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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Silent Assassins

Under the radar, they've done wonders.
Lakeland's Jessica McNabb and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes' Abby Troy, are a pair of unheralded two-sport stars that have quietly been integral cogs in their respective teams' spectacular regular seasons.
McNabb, a junior, was inserted into the Lakeland softball lineup early in the season following a down start and with her manning first base, the Eagles took flight, finishing with their eighth straight 30-win campaign. She is hitting .335 from the plate with a slugging percentage over the .600 mark. Off the diamond, McNabb is one of the best female high school bowlers in the state, currently being recruited by a number of top college programs.
Troy, a senior, is the standout lead-off hitter for the WOLL softball team – ranked No. 8 in the state in Division 4 – and a star defender on the Lakers girls soccer squad –ranked No. 1 in the state –, signed to continue her career on the pitch next year at the University of Detroit-Mercy. Last week, she slapped a game-winning RBI single in the Lakers' exhilarating come from behind defeat of arch-rival Marine City Cardinal Mooney in the CHSL championship game. Last spring, Troy helped take WOLL to a state crown in soccer and two years ago as a sophomore she was a starter on the Lakers' 2009 CHSL title team on the softball field.
The main reason McNabb and Troy go a tad underappreciated is because they are both surrounded by such talented teammates; MSU-signee Kelsey Cleary, ace spinstress Michelle Stiltner and co. for Lakeland/Toledo-signee Megan Topolewski, super soph Ava Doetch and co. for WOLL)
But don't get it twisted, neither the Eagles nor the Lakers would have been able to climb to the heights they have so far this season without the top notch services of my main homegirls Jessica and Abby!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Arming For Battle

A Bold prediction by your boy Burney:
The Lake Orion baseball team is going to Cereal City next month aka the Division 1 final four in Battle Creek. And these guys have a serious shot at bringing home a wooden mitten aka a state championship – their second in the last five seasons.
And the reason why is simple – Coach Schram and the Dragons are winning the arms race…..alas they have arguably the best overall pitching staff in the entire Metro Detroit area.
Lake Orion's stable of arms goes five deep….and I'm talking about five top-tier hurlers.
At the top of the rotation you got sophomore Nick Deeg, quickly emerging as one of the state's top power pitchers, and an ultra-steady duo of seniors in Zack Zott and Cole Schaenzer. Closing out this fearsome fivesome is sophomore Cody Campbell and senior Dalton Oveson, a pair of throwers that would easily be at the frontend of most rotations in Oakland County.
Deeg is a 'K-King" who is sure to be one of the most sought after arms in the state's recruiting Class of 2013. The lanky Dragons star carves up opposing lineups like he was a professional surgeon working over at Beaumont Hospital.
Zott and Schaenzer are just pure winners, having guided the Dragons' football squad to a state title on the gridiron last fall and picked up all-conference honors last spring as juniors on the diamond.
Campbell is an absolute gem of a fireballer who will be unfortunately leaving the school district after this season and moving to Chicago due to his dad's job transfer. For a 16-year old kid, this kid has a beard that put MLB'ers twice his age to shame…..FEAR THE BEARD!!!
Overson is the ultimate "glue guy", who can hurt you equally from the mound and the dish.
These fellas are SUPERBAD from the bump and will carry the Dragons very far this postseason. It's inevitable because Burney said so!!!!!! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Charging Forward

