Clarkston High School baseball off and running

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The rain dance is not something the players on the Clarkston Varsity Baseball team want to do this week as they head into five games coming back from spring break.
“We have a full schedule,” said Jake Arendsen. “We have potentially five games if the weather holds. Monday will be an important day back from break. we have to shake a little bit of rush off and get everyone back into the mindset of being mission focused. We can’t jump too far ahead but in this moment we need to win the day, win this practice, win this week, win the series. I really stressed to the boys to be mission focused in our first two weeks. Our mission is to ultimately is to win a championship – a league championship and a district championship but also be mission focused one day at a time.”
The boys opened the week with a double header at Davison on Tuesday with senior Alex Hunt and juniors Cole Donchez pitching in the game.
They headed to Bloomfield Hills on Wednesday and host Walled Lake Northern in a double header on Thursday, beginning at 4 p.m.
“We have a real important week to help set the tone before we start league play on April 15,” Arendsen added.
The Wolves opened the season with a 9-4 win over Clarkston Everest Collegiate, March 28.
“The first win was good,” said Arendsen. “The boys were eager to play and get going.
Senior Brock Henley had two hits with two doubles and one RBI. Sophomore Brian Hickey had two hits, one double and one RBI. Junior Luke Wiley and Senior Jake Giolitti both had two RBIs. Donchez and three hits with one double.
“One thing that’s been tough is we have had the injury bug sweep through our team,” Arendsen added. W:e weren’t in full health but it was nice to see some guys produce that wouldn’t normally be in the line up. We also had some underclassmen step up and fill big role there too. It was really good to get the first one out of the way and start the season on a good note.”
Arendsen added the team has a solid pitching staff and can go 5-6 deep. They used three pitchers against Everest with Hunt pitching for the first four inning, senior Josh Luther came in for relief for two innings and Donchez closed the night for one inning.
“We can mix in a lot of different people who aren’t in the rotation but definitely can throw strikes for us,” he said “I am looking to some juniors John Crockett, Cole Donchez and Luke Wiley to have a big impact on the mound. Another guy I am excited about is Brian Hickey he is our sophomore starting third baseman who will also be on the mound for us as well.”
The team has 12 seniors on the roster and Arendsen said they will go where the seniors go especially when it comes to hitting.
“They’re going to definitely put the ball in play a lot this year and we will be in the position to be aggressive on the bases because of it,” he said. “It’s one of the things I told the team this year – I want to be aggressive on the bases and our seniors are definitely going to lead the ship there.”
He added the leading hitters are I would say our offensive hitters are Seth Bacon, Jack Anderson, Griffin Kacanowski, Luther and Henley. Bacon, who led was the leading hitter last season with a .450 average, is out right now with an elbow injury.
Arendsen added the boys have stepped up and back up first baseman senior Sam O’Berry is one of those guys.
“Sam has worked and gave tremendous effort for the off season and prepared himself,” Arendsen explained. “No one knew Seth was going to get injured two weeks before tryouts. But the way Sam prepared himself, either a starter or not a starter, has drastically paid off for him. It was nice to see him reap the benefits of the work he did in the off season just in our first game. He will be there until Seth gets healthy. He will continue to be a contributing factor even after Seth is healthy.”
The boys are looking forward to solid competition to prep them for the playoffs.
They are also looking forward to hosting a new event – the Ryan Kennedy Memorial Tournament, May 11, 10 a.m. It is held in honor of Kennedy, who passed away in 2012 after a five-year battle with Ependymoma, a form of brain cancer.
“I played baseball at Oakland University. We adopted Ryan as our team member. I got to know his family really well,” Arendsen said. “Ironically enough it comes around full circle, I got a job in Clarkston and now am head coach for baseball. Ryan’s family will be there to throw out the first pitch at 9:45 a.m.”
Tournament begins at 10 a.m.