Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Glory of The Grizz

It's always great to see former prep studs from Oakland County excelling on the next level in college. And it's even better to see them doing it right here in the OC itself. That's what has been going on lately over on Walton Blvd. in Rochester with the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies baseball team.
With their backs, not to mention their one shot at a post-season berth, firmly pinned against the wall at the start of last week, the Golden Grizz (with the monumental aid of a number of former local prepsters) caught fire at the exact right time and have since reeled off four straight wins, qualifying for the four-team Summit League Championship Tournament in Oklahoma by the skin of their teeth. However, how they got there is of no consequence right now, as the Grizz have earned the right to fight for a ticket to the College World Series – played in Nebraska next month – and Burney knows with the kind of high-quality local talent leading the way for the Grizz, they could very well end up shocking the world and raising an almost-improbable banner.
You see Oakland U is only 22-32 on the year and most experts are probably picking them to lose early – NOT YOUR BOY BURNEY.
Anyone who knows anything about sports knows that once the playoffs hit anything can happen. Now, I won't go as far as predicting a first-place finish for the Grizzles, but I will say that Burney has a strong inclination that the Black, Green and Gold are going to surprise a bunch of people with their showing this coming weekend. JUST CALL IT A HUNCH, COACH MOOSE!
Let's get down to the nitty gritty and take a look-see at how the OC POWER PUNCH….er…..local talent on the diamond in the Oakland U program this year has been a major reason why the Grizz are playing their first round game today in Oklahoma against South Dakota State and not sitting on the couch at home with a bag of chips in hand watching it on television.
The OC-Grizz Connection Line-Up:
Tommy Jablonski (Oakland Christian)
Matt La Mothe (Troy Athens)
Eric Ogg (Clarkston)
Mark Leichtman (RH Adams)
Connor Mielock (Lake Orion)
Kyle Teague (Oxford)
Russell Luxton (Oxford)
Ryan Schario (Southfield Christian)
First off, Tommy Jablonski (Junior) and Matt La Mothe (Sophomore), were both recently named to the second team Summit League All-Conference squad. WAY TO GO FELLAS!  Jablonski might spawn from a small high school, yet his stats in the college ranks are anything but minute. He leads the team with a .370 batting average and has started 43 of the team's 46 games this season. La Mothe has K'd 62 batters in 66 innings of work and opposing sluggers are only hitting a combined .235 against him. The one-time Red Hawks ace, pitched a no-hitter through eight innings earlier this season against Memphis.
That brings us to Mark Leichtman, who has been a horse for his team when he;s been called on in the clutch. Leichtman, a crafty pitcher, got the win on the hill in the final game of the season against Southern Utah – the clincher for the Summit League Tourney berth. The former Highlander went six innings of work, gave up only five hits and one walk. The game before that, Connor Mielock spun a beauty against the Thunderbirds, going seven innings and only surrendering four hits in another big time win. The third to last game of the season was the "tipping point" that sent Oakland propelling into the post-season as the Grizz took a 13-12 slugfest that ended with a walk-off single. Guess who got the win in relief, spinning two scoreless innings?  That's right, my main man, Mark "The Light Master" Leichtman. COACH VAN ROBAYS JUST SHED A TEAR OF JOY ON HIS BEHALF!


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