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BASEBALL: Huron League preview (PHOTO)

Veteran Chiefs are ready to go

Backed by the right arm of senior Brian Christen, Coach Cliff Whitehouse and the Grosse Ile Red Devils are looking for bigger things this season.

Though the spring has been uncooperative for all local baseball teams, Huron Coach AJ Richardson heads into the 2013 with a veteran group anchored by nine seniors.

Niko White, Alex Frye and Chris Ozog will be main contributors on the mound and in the infield for the Chiefs this season while fellow seniors Nate Hoge and Anthony Stone bring versatility to the outfield.

Seniors Logan Lambdin, Tom Eskew and Jason Kirby will all see time on the infield and Joe Fabrizio will work the battery with Huron’s pitchers from behind the plate.

Juniors Jeff Wolber and Austin Rains will add depth in the outfield while junior Elijah Scott sees time on the mound and in the infield.

Miles Molnar and Mark Cash, both sophomores, will also see time at pitcher and in the field.

One of Huron’s strengths this season will be its team speed in the outfield.

“Outfield-wise, we’ll have a lot of good speed and that should help us out offensively and defensively,” Richardson said.

The Chiefs open Huron League play on April 8 against Milan.



Grosse Ile

After a number of close losses last year, including a low-scoring battle against eventual-champion Trenton in the district finals, Grosse Ile hopes to compete with a talented group of returning players.

“This is a good group of kids,” Grosse Ile Coach Cliff Whitehouse said. “They grew up playing ball together and it’ll be fun helping these kids have a good senior year.”

Senior Brian Christen returns to the hill to lead the Red Devil pitching staff and will see plenty of time at shortstop.

Jeff Brohl will provide a nice 1-2 punch with Christen and will also see time in the middle infield.

Keeton Ross, who was all-conference at first base last year, could play any number of positions, but his bat will be a fixture in the Red Devil lineup regardless of where he plays in the field.

Tyler London returns behind the plate for Grosse Ile while fellow seniors Lou Rote (pitcher/outfielder), TJ Plegue (first base), Vincent McShane (pitcher/outfielder), Reggie Vella (outfield), Derek Cuddy (outfield) and Dom Galati (second base) all look to make significant contributions.

Tom Daly leads a class of five juniors and will play third, where he was all-conference and all-district last year.

Other juniors include Lorenzo Galati (infield), Thomas Lowler (utility), Alex Moyer (outfield) and Eric Smorch (second base) will also compete for time.

“I’m looking forward to having fun with those guys,” Whitehouse said. “With 11 returners, I think we’ll compete.

“I don’t think we’re world beaters by any stretch of the imagination. We play in a tough league. I think we can compete, be in more games than not and win those close ones for these kids in their senior year.”

The Red Devils are scheduled to open against Carlson today, weather permitting.

Grosse Ile will travel to Summit Academy on April 6 for a double-header and will open the Huron League season on April 9 against Riverview.



Riverview

Seven seniors will take the field in Riverview this spring to lead the Bucs towards a competitive Huron League season.

Joe Vitale, David Rasky and Kyle Agius will provide senior leadership in the outfield while Tim Lyons (first base), Connor MacDougal (middle infield), Jay Helstowski (first base) and Aaron Vowell (third base) do the same on the infield.

Lyons and Agius will elad a pitching staff that will also feature junior David Archer and sophomore Nolan Glime.

Archer will also see time at third while fellow juniors Mike Allsbrooks (outfield), Aaron Hand (catcher), Aaron Ajrouche (utility) and Beau Yaremko (middle infield) all log plenty of innings.

Sophomore Ben Menna will fight for an infield spot and freshman Tyler Chase will spell Hand at catcher.

“I think we’re going to be very competitive,” said Riverview Coach Chris Haut of his senior-laden team. “They’ve been in this system for four years and they know what we expect and I think they know the game.”

The Bucs will open the Huron League season against Grosse Ile on April 9.



Flat Rock

Hard work has been the theme in Flat Rock this offseason as the Rams try to continue improving heading into the new season.

“The work they’ve put in this offseason has been the best in my 15 years,” Flat Rock Coach Chris Elliott said. “These kids have put in the most time as a group and they’re a great group of kids.

“Two years ago was the longest season I’ve ever endured. Last season, we won five games, but it was a drastic improvement.”

One key for the Rams will be the return of senior pitcher/outfielder Mike Chickeral, who missed much of last season with a broken leg.

Other key hurlers for the Rams will be seniors Greg Simpson and Jacob Aho and sophomore Cameron Ernest.

Simpson and Ernest will each see time a shortstop and senior Austin Kittle will play both outfield and catcher for the Rams.

The team’s juniors include Cody Ratcliffe (outfield/first base), Kevin Fritz (second base), Billy Jablonski (first base), Jacob Carroll (catcher), James Todd (third base/closing pitcher) and Luke Tamsen (outfield).

Sophomores Brendan Miller (outfield/pitcher) and Mickey Clark (pitcher) will also look to make impacts.

“Last year, we did play good baseball,” Elliott said. “There was always just that one inning with errors or a mental breakdown that cost us.

“Hopefully the amount of work they put in and their willingness to listen and try to get better will pay off in the long run.”

The Rams will open the 2013 season on April 6 with a home double-header against Erie Mason.





Last Updated: 3/26/2013 12:24:33 PM EST

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