Eagles advance to regional round of baseball playoffs to face Falcons

By: Mike Moore | Woodward Talk | Published June 7, 2011

 The Ferndale baseball team, pictured prior to the start of a game earlier this season, had plenty of reason to celebrate during the June 4 district round. The Eagles captured their fifth title in the past nine years and now face DC in the regional.

The Ferndale baseball team, pictured prior to the start of a game earlier this season, had plenty of reason to celebrate during the June 4 district round. The Eagles captured their fifth title in the past nine years and now face DC in the regional.

Photo by David Schreiber

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The offense was dynamite.

During two district games, it exploded for 25 runs and a pair of wins.

But when asked about his team’s district title from last weekend, Ferndale High baseball coach John Sibula was quick to talk about the main weapon any coach loves to have during the playoffs.

Pitching.

“It’s been strong all year, and that was the case again here,” Sibula said a day after his team won its fifth district title in the last nine years, beating Warren Fitzgerald 14-6 in the final after getting past Warren Lincoln 11-1 in a semifinal.

“You have to love this. We had so many rainouts and probably didn’t win as much as we wanted to or thought we should, so to extend the season is pretty special.”

Ferndale, now 14-7 on the season, is set to face Dearborn Divine Child in a June 11 regional semifinal at Livonia Ladywood.

While the offense certainly impressed in the district wins, Ryan Humphreys and Noah Reiter were lights out.

Humphreys earned the win in the first game by allowing just one hit, while Reiter was solid in the second game, shutting Fitzgerald down in some key moments.

Now the key is duplicating those efforts against what is sure to be a tough opponent this weekend.

“We’re going to be playing a good team, that much we know,” Sibula said with a laugh. “If we can continue to get the pitching we have and take advantage of any scoring opportunities we get, we’re going to have a good chance to keep things rolling.”

Berkley bids farewell
First-year Berkley High baseball coach Jordan Gruppen stopped short of calling 2011 a transition year, but the Bears’ skipper knew it’d be a period of adjustment.

“When you look at the entire season, you have to say that we improved from start to finish,” Gruppen said a day after his squad was eliminated from a Division 1 district at Warren Mott in an 8-3 loss to Mott May 31. “Things were different this year with me being in my first season and some new guys we had to work into the rotation. But our seniors did a great job leading, and as the season wore on, you saw younger guys step into bigger roles and contribute.”

Berkley, which started the season a bit slowly, won seven in a row at one stretch and ended 15-12.

“We had solid pitching and defense all year,” Gruppen said. “Once our offense got going, we really seemed to get on track.”

And it’s that pitching and defense that he plans to have back next year that should help build on the 15 wins.

“We’re going to have a lot of the same pieces in place,” Gruppen said. “If our younger guys get a little stronger and a little tougher mentally, we’re bringing back some good talent and should be a team to contend with.”

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