Season ends at district semifinals

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
It wasn’t the ending they wanted when the Clarkston Varsity Baseball team closed the season early in the playoffs.
“We had higher expectations going into the season,” said Jake Arendsen said.
They lost to Oxford in the MHSAA Baseball Division 1 District 28 Semifinals, 3-0.
“We fell short of our goal of making it to district finals,” said Arendsen. “I tip my hat off to Oxford. Their pitchers did a nice job keeping us off balance. Our boys know you can’t expect to win a game by only getting one hit. We did draw 4-5 walks, putting a few guys on base. We just couldn’t get that big hit. If we would have gotten one across the plate we would have broken that game open. Oxford played aggressive. They played like they were hungry and wanted to win.
The Wolves finished the season 18-15 and in fourth place in the OAA Red.
“Our league was represented by everybody beating up on each other this year,” said Arendsen. “It was a real competitive league. We talked about league games are close games. We were competitive and we are glad we see competitive games – it makes us better.”
He added they had a lot of close games throughout the season.
“We competed really well in a lot of games. We had a lot of close games,” he said. “We had a lot of exciting games and to experience five walk off wins. I would say that’s been the highlight of the season – being in those close games and being successful in a lot of those close games. There’s times we couldn’t find that extra hit to score some runners left on base. We just couldn’t find the big hits or get the big out to keep the inning from moving on. Sometimes we made it tougher on ourselves than we needed to.”
The team graduated 12 seniors on June 3 – Jack Anderson, Seth Bacon, Caleb Danielson, Jake Giolitti, Brock Henley, Alex Hunt, Griffin Kacanowski, Josh Luther, Sam O’Berry, Dominic Scalzo, Carson Wright and Ryan Wycoff.
“I am really proud of the senior class and what they have accomplished – in the classroom and on the field,” said Arendsen. “We have some guys moving on to play college baseball. It’s a highlight for our program when you see guys moving on into the next steps to play college baseball but also these guys are moving on into the next steps of their lives at the pretty high academic levels to Oakland University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan. This group is a special group – this program is going to be better because of the 12 seniors we had.”
He added he met with the seniors in the fall to help shape the mindset baseball is a year round sport.
“We established that and the seniors helped establish that culture and mindset in the weight room,” Arendsen said. “We had three day workouts then the seniors took the charge with open gym and open practices in the winter. I am really thankful for the seniors, their leadership and their sacrifices of what they have done to lay the foundation for the underclassmen.”
Luther and Anderson earned All-District and All-League honors.
Arendsen added there will be a lot of holes to fill but he looks forward to see what the underclassmen can do especially those who played a big role this season like Cole Donchez, Brian Hickey, Luke Wiley and Jon Crockett.
“Cole pitched 41 innnings for us this year. He was second on the staff behind Josh,” Arendsen said. “Cole is going to be a big role for us either it is in the outfield or on the mound. Brian Hickey was a sophomore starting at third base this year that was a big spot.Jon is going to be another big one for us on the mound and in the outfield.”