Harrison and Farmington baseball squads looking to get on track, face each other for the second time

By: Mike Moore | Farmington Press | Published April 26, 2011

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FARMINGTON HILLS — April 19 was one of those days football linemen dream of — cold and rainy, a gray sky and a murky feel to the air.

What offensive guard, center or tackle wouldn’t love to dig in and clash helmets in weather like that?

Unfortunately, the recent fall-like conditions aren’t exactly ideal for spring players and coaches, especially when they occur on a day when longtime rivals are set to face one another.

“It was a difficult day to play, without a doubt,” Farmington High baseball coach Pete Finn said of his team’s 8-4 loss to Farmington Hills Harrison on April 19. “The problem is, you don’t want to postpone too many games and then get behind on your schedule. So we went out there and got it in.”

“We’ve had five games postponed already this season,” Harrison coach Pete Lamerato said. “That was one we felt like we had to get in.”

Needless to say, both coaches are crossing their fingers for a friendlier atmosphere come May 2, when they meet again at 4 p.m. at Harrison.

“Anything other than 35 and rainy,” Lamerato said with a laugh.

The game carries a significant amount of importance for both teams for a number of reasons.

At press time, Harrison had played just four times all season, going 2-2 overall. Lamerato, who said his team is still coming together and learning about itself, needs as much game action as possible before thoughts of district play begin taking shape, which is sure to happen before long.

He said his guys took advantage of some Farmington mistakes in the first game, but also squandered a 4-0 lead thanks in large part to too many walks.

“The weather certainly didn’t help, but we have to throw strikes,” he said. “If we can’t, Farmington has the type of team that can make you pay.”

Getting games in hasn’t been the issue for Finn and the Falcons, who were 3-8 at press time thanks to a handful of contests during spring break. Staying healthy, however, has been.

“Hopefully, by May 2, we’ll have everyone back in the mix,” Finn said last week. “We’ve had just about everything going wrong for us with guys getting hurt. We’re starting to get everyone back and contributing.”

Finn said the key for his team is pitching.

“I know we can score plenty of runs,” he added, noting a 23-22 victory against West Bloomfield High, a game in which the bats were electric, but he was forced to use nine pitchers. “The focus for us right now is throwing strikes. We have to have better control and limit the chances other teams get.”

Of course, the backdrop surrounding any sport and any meeting between these two schools is the rivalry, and that’s no different in baseball.

“The kids love it; the coaches love it,” Lamerato said. “You never have to tell them how important these games are. The guys go out and enjoy every minute of it. It’s our biggest rival, a team you measure the season against.”

“It’s always a big game, especially considering all these guys know one another and many of them play together on the same summer teams,” Finn said. “A win here could do a lot for our guys moving forward, for morale and for confidence and so on. So we expect it to be a battle. We expect a great game.”

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