Lamphere baseball team hopes combination of youth, experience leads to deep playoff run

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Madison - Park News | Published March 28, 2012

 Lamphere High junior outfielder/pitcher Ryan Roman slides into second base during a drill at a recent practice. The Rams are looking to repeat as MAC Gold division champions this season after going 8-2 in winning the league in 2011.

Lamphere High junior outfielder/pitcher Ryan Roman slides into second base during a drill at a recent practice. The Rams are looking to repeat as MAC Gold division champions this season after going 8-2 in winning the league in 2011.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MADISON HEIGHTS — After losing seven players from last year’s team who’ve gone on to play at the college level, Madison Heights Lamphere baseball coach Adam Wooley isn’t ready to call the 2012 campaign a rebuild.

“We’re pretty young in spots, but the good thing about this team that I’ve seen in the early stages is that these guys are focused on the high school baseball process,” Wooley said.

“We had some guys last year who might have been looking ahead to college. This group is more cohesive.”

Maintaining that continuity this season will be key for the defending Macomb Area Conference Gold Division champions. Six sophomores will crack this year’s lineup, according to Wooley. Four were called up last year for district tournament play, he said.

Last season, the Rams went 18-9, 8-2 in winning the MAC Gold before bowing out in the district playoffs. Wooley believes the Gold will be tough again this year and sees Marine City and Warren Cousino as the main roadblocks to a repeat.

“We’re definitely young, but I don’t want to say we’re rebuilding because we’re still looking to do some good things this season,” Wooley said. “The sophomores are young, but they can play, and some have already played in big spots in districts. I guarantee this team will get better as the season goes on.”

Senior hurler Jake Augustine is the leader of this Lamphere squad and likes the responsibility associated with leading the team.

“I think last year we kind of underachieved because of the talent we had,” Augustine said. “I wanted to take on more responsibility this year as a leader, because I think we have the potential to be a great team.

“I try to be as vocal as I can with the guys. I’m not too hard on them, though. I try to be more encouraging than anything else.”

Wooley said Augustine — a left-handed pitcher who will be at the top of the Rams’ rotation — is not the hardest thrower, but he does of good job of keeping the ball low in the strike zone and mixing up his pitches.

Augustine added that he sees a difference in this year’s squad, too. He said he likes that everyone on Lamphere’s team is having fun and not looking at baseball as being a job.

Wooley added that although the team is young, the same goals still apply. The coach wants to win the MAC Gold again and hopes to make it past district play this season, as well.

“Once you get into regionals, anything can happen,” Wooley said.

Junior Ryan Roman, a pitcher and outfielder who Wooley said “can absolutely rake at the place,” said last year’s district playoff loss serves as motivation for this season.

“Losing was rough, but it gave us something to push for this year,” Roman said. “I think we’ll jell well together. I have a good feeling about the season.”

The Rams will be in action next at 10 a.m. April 2 at Rochester High in a doubleheader.
 

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