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June 17, 2014

L’Anse Creuse baseball coach hopes team takes something away from run to regionals

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse baseball team reached the 20-win plateau for the third straight season. Pictured is Lancers senior pitcher Dan Bailey during a D-1 regional semifinal against Sterling Heights Stevenson June 7.

FAIR HAVEN — The Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse baseball program is building a name for itself, and the 2014 season helped add to that reputation.

L’Anse Creuse (22-14) eclipsed the 20-win plateau for the third straight year with its second Division 1 district title in three years after an 8-1 win over St. Clair Shores Lake Shore May 30 at Roseville High. The two district championships in three years (2012, 2014) come after the team had not won a postseason tournament since 2001.

L’Anse Creuse could not get past the regional round, though, falling 3-0 to Sterling Heights Stevenson in a D-1 regional semifinal June 7 at Anchor Bay. Stevenson went on to win the regional with a 7-2 win over Warren De La Salle.

“We’re trying to get over this hump,” L’Anse Creuse coach Bob Walmsley said June 7. “We’ll get it one day. The best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and continue to get better. Experience is the best learning tool.”

The Lancers had a chance to break the game open early, as they had bases loaded in the top of the first inning. No runs crossed the plate, and Walmsley said that was an opportunity his team had to have.

“Somehow, you have to put the ball in play there,” Walmsley said.

The Titans, ranked as the No. 1 team in the state by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association, took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. L’Anse Creuse senior hurler Dan Bailey at one point sat down 12 straight Stevenson batters. A bloop single in the bottom of the sixth by Titans junior Riley McCauley scored two runs and effectively ended the game.

The Lancers put runners on base in the top of the seventh but failed to score. Bailey finishes the season with a 9-3 record and went 16-4 as a starter at L’Anse Creuse.

“It’s a tough game. (Stevenson) has a strong lineup from top to bottom,” Walmsley said. “Dan’s been an incredible pitcher his whole career. This was a tough loss for him. He gave us a chance to win.”

Bailey is one of five seniors the team will lose to graduation. The Lancers have 13 players eligible to return in 2015, including junior infielder Adam Redoute, junior first baseman/catcher P.J. Warner and junior catcher Aaron Gonzalez.

Walmsley called his team a young one and is expecting improvements from each returning player.

“We only have four seniors who started. We’re going to miss them for their leadership and character,” Walmsley said. “We played a lot of sophomores and even had a couple freshmen in the field at times.

“At times, the young kids made mistakes and they also showed their great ability. They’re going to be good ballplayers. Hopefully, we get experience from (regionals) to see where we need to be (as a team).”

For more coverage of the 2014 state playoffs, check www.candgnews.com or www.mhsaa.com.

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