With difficult district ahead, Chargers know the sooner things get on track the better

By: Mike Moore | Southfield Sun | Published May 18, 2011

 Lathrup senior Robert Bell rips into a pitch during a game earlier this season. Lathrup started the year 2-6 but quickly turned things around.

Lathrup senior Robert Bell rips into a pitch during a game earlier this season. Lathrup started the year 2-6 but quickly turned things around.

Photo by David Schreiber


LATHRUP VILLAGE — Upon hearing the word “district,” smiles were impossible to hide.

Sure, the playoff tournament was still some three weeks away, and as is the case with any team in early May, plenty of work still had to be done before too many postseason thoughts could see the light of day.

But those smiles remained and told a story the Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup baseball team doesn’t shy away from.

“It’s going to be a great challenge, no matter what,” senior Anthony Whittaker said of the district tournament, scheduled to begin May 31. The Chargers are at Birmingham Brother Rice and join Beverly Hills Groves, Birmingham Seaholm and West Bloomfield High.

“It’s nothing but great teams.”

The four teams accompanying Lathrup in the district are all well known, for lack of a better term, especially Rice, which was 20-3 at press time and one of the top-ranked squads in all of the state.

Lathrup will enter the playoffs as a substantial underdog, which may just be the reason for the smiles.

“We’ll welcome the challenge,” fellow senior Darian Luttrell said.

Confidence is in no short supply with the Chargers, especially given the way the team has played recently. After a 2-6 start to the season, Lathrup was 17-8 at press time, thanks in large part to a 10-game winning streak the guys put together at the end of April and early May.

“We’ve been playing well lately,” coach Darren Mosley said. “We’ve started figuring things out, and we’ve started to turn that corner.”

“The pitching has been good all year,” Whittaker said when asked about the team’s success. “Now we just need to maintain the same focus day in and day out. We need everyone to step up, and we’ll be a team to contend with.”

Lathrup has been a program on the rise over the past few years. Mosley has taken a sport typically lower on the totem poll at Lathrup and raised its standards from one spring to the next.

For the first time in a while, he’s working with a roster that’s heavy on seniors and even more defined by experience.

There’s also a good deal of depth within the team. Mosley said he’s been able to use 12 different pitchers so far, a fact born out of necessity and because his guys are well-rounded enough to play multiple positions and thrive.

His offense has been consistent, and as the weather finally broke, the defense has steadily improved.

But enough to be a legitimate contender for a district crown?

“We’ll see,” Whittaker said, still smiling.

“We don’t mind the underdog role,” Mosley said. “We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing, and we’ll have a chance. That’s all you can ask for.”