall. Steve Schypinski, who had been serving as the team’s pitching coach, took over on an interim basis.

Under Zelmanski, the Pilots went 11-13. Since Schypinski took over, De La Salle has gone 6-1 and outscored opponents 49-27. That run includes a 15-8 May 22 win over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Catholic High School League A-B tournament championship game.

The Pilots rallied for the tournament title after falling behind 7-0. The win gave De La Salle its first CHSL tournament win since 2011.

“The team used the change as kind of a rally point,” said Schypinski, who is in his third year teaching at De La Salle. “We were the 4 seed heading into the Catholic League playoffs, so the question to the guys was simple: Are we the fourth-best team in the Catholic League?

“We took an underdog approach into the semifinal game against (Birmingham) Brother Rice, and the team responded by playing its best all-around game of the season. We carried that momentum into Comerica Park, and outside of a bad half-inning, we played another outstanding game, beating a very good Orchard Lake St. Mary’s team.”

In the May 10 letter, De La Salle Athletic Director Mike Watson called Zelmanski — who was a four-year starter for the Pilots who went on to play at Wayne State University — one of the most significant athletes in the school’s history, saying Zelmanski’s enthusiasm and love for the school has been boundless.

“The time and effort (Zelmanski) spent to enrich your son’s experience demands appreciation and respect,” Watson said in a statement. “The goals of the team are still ahead of them and attainable. Let’s do all we can to support their success.”

Schypinski, who played baseball at De La Salle and graduated from the school in 2006, called it an honor and a privilege to lead the program. He said he understands and respects everything that makes the program special.

The Pilots have won four state titles — in 1993, 2000, 2009 and 2016.

Leading the charge for De La Salle since the coaching change has been senior outfielder Jake Badalamenti.

Schypinski said Badalamenti has made an impact at the plate, on the base paths and defensively.

The coach also noted that senior pitchers Easton Sikorski, Max Gordon and Kyle Jones have been strong on the mound, and senior catcher Mac Graybill and senior infielder Bryce Bush have also made big contributions.

Heading into the postseason, Schypinski said he felt good about how his team was performing.

“We take a lot of pride in how we approach practice, and I believe we’ve been really focused at practice the last few weeks,” Schypinski said. “We have had a tremendous approach at the plate recently that will need to continue in order to reach our goals. Our pitching is still our backbone; however, we have about four or five college arms on our staff. If our guys attack the strike zone, I think we can compete with anybody in the state.”

For playoff scores and updates, visit candgnews.com.

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