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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

March of The Maples

One of the biggest surprises of the spring sports season this year has been the outstanding play of the Birmingham Seaholm boys baseball team. Seventh year-head coach Don Watchowski lost six senior starters from last season's conference championship-winning squad, but the Maples new-look line-up this season has gelled together quickly and finds themselves once again in the thick of the race for the league title. After dispatching West Bloomfield on Monday by the score of 9-1, Seaholm is 13-2 overall and 8-2 in conference play.
Now, Burney has always loved himself some "Coach Don" and the Maples, yet he has to admit he's a bit shocked that the boys in maroon and white are once again competing at such a high level. It's nothing against Watchowski's coaching ability – which is stellar to say the least –, it's just Burney thought so highly of '09 diamond studs like Tyler Haggerson (Hillsdale), Ryan Minor (Worcester College), Brian Bjerke, and Brian O' Connor, that he believed losing the likes of such gritty and talented competitors would have taken much more of a toll. NOT THE CASE!
Obviously, Burney was as wrong as wrong could be. Watchowski and the fellas are cruising in the "VICTORY FAST LANE" with their brand of 'grind-it-out', fundamental baseball (nothing overwhelming or flashy, simply GOOD), and looking poised for taking another quality shot at the programs' first district trophy in quite some time.  In 2009, the Maples lost a Division 1 district final to defending-state champion, Birmingham Brother Rice.
Alright, so why are the Maples so good this year? Well, having a rock solid class of eight seniors to replace last season's rock solid class of six, was a giant start. Throw in a top notch transfer in Derek Amboyen, who started at third base last year as a sophomore at Brother Rice and is now Seaholm's starter at the hot corner, and a healthy Jack Quigley (the team's ace hurler who has battled injuries problems the past two springs) and the attack is considerably more formidable than ONE might have expected.
And then there's that "X-Factor" that the team has in its tri-captains – Quigley, Bill Getschman, and Greg Schwartz. These guys are genuine leaders who know what it takes to get it done. Schwartz is the leading returning hitter for the squad. Getschman is a do-it-all, utility type, who will do whatever his coaches ask of him and do it well. Quigley is a 4.0 student and D1-caliber pitcher that is the definition of the word "winner". Not only was "The Q-Man" the Maples starting quarterback the past two autums, he was also a starting forward and captain on back-to-back Seaholm basketball league title teams. Oh, did I mention in football, he also played defense and was the squad's leading tackler from his middle linebacker spot as both a junior and senior?
On Monday against West Bloomfield on the road, all three came to play in a major way. First, Quigley threw a one-hit gem from the mound. He had a no-hitter through five innings and struck out six, while delivering an RBI from the plate. Both Schwartz and Getschman collected two hits and two RBI apiece in the game to highlight the Seaholm offense.
Way to go, Maples! You're doing your boy, Burney proud and he thinks this just might be the year that a district banner finally goes up in the school's gymnasium. Hosting the DISTRICT TOURNEY isn't going to hurt either.


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