Warren De La Salle senior pitcher Easton Sikorski winds up during a June 9 Division 1 regional playoff game. The Pilots won the Catholic High School League A-B Division and a district title this season.

Warren De La Salle senior pitcher Easton Sikorski winds up during a June 9 Division 1 regional playoff game. The Pilots won the Catholic High School League A-B Division and a district title this season.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


DLS baseball coach reflects on run to regionals

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published June 15, 2018

WARREN — In a season that saw a coaching change take place following a slow start, many squads might have folded and called it a year. That doesn’t fit the 2018 edition of the Warren De La Salle baseball team.

After school administrators opted to replace Dave Zelmanski with Steve Schypinski May 10 after an 11-13 start, the Pilots ended the regular season on a 6-1 run.

That included a comeback win over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s May 22 in the Catholic High School League A-B Division tournament title game, which gave De La Salle its first CHSL tournament win since 2011.

The team’s success continued into the postseason, with the Pilots beating Warren Woods Tower June 1 in a Division 1 district final.

De La Salle’s run would end in a 2-1 loss to Macomb Dakota June 9 in a regional final. The Pilots finished the season at 20-15 overall.

The prep careers of several decorated seniors have also come to an end. That includes a number of players who played key roles in the team’s 2016 state title win over Saline High. Sophomores at the time, pitcher Easton Sikorski started the title game, with Nino Puckett getting the win; infielder Bryce Bush (recently selected by the Chicago White Sox in the MLB draft) drove in the winning run; utility player Ben Hyndman drove in the game’s first run; and Jake Badalamenti scored a run.

“This group of seniors will go down as one of the best classes in the history of our school,” said Schypinski. “Winning a state championship is a very difficult thing to accomplish, and for a large portion of this group to accomplish that sophomore year is pretty special.

“There is too much talent and too many individual awards to talk about players’ specific legacy. I’m proud of the way the seniors led by example during the offseason, practiced with a purpose and put the good of the team before the good of themselves. We’re going to miss this group headed into the future. I wish them nothing but the best.”

The Pilots have nine players eligible to return next season, and all of them will be seniors. Schypinski called the group talented and added that they need to have a great offseason and return ready to lead.

Schypinski said his status as coach has not yet been discussed. No matter what happens, he said he’ll have fond memories of the season.

“Winning our first Catholic League title since 2011 was very special for the team and our entire school,” Schypinski said.

“We have had tremendous support from our entire building during this playoff run. … I could not be more proud of how we responded to giving up seven runs in the first inning of the Catholic League championship game to rally and defeat a very good (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) team. It is a blessing to coach at a school like De La Salle, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity.”