Local baseball, softball coaches hopeful for strong playoff showings

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 20, 2019

 Sterling Heights Parkway Christian pitcher Uriel Synod delivers during an early-season matchup with Sterling Heights High. The Eagles will host a Division 4 district beginning May 28.

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian pitcher Uriel Synod delivers during an early-season matchup with Sterling Heights High. The Eagles will host a Division 4 district beginning May 28.

Photo by Sean Work

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The state baseball and softball playoffs begin May 28, and coaches from teams in the Sterling Heights Sentry coverage area are readying for what they hope proves to be deep playoff runs.

The Sterling Heights Stevenson and Utica Ford II baseball and softball teams will play in a Division 1 district hosted by Macomb Dakota.

Stevenson baseball opens the tournament against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a quarterfinal set for 4 p.m. May 28. The winner advances to face Ford in a semifinal at 10 a.m. June 1.

The other half of the bracket comprises Dakota and Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The baseball district final is set for 3 p.m. June 1. The winner moves to a regional semifinal at 4 p.m. June 5 at Dakota.

Longtime Stevenson coach Joe Emanuele has made several deep playoff runs, including winning a state title in 2005. He said pitching and defense are what more often than not carry teams deep into the postseason. The Titans have been strong in those areas, Emanuele said.

In softball, Ford will face Chippewa Valley in a quarterfinal at 4 p.m. May 28, with the survivor getting Dakota in a semifinal at 10 a.m. June 1. Stevenson meets L’Anse Creuse North in a semifinal at noon June 1. The final takes place at 2 p.m. June 1. The winner advances to a regional semifinal set for 10 a.m. June 8 at Ford.

Ford coach Matt Joseph said this is the time of year he hopes his team is at its best.

“Our goal is always to make a run in the state tournament, and there is nothing more exciting than that,” he said.

Both Sterling Heights High’s baseball and softball squads will play in D-1 districts against a number of Warren teams.

The Stallions baseball team faces Warren De La Salle in a semifinal at 12:30 p.m. May 31 at Warren Cousino. The winner plays in a final at 3 p.m. May 31. The other half of the bracket includes Warren Mott, Cousino and Warren Woods Tower. The winner goes to a regional semifinal against the winner of the Dakota district, set for 4 p.m. June 5 at Dakota.

Sterling Heights softball meets Cousino in a district semifinal at 9 a.m. June 1 at Warren Regina. The winner goes on to a district final set for 1 p.m. June 1. The other side of the Regina pod comprises Mott and Tower. The survivor advances to meet the winner of the Dakota softball district in a regional semifinal at 10 a.m. June 8 at Ford.

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian baseball will host a D-4 district. Matchups, game times and dates were not available at press time.

Parkway Christian softball will play in a D-4 district hosted by Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest. The Eagles meet either Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes or Dryden High in a district semifinal at 10 a.m. June 1. The district final is set for 2 p.m. June 1. The other side of the bracket includes Marine City Cardinal Mooney and the host.

Parkway Christian softball coach Joy Sprang believes her team’s play in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue Division will help the team prep for the playoffs. Four of the six teams in the league won district titles last season.

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