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May 1, 2013

Grosse Pointe North baseball hopes to finish strong

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Grosse Pointe North senior Alex Cendrowski took the mound against St. Clair Shores Lakeview during a scrimmage game earlier this season. Coach Frank Sumbera would like to see his team “bring the district crown back to North.”

To say that Grosse Pointe North has a strong baseball tradition would be an understatement.

According to coach Frank Sumbera, who has been the leading force behind North’s storied tradition after coaching for some 40 seasons, the Norsemen have the third most wins of any baseball program in the state, behind only Blissfield and Grand Ledge.

That knowledge, along with the pride that goes along with pulling on a green-and-gold jersey, is something the players are well aware of.

“Grosse Pointe North’s always been very competitive in baseball,” Sumbera said. “Tradition is deep at North. Lot of good baseball players have gone there, and these guys know it. They’re trying to do the same thing.”

Given that North was off to a 1-3 start in the Macomb Area Conference White Division (8-10 overall), Sumbera acknowledged that accomplishing one of the goals for the season, namely a league championship, could be a challenge.

At press time, the Norsemen were two games back of Romeo for the top spot in the MAC White.

While a lot may have to go right to capture a league championship, the Norsemen will get a fresh start once the postseason comes around. Districts will be North’s first opportunity to do that, as it will be looking to capture the program’s first district championship since 2007.

And as much as he would like for North to come away from the season with a district championship, Sumbera has already given some thought as to the opponent his team may have to get past, in order to make that happen.

“We’re hosting it,” Sumbera said of a district tournament (scheduled to be played May 28-June 1). “We know who’s in the district. Grosse Pointe South has won it the last few years. It always seems to (be) between North and South. We’re going to have to get ourselves prepared, and hopefully, have a good game when we face them and see what happens. We’re looking to, hopefully, bring the district crown back to North.”

Evan Hayden, Cody Parafin and Andrew Remus are North’s top three arms. Center fielder Dan Robinson leads the team in hitting with a .476 average.

While Sumbera is not yet sure exactly how far this season will take the Norsemen, he does think that if they can maximize their talent, the opportunity is there to make this campaign a good one.

“We get to the postseason, hopefully, we’re (going to) have solid pitching to go along with timely hitting and be a strong defensive baseball team,” he said. “We always stress good pitching and defense, and get the key hit when you need it. We’ll see what happens.”

North is next scheduled to be in action at 4 p.m. May 6 in a road game against L’Anse Creuse North.