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LCN baseball team wins second straight MAC White title, eyes state championship

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 23, 2012

 L’Anse Creuse North senior pitcher Dan Clouse went a perfect 5-0 in MAC White play, helping the Crusaders win their second straight league title.

L’Anse Creuse North senior pitcher Dan Clouse went a perfect 5-0 in MAC White play, helping the Crusaders win their second straight league title.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb L’Anse Creuse North baseball coach Jeff Dropps said one of the goals he and his team set at the outset of the season was to win back-to-back Macomb Area Conference White Division titles.

The Crusaders did just that, going 9-1 in the league and winning the league championship outright after sharing it with Romeo in 2011. LCN needed a win over Warren Mott May 16 to lock up the title and bested Mott 7-1 in the crucial matchup.

At press time, LCN was 23-6 with two regular-season games remaining.

“It actually feels better than winning it last year because we don’t have to share this one,” senior pitcher Dan Clouse said. “We play in a pretty tough league, so going back-to-back is a pretty big deal.”

Clouse and reigning MAC White MVP Ryan Cykon combined to go 7-1 in MAC play. Those two were expected to lead the charge, Dropps said.

Solid hitting up and down the order over the course of the season also played a huge role in the team’s success. The Crusaders plated more than 10 runs in seven of their 23 wins. In the league-title clinching win, the team’s seventh, eighth and ninth hitters combined to go 6-for-9 with five RBIs.

At press time, LCN as a team had a .324 batting average.

“We had a lot of guys step up for us at the plate this year,” Dropps said. “We’ve even got guys sitting on the bench who are ready to go in at any time and contribute.

“In 10 league games, I think I used eight different starting lineups. It created a healthy competition, because guys knew there were other guys waiting for the chance to take their spot.”

Junior center fielder Nick Ivone said the league title was nice, but the team has another goal it hopes to reach — winning a state title. In 2010, the Crusaders played their way all the way to the state semifinals. Last season’s stay in the postseason was short, as LCN fell to Macomb Dakota in the district round.

“We’re still working every day to get better, because we feel like we have the talent and the team chemistry to make a deep run,” said Clouse, the only member of the current team who played on the 2010 semifinal squad.

“It’d definitely be special if we could do that again.”

The Crusaders begin postseason play with a Division 1 district semifinal matchup against either Macomb Dakota or Port Huron. First pitch is slated for 1:30 p.m. June 1 at Port Huron Northern.

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