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BASEBALL: Hard-working Chargers set for another run

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The Inter-City baseball team has won seven consecutive district titles under Coach Bob Radu.

This season, a strong group of returning players from last year’s 22-9 team will vie to keep that streak alive.

“The kids are all working hard,” Radu said. “I’ve got a great group. I couldn’t ask for better kids.”

Pitching for the Chargers should be solid, despite the departure of standout Adam Fiema, who didn’t return for his junior season.

The squad’s top three hurlers will be senior Derek Doran, junior Evan Kraatz and sophomore Luke Barber. Both Doran and Kraatz are experienced pitchers, while Barber has seen some time on the hill, as well.

Catching for the third consecutive season will be junior Anthony Saenz. In addition to his leadership behind the plate, Saenz is a big-time hitter. He finished last season with a .390 average and brought home all-regional honors.

When not on the mound, Barber will start at first base. Also getting time at first will be senior Collin Caldwell and freshman Corey Lewerenz.

Junior Travis Myles will start at second and will also pitch. Freshman Joshua Estell will back up Myles at second.

At shortstop this season will be Joshua’s brother, junior Nathan Estell, who should also see some time on the mound.

Doran, who has been a varsity player since eighth grade, will play third base for the Chargers. When Doran is on the mound, junior Noah Seacrist will take over at the hot corner.

Evan Kraatz will be in centerfield for the third consecutive year. Last season, the junior had a big year offensively, hitting .349, knocking in 29 RBI and scoring 34 runs.

In left field will be Evan’s freshman brother Garrett Kraatz and in right will be sophomore Jonathan Goering. Senior Nate Packwood could also see time in the outfield.

One hurdle for Inter-City this year is that preseason practice time has been at a premium. The squad got started a week late, as 10 of its 14 players were helping to lead the school’s basketball team to a Division 4 regional final.

“I’m glad for the basketball team, I’m glad for the run they had,” Radu said. “But like anything else, you are behind the eight ball a little bit because you’re waiting for everybody, so you’re not getting in the gym right away. But I’m glad the basketball team did as good as they did because we’re all here pulling for every sport.”

Also affecting practice time is a two-week spring break at the school, which ends April 8. The next day, the team begins action against its opponents in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue division, which includes some of the best Division 4 competition in the state.

The Chargers play their first game of the 2013 campaign on April 9 and will go on the road to take on division foe Parkway Christian.

Baptist Park

Baptist Park is headed into the 2013 season armed with experience and ready to compete.

Most of the players have been teammates for at least one season, which Coach Brian Williams said has established a great chemistry with his squad. Also, the team only graduated one senior from last year.

In 2012 Baptist Park was knocked out of the postseason early. This year the Wildcats have their sites set on a league title and district championship, Williams said.

Leading the way will be junior Daniel Eubank, who serves as team captain.

Last season he completely dominated on the mound and was a monster at the plate. He recorded 130 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings and finished with a 2.60 ERA. He hit .532 for the Wildcats and drove in 21 runs.

Baptist Park’s other starting pitcher will be sophomore Aaron Smith. Coming on in relief will be senior Kirk Thomas and sophomore Anthony Kaminski. Thomas is the team’s lone senior.

Catching for the Wildcats this spring will be juniors Joe Simpson and Gabriel Bewley.

Handling infield duties will be Eubank, Smith, Thomas, Kaminski, sophomore Joseph Agy and freshman Zane Dalpiez.

Patrolling the outfield will be juniors Evan Pardo and Logan Howard, along with sophomores Mike Simnowitz and Devante Schoffield. Also getting time in the outfield will be Simpson, Agy and Bewley.

The Wildcats will begin their season on April 9 with a home game against league foe Ypsilanti Calvary Christian Academy.

Last Updated: 3/26/2013 12:15:30 PM EST