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April 16, 2013

Ferndale baseball team taking aim at solid spring after a tough go in 2012

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Ferndale baseball team taking aim at solid spring after a tough go in 2012
Ryan Fara warms up during a practice last week. Ferndale was 8-15 last season, but hopes to contend for the OAA Gold.

Eventually, he hopes, John Sibula will get his Ferndale High baseball team outdoors.

At some point, he thinks he’ll see exactly what type of team he has and if the guys’ performances in the gymnasium so far — all very good — can translate to the actual field.

“We’ve been outside three times,” the Eagles coach said prior to an April 9 practice held in the school’s gym. “Until we get out there and see exactly what we’ve got, it makes things tough.”

Sibula paused before continuing.

“But so far, we look good. Real good.”

His fingers were crossed as he spoke about a scheduled game the next day, which was eventually canceled.

So, at press time, the Eagles were 0-0 on the season.

“I guess everyone’s kind of in the same boat,” Sibula said with a laugh.

Yet, as he gauged what the spring could bring, the Ferndale coach is loaded with optimism, fueled by what he’s seen, and just whom he has.

“We’ve got six starters back, mostly guys who are juniors and who have played a lot,” Sibula said. “Plus, we’ve got some good freshmen in the mix, and some good core guys back. We’re young, I guess, but we’re pretty experienced.”

“Sure, we’re young, with just a few seniors,” senior pitcher Keith Waldrup said. “But we’ve got good pitching, good defense, and I think we’re going to hit the ball pretty well.”

Ferndale’s youth showed a year ago.

Despite a 7-5 record in the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division, the Eagles were 8-15 overall, ending the year in a Division 2 district final loss.

Immersed in those 15 losses, were six by one run.

“It was just discipline — too many mistakes,” junior catcher Robert MacDonald explained. “That’s where the experience comes in. The defense is going to be better.”

It has to, according to Sibula.

“At any level of baseball, when you throw strikes and play good defense, you have a chance to be in any game,” he said. “I feel like our pitchers can do their job. So it comes down to us making the routine plays, routinely. I think these guys are capable of that.”

After an 8-1 season on the mound as a junior, Waldrup will anchor the pitching staff.

“I’m confident in our guys,” he said. “The core of the defense is back, and with a few guys stepping up, we’ll be all right.”

Players and Sibula stressed the desire to contend for the league title.

“Absolutely,” Sibula said when asked whether this team was good enough to do just that. “We want to be in the mix, and these guys are good enough. It comes down to not giving away extra outs. That cost us last year, but if we cut down on it, we win some games we lost.”

The Eagles’ next scheduled game is against Southfield-Lathrup at 4:30 p.m. April 17 at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.