Fraser baseball hitting stride before league season

By: Brad D. Bates | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 25, 2011

 Fraser High senior Connor Piecuch and the Ramblers open their MAC Gold season with a home game at 4:30 p.m. April 27 against Roseville High and travel to Madison Heights Lamphere at 4:30 p.m. April 29.

Fraser High senior Connor Piecuch and the Ramblers open their MAC Gold season with a home game at 4:30 p.m. April 27 against Roseville High and travel to Madison Heights Lamphere at 4:30 p.m. April 29.

Photo by David Schreiber

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Fraser High baseball coach Dave Kuppe could get used to his team surprising him this year.

A week from starting their Macomb Area Conference Gold Division season, the Ramblers improved to 4-2 April 21 with a 4-3 win against Utica Ford II of the MAC White.

“I don’t think the kids even realize who is in which league,” Kuppe said when asked how his players responded to the win.

“But for me, I knew Ford was going to be tough. I thought that game would be tough to win, but every time there was a challenge, the guys stepped up.”

Kuppe said the effort against Ford was further proof of his team’s top strength.

“We don’t really have any true superstars,” Kuppe said. “We have a bunch of good players that fit into their roles really well and do a great job at their job.”

That type of depth will help the Ramblers in what could be the MAC’s most competitive division, with Madison Heights Lamphere and Warren Cousino leading the way.

The 3-2 Rams return the bulk of a lineup that advanced to a Division 2 regional final and was tabbed the No. 10-ranked Division 2 squad in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association’s April 21 poll.

Cousino, which had a 6-5 record at press time, took home the 2011 Macomb County Spring Break Tourney title with some successes against the MAC Red.

The Patriots handed the Red’s Macomb Dakota, Utica Eisenhower and Utica Stevenson their only losses of the season in consecutive games April 11 to win title.

“I’ve never faced Lamphere or Cousino as a coach, but those are probably the top two in our league,” Kuppe said. “I know they’re both pretty good teams, but I feel like we should be competitive with them and everyone else in the league.”

The Ramblers open the MAC Gold season with a 4:30 p.m. April 27 game at home against Roseville High and follow that up with a road game at 4:30 p.m. April 29 at Lamphere.

In those league games, Kuppe is likely to rely on his top two starting pitchers — Anthony Galietti and Kyle Kowal.

With his starting staff in good shape, Kuppe also likes the look of his bullpen arms, even though he admits his team doesn’t have a bona fide closer.

“We have a number of guys that are pitching well right now,” Kuppe said. “Anthony and Kyle have been good starting and will be our top guys there.”

To help fill the role of closer, the Ramblers may get a late-season upgrade after senior Connor Piecuch recovers from an injury.

“Connor is really ahead of schedule with his rehab,” Kuppe said. “He’s been playing first base for us and hitting the ball well, but he’s still a long way from pitching.

“He’s really got to build up stamina, and maybe at the end of May he’ll be able to do some bullpen work for us. To have a guy like him come back and fill that closer role, though, would be great.”

 

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