Fitzgerald baseball hoping to peak, come playoff time

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published May 2, 2014

WARREN — Warren Fitzgerald baseball coach Paul Hrycaj said the team has had its ups and down early in the season.

Even with that, the Spartans have already come close to eclipsing last season’s win total. Fitzgerald at press time had a mark of 8-4, 3-4 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division. The Spartans went 9-12, 1-9 MAC Gold in 2013.

Hrycaj said the team is taking the season one game at a time, with the hopes of getting everything right by the time the playoffs start May 27.

“We’re just looking for the right mix and trying to see what’s going to help us win in the long-run,” Hrycaj said.

The Fitzgerald coach said the team’s starting pitching has performed well. Sophomore Michael Victory and senior Lucas Ancona lead the Spartans rotation. Hrycaj said Fitzgerald’s starting hurlers have given the team strong innings, gotten a lot of ground-ball outs and given the Spartans’ defense some makeable plays in the field.

“When you pitch well, it set the tone, and you can see your teammates getting fired up off of your effort on the mound,” said Victory, a two-year varsity player. “That begins to translate to the plate, and I think it helps guys put the bat on the ball.”

The team’s defense is a work in progress. Hrycaj said Fitzgerald has made some errors at key times, and the team is working on fixing those errors.

Victory said the defensive miscues are more mental than lack of preparation.

“I think we’ve improved since the start of the season,” Victory said. “And I think we’re going to be a lot better at the end of the season than we were at the start.”

Hrycaj called this a great group of guys. He said Ancona and Victory lead the team on the mound, but there are a number of vocal guys who help lead the charge.

Hrycaj said he isn’t focusing on winning a division title. He’s sticking with the “one game at a time” philosophy and seeing how things play out. Fitzgerald last captured a league championship in 2011 as a member of the MAC Bronze.

“The new format (playing one team in a weekly, three-game series) gives coaches challenges with their lineups and their pitching,” Hrycaj said. “You can’t play it like you used to and put yourself in a position to go out with a particular lineup or pitcher on the mound. We’re just going to play as well as we can and see how the chips fall.”

Fitzgerald next plays against Sterling Heights High in a game set for 4 p.m. May 7 at Sterling Heights.