Lakeview baseball has reason to celebrate after first outright league title in 14 years

By: Mike Moore | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 15, 2011

 Karl Schneider and the Lakeview baseball team took a strange path to the first outright league title in 14 years, clinching it a day after the season-ending banquet.

Karl Schneider and the Lakeview baseball team took a strange path to the first outright league title in 14 years, clinching it a day after the season-ending banquet.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


This was a journey nobody could have ever scripted.

This was a road with more potholes and detours than a Michigan freeway in summer.
Yet through it all, this was a team that never let the final destination escape its radar, a group focused and committed on deeming every obstacle of this twisting and turning voyage worth it in the end.

And so, after numerous rainouts and after losing in the district round of the state playoffs, the St. Clair Shores Lakeview baseball team took the field one final time and took part in a game few associated with the program will ever forget.

“This was the longest and strangest season I have ever been a part of,” Lakeview coach Frank DiCristofaro said hours after his team beat Clawson High 19-9 on a hot and humid June 7 afternoon to finally clinch the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.
“But in many ways, it’s also been the most gratifying.”

When DiCristofaro and his guys woke up the morning of June 7, the baseball season should have been well over. Days earlier, the team had fallen to Grosse Pointe South in a Division 1 district semifinal, and the evening before, the boys celebrated the season with the team banquet.

But still tied for the league lead with Sterling Heights High — a team that was 7-3, but had completed its schedule — Lakeview had to play its final game against Clawson High to determine just who would reign supreme in the Silver.

And for a while, the dream ending looked like a nightmare in the making.

Trailing 6-3 after two innings, the Huskies, as DiCristofaro put it, “decided to wake up and play some baseball.”

The guys went on an offensive tear over the next four innings, eventually ending the game by mercy with eight runs in the sixth frame and providing the Lakeview baseball program with a bit of history it hadn’t known since 1997.

“First outright league title in 14 years,” DiCristofaro boasted. “We felt all along this was going to be our year, and it took a little longer than we would have ever thought but we found a way to get it done.”

“It’s something we’ve been shooting for since a lot of us were sophomores,” senior outfielder Kyle Jackson said. “The fact that it’s been that long makes this pretty special.”
Lakeview, which was just 11-13 last year, closed out 2011 with a 21-14 overall record and an 8-2 mark in the Silver.

“This whole season means a lot, given where this program has come from,” DiCristofaro said. To his point, Lakeview had not even had a winning season in more than eight years, a streak that included a 2-21 campaign in 2006. “I like to think we’ve gotten things back on track. You win 21 games and it’s sort of like a coming out party for us. The expectations around here are going way up.”

“It certainly was different,” senior first baseman Luke Strobl said of the season. “And it was tough at times to keep your head in the game, especially when you end in districts, and you have the banquet and everything. But we had a chance to go out as a winner. That’s exactly what we did.”