The Grosse Pointe North boys' freshman players and coaches put together an amazing spring, which saw them win 24 of 27 games. Photo courtesy of Mark Orr
June 26, 2014The Grosse Pointe North boys' freshman baseball team put together a season to remember this spring, culminating in a 24-3 overall record, 20-2 Macomb Area Conference mark and 4-2 against archrival Grosse Pointe South.
The Norsemen, coached by Mark Orr and captained by Trent LaCroix, Sam Cross, Chris Cameron, Alex Van Doorne, Ryan Mazzola and Jackson Williams, scored 193 runs and stole 93 bases.
Below is a recap of the season as told by Orr.
During my 7-year stint as a coach for Dan Griesbaum at Grosse Pointe South, which culminated in a state championship in 2000, as well as in my playing career from high school where I was drafted by the Tigers upon graduation through Western Michigan University and beyond, I can't recall a season as phenomenal as the freshmen at Grosse Pointe North had this year.
Despite having three of our better players promoted to the junior varsity roster prior to the season, the kids from spots 1 through 18 remaining on the roster just refused to lose in 24 of 27 opportunities.
There were different heroes at the plate, on the mound, behind the plate, in the field and coming off the bench almost every game. The two plays that best exemplify the season were Mazzola's 2 strike, 2 out walk off double to defeat cross-town rival Grosse Pointe South 4-3 with Williams scoring on an acrobatic slide, and reserve outfielder Jack Kohler's catch of a fly ball to deep right and throw in the air to Van Doorne, who tagged out the runner at the plate on a bang-bang play to preserve a 1- 0 win over perennial power Sterling Heights Stevenson.
The team's strong suits were solid defense, pitching, aggressive base running and timely hitting, which carried us through when the games were close. It was truly a magical year for a fabulous group of kids which we hope will carry over in each of the next three years when they combine with our other accomplished Norsemen players from junior varsity and varsity to compete for a state championship title.
Some statistics of interest: LaCroix, Cross and Cameron had more than 40 stolen bases between them; the hitting was exceptional with Cross and Cameron driving in 20 runs apiece, with Mazzolla, Van Doorne, Kurt Weaver, Kyle Gloster, Williams, Lacroix and Kevin Topciu following closely behind; Weaver (2B), Williams (SS), Cross(OF/SS) and Lacroix (CF) led the defense and team in fielding percentage; our pitching staff was anchored by Cross at 7-0, Mazzola at 6-2, Williams at 6-0, Cameron at 2-1, Van Doorne at 3-0, who also was our starting catcher, and Jacob Foulkrod, who posted no record but had one start and several strong stints in long relief.