Lurking in the shadows of the county's prep baseball scene, playing second-fiddle in the headlines to the more high-profile diamond squads in the area, the Southfield-Lathrup Chargers have quietly built up a very strong resume on the field the past few seasons.
By defeating defending league champion Berkley 12-4 late last week, Lathrup wrapped up its third Oakland Activities Association White Division championship in the last four years. The Chargers currently sport an 18-8 overall mark and a perfect 11-0 record in the OAA White.
Five of Lathrup's seniors have been part of all three league title teams. Leading the Chargers in the dugout is head coach Darren Mosley, in his ninth year at the helm.
Sophomore hurler Johnny Slater picked up the win on the mound for Lathrup against Berkley, the favorite to take the league when the season started. Senior Darius Woods, the Chargers' starting second baseman, came into the game in the sixth and pitched 1 2/3 innings to close things out.
Loaded with speed, Lathrup's strength is its potent offense, which has been averaging over six runs per game. Leadoff hitter Thurman Hall is a terror from the plate and on the base paths. Shortstop Robert Bell, catcher Darian Luttrell, first baseman Will Boyd and third baseman Anthony Whitaker, all seniors, do most of the squad's heavy lifting offensively. Slater, also a standout basketball player, and junior outfielder, John Hall, headline the Chargers' youth brigade.
Unfortunately, Lathrup will encounter quite a tall hurdle to leap if it intends to extend its trophy parade deep into the postseason; when the state tournament kicks off next week -
as has been standard the last decade or so - the Chargers will be in the same district as perennial state juggernaut Birmingham Brother Rice.
Two years ago, Lathrup pulled the upset over Birmingham Groves in the district semifinals before falling to Brother Rice in the district finals
In the 1970s and 80s, Lathrup had a successful baseball program before hitting some hard times in the 1990s and into the early and mid-2000s. Mosely's ballclub will finish with a record above the .500 plateau for the fourth straight season, the most proficient the Chargers have been since under the guidance of longtime skipper Bob Marten.
No matter what happens next week, Coach Mosely and his seniors have a lot to be proud in what they accomplished by putting Chargers baseball back on the map.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Burney's Baseball Rankings - A New No. 1

OC TOP 10 - Prep Baseball Squads
1          MH Bishop Foley – Could be the best team in the state regardless of Division-size and with a week to play in the regular season assumes the top spot in Burney's rankings
2          Lake Orion – This group Dragons are just so versatile and talented, I'm looking forward to how this story will end….CEREAL CITY?
3          Birmingham Brother Rice – The Warriors will bounce back from lackluster showing in CHSL tourney to claim its UMPTEENTH district title next month
4          MH Lamphere – Greg Fettes (aka 'The G Bomb Machine') can't be stopped at the dish….he's the most dangerous hitter in the state…..TAKE THAT 2 THE BANK!!!!
5          Clarkston – Coach Price's squad is PRICELESS on the diamond….the Wolfpack's threeseome of Peck, Toth and Rodgers is as SCARY as they come!!!!!
6 (tie)  WL Central – Blake Burns is BURNING UP the diamond for the Vikings this spring
6 (tie)  Birmingham Groves – Hottest team in the county right now, reeling off 14-straight wins and 15 of their last 16…attn: MSU coaching staff, the kid's name is Jake Balicki, he's a beast, wrap him up for your next recruiting class
7 (tie)  Troy Athens – Tommy Eng makes RED HAWKS NATION go CHA-CHING every time he hits the field ….that is how MONEY this kid is!!!
7 (tie)  Stoney Creek – DA CREEK is DA BOMB!!!
8          Novi Detroit Catholic Central – Nate Beck could be the most underrated pitching ace in the Oakland County
9          Birmingham DCD – You can't stop Yellowjackets senior and future Wake Forest Demon Deacon Kevin Conway, you can only hope to contain him!!
10        Birmingham Seaholm – I love the job Coach Drapal has done with his Maples' BALLER BRIGADE…..Could wind up Coach of the Year in the OAA

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bonus Bytes - Spring Banter

I'm going to start calling the Birmingham Groves baseball team the "TNT Boys", because these guys are BLOWING UP!!!! After Friday's win over BH Lahser, the Falcons have taken a dozen straight on the diamond.
I can't get over how many home runs are being hit as of late in the local prep baseball ranks; There were another 14 on Friday, highlighted by Clarkston Dustin Peck's grand slam in the Wolfpack's 15-0 blasting of RH Adams
There is no question in my mind that the Birmingham Marian girls soccer squad is going to pull the THREE PEAT!!!! GO GET' EM TEAM BRODSKY!!!!
I love the pitching duo of Abby Klein and Michelle Cottrell on the softball team at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes…these young ladies can STRAIGHT SPIN
Madison Heights Bishop Foley basketball stars Corey Green and Mike Oravetz are both RED HOT on the AAU hoops circuit this spring playing for DA DYNASTY. Green dropped 48 points in a recent game and is averaging 19.5 points and 15 rebounds per contest so far. Oravetz scored 32 points – canning 7 of 9 from 3-point range – in the semifinals of an AAU tourney down in Ohio hosted by LeBron James. The pair of Venture cage studs helped take Bishop Foley to both district and Catholic League championships this past winter and will be seniors next year.
Football News
Deciding to follow in his big brother Zach's footsteps, Oxford RB/LB Prescott Line has given a verbal commitment to the SMU Mustangs
Birmingham Brother Rice OL/DL Dylan Anderson recently verbally committed to Central Michigan, continuing to feed the recruiting pipeline the Chippewas coaching staff have built into Oakland County
A couple names to watch for next fall; Southfield Lathrup's Jamal Lyles (LB) and Billy Moore (WR/DB), who have both been excelling in offseason competition and raising their recruiting profile. The Chargers haven't made the playoffs in a few years but they remain consistent in the fact that they send players to D1 schools (i.e. Montrell Robinson, Stefan Armstead, Willie Beavers). Lyles is a speedy and tenacious linebacker prospect who can play the MIKE, the IKE and the SAM, while Moore has blasted onto the scene at some recent 7on7 tournaments with his pass-catching skills and big play ability on returns.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting My Kicks

