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St. Clair Shores

April 16, 2014

Lake Shore baseball coach: fundamentals are key to another title

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The St. Clair Shores Lake Shore baseball team is looking for its first division title since 2010. Pictured is Shorians senior pitcher/infielder Jon Brown during an April 9 game against Richmond.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The St. Clair Shores Lake Shore baseball program won five straight division titles from 2006-2010.

The team has had a couple down years, but got back to .500 last season, finishing with a 13-13 record.

Shorians coach Ryan Kottke said that if the team wants to raise another league championship banner, fundamentals must be on point.

Lake Shore plays in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division. Kottke, in his third year with the Shorians, said the division would be tough, adding that Port Huron Northern returns a lot of players.

Port Huron High and Marysville High shared the division title last season, and the coach expects both of those teams to be in the race once again.

“We’ve got to play fundamentally sound baseball to have a chance to win the league,” Kottke said April 9. “We can absolutely (win the league), but we have to be consistent in our play and that’s where I have questions.”

Those questions come from the team’s youth. Lake Shore returns seven players from last season but also has four sophomores on the roster. Kottke said he expects seniors Jon Brown and Hunter Montrose to lead the group. Both are three-year varsity players — Brown at shortstop and Montrose at catcher.

“We always say, ‘Build a strong team up the middle’ and it’s pretty strong with those two,” Kottke said. “We have sophomores at second base and in center field, so having (Brown and Montrose) up the middle to counterbalance the (younger players), we should be good up the middle by midseason.”

The Shorians (0-2) had played just two games at press time, having lost out on playing eight games because of inclement weather. That means those younger players have lost out on valuable playing time.

Kottke said the learning curve would be steep. He said he understands mistakes will be made, but that those miscues can’t become commonplace.

Lake Shore at press time had been playing in the Macomb County Spring Break Baseball Tournament. He said competing in the 16-team tournament is good for his team, as it allows Shorians players to get more on-field reps.

“All it does is help,” Kottke said. “Yeah, the goal is to win the tournament, but we want to be outside, be in the fresh air and get the guys some (playing time).”

Winning the tournament is one of the goals Kottke set for this season. He would like to see his team reach the 20-win plateau, but he’s unsure if it will even play that many games.

“And we want to be hitting our peak when the district playoffs start,” Kottke said. “We want to be at full-bore when the playoffs start to try to win a district title.”

Lake Shore next hits the diamond for a matchup against Port Huron Northern, set for 4:30 p.m. April 16 at Lake Shore.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.