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Prime-time preps: Ferndale vs. Royal Oak Shrine baseball

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published April 25, 2012

 Catcher Stevie Erwin and the Shrine baseball team were 6-1 at press time and rolling right along. The Knights face Ferndale April 28 in a doubleheader.

Catcher Stevie Erwin and the Shrine baseball team were 6-1 at press time and rolling right along. The Knights face Ferndale April 28 in a doubleheader.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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Non-league games in the middle of the season can often offer a chance to step back, analyze progression and perhaps see some other players fill some roles they’re not totally accustomed to in a more relaxed atmosphere.

That won’t be the case in this one.

On April 28, two of the area’s better baseball teams will squad off for what should be an excellent doubleheader of action when Ferndale High welcomes Royal Oak Shrine to town for a noon start.

“I think it’s going to be a great test for both teams,” said Shrine skipper Dan Noble, whose Knights were 6-1 at press time. “Ferndale’s a big school that’s had a lot of success with its baseball program the past few years. We’re looking forward to seeing how we stack up.”

The Eagles, who turned plenty of heads in last year’s regional-round upset of defending state champ Dearborn Divine Child, were just 2-4 at press time, but had lost three of those games by one run and have been playing with the look of a team that can duplicate last season’s success.

“We’re getting there,” coach John Sibula said. “We’ve lost some close games, and in every one of them, it was because of self-inflicted defensive mistakes. We’re pitching very well and hitting the ball plenty. We just have to get the defense going and we’ll be fine.”

The teams met once last year, an 11-1 Ferndale victory that both coaches said wasn’t even as close as that.

Still, both coaches agree that game has nothing to do with how this year may go.

“We were short-handed in that one, and they really took it to us,” Noble said.

“We were really rolling at that point of the season, and I know for a fact they didn’t have their whole team going,” Sibula added. “I expect a much better game this time around.”

Sibula was also quick to mention how a good game, or even win, against a team like Shrine could be a huge boost to his guys moving forward.

“Any time you beat a quality program, and Shrine is, it can give you a little confidence,” he said. “Maybe you take a win like that and turn it into a four-or five-game winning streak. We could use a big win like that.”

In other local action:

Clawson High’s girls soccer team travels to Roseville High for a 4 p.m. match April 27.

Royal Oak High’s girls tennis team hosts the Raven Invitational at 8 a.m. April 28.
 

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