Sterling Heights Stevenson junior Kenneth Layman winds up April 28 against Lake Orion High. The Titans’ next game is against Utica Eisenhower at 4 p.m. May 8 on the road.

Sterling Heights Stevenson junior Kenneth Layman winds up April 28 against Lake Orion High. The Titans’ next game is against Utica Eisenhower at 4 p.m. May 8 on the road.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Stevenson baseball thriving after uncharacteristic run in 2018

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 6, 2019

STERLING HEIGHTS — The 2018 edition of the Sterling Heights Stevenson baseball team finished at 14-21 and fifth in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

Both of those numbers signaled the end of some impressive runs.

It was the first time the Titans didn’t win the MAC Red since 2009. The team also finished under .500 for the first time since 2002.

Stevenson looks to have put last season behind it.

At press time, the Titans were 12-3 overall and 4-3 in the MAC Red. The team has won five of its last six games and has outscored opponents 97-54.

“We’ve talked all year about turning things around and putting last season behind us,” said Stevenson coach Joe Emanuele, whose teams averaged 28.9 wins per season from 2010 to 2018.

“I think we’ve played well to this point — pitching and defense have been good,” he continued. “We’ve been a bit banged up, healthwise, which (our record) shows our team depth. Our hitting is coming around. We have to keep getting better every day. We are somewhat young and our guys are learning each day.”

A group of veterans is leading the way for the Titans.

The coach said senior pitcher/outfielder Austin Owens has been very good on the mound and at the plate; junior outfielder Zach Levans is one of the team’s leading hitters; senior outfielder Brian Rubba has been steady in the outfield and in serving as the team’s leadoff hitter; and senior pitcher and captain Nick Rutkowski is the team’s ace and has performed well at the plate.

The goals are always the same for Emanuele’s teams: hit the 20-win mark, win the MAC Red and have a strong showing in the playoffs.

Winning the MAC Red, which if it happens would give Stevenson 11 division titles in 14 years, will take a total team effort, Emanuele said. He called the league very tough. Dakota is the defending MAC Red champ.

Dakota coach Matt Carley agrees with Emanuele about the state of the MAC Red. Carley believes adding Romeo High makes the league even tougher. Romeo won the MAC White in 2018.  

Emanuele is confident that his guys can stay in the league title race and make some noise in the playoffs.

“I like the makeup of this team,” said Emanuele, who earned his 500th career win earlier this season. “They come to work every day and want to be good.”

Stevenson’s next game is against Utica Eisenhower at 4 p.m. May 8 on the road.