In 2012, a number of players emerged to have solid seasons for the Warren Mott baseball team.
That needs to happen again in order for the Marauders to have success, according to coach Shawn Maloney.
“We have some young players who have to learn our system, and we need a lot of defensive (repetitions),” Maloney said. “We are replacing some key players, so we will need to play and gain experience.”
Mott, which hadn’t played a game at press time, lost starting pitchers Lucas Ross and Zack Smith to graduation. Maloney said senior hurlers Joey Slivik and Zack Rangel will take over in the pitching rotation, moving from the three and four spots to one and two, respectively.
Maloney is also looking for seniors Nick Maluchnik and Matt Debski to be the team’s top sluggers. Maluchnik and Debski will hit third and fourth, respectively, in the order.
“Those two should have stellar power numbers in the three and four spots,” said Maloney, who led the Marauders to a 21-12 finish last season, which included a 7-3 record in the Macomb Area Conference White Division.
“We’re definitely a good hitting team. We have speed and power in the lineup. We need pitchers to emerge and we need Stephen Jelsch to play solid at catcher (after moving from shortstop). If it all comes together, we could be good. If not, it could be a struggle at times. We hope to be (playing) our best, come state tournament time.”
Even with lineup spots up in the air, Maloney said the goal remains to win the MAC White and capture a district title. Mott finished second in the MAC White to Macomb L’Anse Creuse North last season and fell to Warren De La Salle in a district final.
“It’s not easy,” Maloney said of winning league and district titles. “All the teams in the league are about equal, with Romeo being the front-runner.
“We sure would like to finish at or near the top (of the MAC White), and it’s been a while since we won a district title, so that would be a huge success, if we could do that.”
Maloney said he expects some growing pains, as figuring out what spots the players play best as soon as possible will be key, Maloney said.
“The kids understand the program and what we expect,” Maloney said. “Now they just have to get out there and get after it.”
Mott will scrimmage with Sterling Heights High at 3:15 March 27 at Sterling Heights. The Marauders’ regular-season opener is set for 11:45 a.m. April 1 against Detroit Consortium at Kyte Monroe Field A in St. Clair Shores.