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May 1, 2013

Hot start has confidence soaring with Harrison baseball program

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Hot start has confidence soaring with Harrison baseball program
Harrison’s Hunter Henderson said the team is aiming for 20 wins and a division title in 2013. The Hawks were 5-2 at press time.

They spoke of a snowballing effect, where one bad play or game led to another, and another.

Before long, confidence was all but gone, and a nine-win season had developed.

That was last year.

As guys on the Farmington Hills Harrison baseball team worked inside the school gym last week, well, they spoke of a snowballing effect yet again.

“Confidence is soaring right now,” senior Hunter Henderson said. “It’s like, one guy does something well, and then the next guy, and then we win. It just keeps adding up, and everyone wants to do what the guy before him did.”

Snow in spring is suddenly a good thing.

“The kids have really grown up, and a lot of things we’ve been trying to implement have sunk in,” coach Pete Lamerato said. “Guys that have been playing for a couple years now are ready for that next step; they understand what it takes. In the past, it was like, maybe we had a chance to win a game, but probably not. Now they go out expecting to win.”

The Hawks were 9-28 a year ago, finishing 2-13 in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

After dropping the first game of this season, Harrison reeled off a five-game winning streak heading into an April 26 game against Farmington High.

The Hawks were 5-2 at press time, and following a 4-3 loss to the Falcons, owned a 2-2 mark in the division.

“It’s like there’s a different attitude with the whole team. Guys want to be here — (they) want to succeed,” senior Joe Carter said. “We’re all in it for the right reasons. We want to make this year something special.”

There was little surprise as the Hawks spoke about the early success.

The past few seasons, while not loaded with wins, have served as the steppingstones to what’s taking place.

“We were building, and we knew that,” Lamerato said. “The past two years, we have played mainly freshmen and sophomores. We knew it was going to be a battle. But they have bought into what we’re doing. We’ve gotten bigger and stronger and better.”

More specifically, though, Lamerato credited his guys’ approach at the plate for the success on the scoreboard.

Through five games, Harrison batters had walked 34 times and struck out just 19.

Through five games a year ago, the Hawks had walked 12 times and fanned 42.

“That’s a huge difference,” Lamerato said. “You’re talking about that many more base runners, guys in a position to score runs we weren’t getting.”

Now the team is in a position to accomplish some goals that seemed impossible not long ago.

“We have to stay grounded, but these guys aren’t satisfied with anything so far, and I love that,” Lamerato said. “That approach is going to put us in contention for a division title.”

“We’re aiming at 20 wins and a division title,” Henderson said. “That’d be huge for this program, right now and moving forward.”

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