Regular season offers plenty to build from for West Bloomfield baseball

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 2, 2011

 Senior Eric Steele delivers a pitch for West Bloomfield.

Senior Eric Steele delivers a pitch for West Bloomfield.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


WEST BLOOMFIELD — It was a last-minute decision that may have just turned a season upside down.

In fact, as he spoke about it last week, Eric Pierce maintained a certain disbelief at how a chance trip to a random tournament that was designed to more or less take up some time was the propellant his team needed to go from winless to hard to beat.

“We were 0-5, struggling to find ourselves and tired of working indoors and having games rained out,” said Pierce, a Farmington resident and first-year coach of the West Bloomfield baseball program. “So we found a tournament in New Boston and decided to play in it.”
The rest is history.

“The bats suddenly came to life,” Pierce added. “Our pitchers started attacking the strike zone for the first time, using the defense behind them and so on. … I really think it was in those two games that the guys saw the potential we had.”

Two games. Two wins. One tournament title.

And that was just the beginning.

At press time, with just a few days left in the regular season, the Lakers were 15-10 overall. More impressive, though, they were 15-5 since the rough start.

“Those first five games were a matter of not finishing,” said Pierce, who served as the Lakers’ assistant for the past nine seasons. “We’d have one bad half inning or something, and it would cost us the game. (Since the New Boston tournament) we’ve gotten into the flow of things. The guys realized the type of talent they have. We’ve figured out their roles and who goes where. … Sure, we started slow, but it’s a younger team that needed some time to get on track.”

The Lakers opened the 2011 playoff tournament May 31 against Birmingham Brother Rice, a game played after press time.

Asked to judge the regular season, no matter how the postseason played itself out, Pierce called it a “good step forward.”

“It’s been a season where we taught and focused more about the competitiveness of the game and the correct way to approach every day,” he added. “There’s a lot of potential to turn some heads here in the future. We’re looking forward to it.”