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May 1, 2013

Move to the OAA Blue offers Andover different perspective

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Marisa Tucci-Berube squares up a bunt during a game April 27 at Southfield-Lathrup. The Barons were moved to the OAA Blue this season.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Change may just define the path in 2013 for the Bloomfield Hills Andover softball team.

After winning the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division with a 12-0 record, the Barons have moved to the Blue.

After Vince Bazarewski was named Coach of the Year in the division, Dan Whitmire has taken the team over.

And, when this season ends, well, so does the program, for good.

Needless to say, the girls are in for a challenge in 2013.

They are also out to leave their mark.

“It’s important for us to go out with a bang,” senior Sarah Durecka said. “I mean, it’s sad that we’re the last class and the last team, but we want to make the most of it.”

The team’s 12 division wins also led to a 20-plus-win season in 2012.

At press time, playing a tougher schedule, the Barons were 4-3.

“I’m pretty impressed with these girls,” Whitmire said. “We have only three seniors, but they have played well. Defensively, they’re doing a fantastic job. Right now, the only issue is getting girls around the bases better. Once we figure that out, we’re going to be just fine.”

Whitmire, who coached the junior varsity last season, said there’s been very little adjustment needed as a new coach.

“Most of the girls, I know or I have coached,” he added.

He did say that there was a bit of a rebuild going on after the Barons graduated some core seniors.

“Rebuilding on the fly,” he explained. “It’s kind of a different makeup with this team, after graduating some of the girls that we did. I think the first thing we focused on was fundamentals. But as we started talking about goals, we want the league title.”

“We knew the schedule would be harder, coming into the year, and it has been,” senior Melanie Meinhart said of moving divisions. “But we’re doing well so far. We’re starting to come together as a team.”

Whitmire said a 20-win season is somewhat expected with the talent he’s seen so far.

His girls agreed.

“If we can find a way to play the way we did last year, we’ll be right in the mix,” Durecka.

“A division title would be huge,” Meinhart said. “Especially being the last season here.”

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