On Monday Burney got the chance to hang out with one of his childhood idols, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook alum, Alexi Lalas, the face of American soccer for the better part of the last two decades.

It was a great experience, to say the least. Lalas, who graduated from Cranbrook in 1988 and was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006, was in town promoting the upcoming first-round Gold Cup match between the U.S. and Canada (dubbed ‘The Border War’), set to be played at Ford Field on June 7 at 8 pm.

This will be the first time the U.S. national team has played in Metro Detroit since 1994, when the red, white and blue, led by Lalas and his trademark mop top and goatee , played a first-round World Cup match at the Silverdome against Switzerland that ended in a 1-1 deadlock.
What a genuine class act this guy is. For a god in the biggest professional sport in the world, he was incredibly grounded and easy to talk to, not surprising being born and bred right here in THE OC!! There was abosultly no pretense with him and that was refreshing.

The former ace defender is extremely excited for U.S. soccer to be back in his hometown and so am I. The U.S. led by super stud Landon Donovan, is sure to give this city a show.

The winner of the Gold Cup – an all-out battle to crown the best national squad in North America, Central America and the Caribbean – advances to the Confederations Cup in 2013, a tournament the U.S. took second place in back in 2009. The 2013 Confederations Cup is scheduled to be played in Brazil.

During his younger days, Lalas cemented a legacy that makes him one of the all-time greatest athletes to ever spawn from this area. In high school, he was all-state in both soccer and hockey. As a junior and senior on the ice, Lalas, a feisty right wing, helped the Cranes to back-to-back state championships. On the prep soccer pitch, he was named Player of the Year in the state of Michigan in 1987. Once he hit the college ranks at Rutgers, the success continued. He guided the Scarlett Knights to consecutive final fours in 1989 and 1990, before going on to play professionally in some of Europe’s top leagues and on two World Cup teams and two U.S. Olympic teams.

Never one to forget about his roots, Lalas married his high school classmate, Anne Rouey, and they live with their two young children – Henry and Sophie – in California, where he commutes from to Bristol, Connecticut to act as ESPN’s top on-air soccer analyst.

Recalling his days as a teenager growing up in Birmingham, a smile came to his face.

“I was driving down Southfield Road coming out to Ford Field this morning and it brought back all these great memories of when I was in high school, just hanging out with my buddies, driving around being typical kids,” he said. “Seeing some of the same places from that time still around immediately transported me back to that time in my life. This was a great place to grow up.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Brown Bomber

If there was a better "fifth starter" in local prep boys basketball the past two years than Southfield's Joshua Brown, I never saw him play. Although virtually hidden in the Bluejays' lineup since becoming a starter in December of 2009, the hardnosed 6-foot-3 skywalking swingman, was integral in igniting Southfield to back-to-back Class A final fours
Now for the second chapter of his playing career, Brown will be taking his talents on the hardwood to Ohio, recently signing a National Letter of Intent with D2 power Findlay University.
This jumping jack of a wing was a lot of fun to watch as a prepster. While his high-profile teammates (i.e. UofM-bound Carlton Brundidge and Texas Southern signee Patrick Onwenu) hogged the lion's share of the headlines, Brown humbly crafted a reputation as one of Oakland County's top defensive specialists and a master of the slam dunk. Last season as a senior, he averaged 9 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals per game while always being assigned to 'D up' the opposing team's top perimeter offensive threat
The peak of his aerial antics came in the regionals this past March against Brother Rice when he capped a Bluejays fast break by taking off from the hash mark just in front of the foul line and flushing it home with one hand up over a pair of Warrior defenders. IT WAS EPIC…..the best dunk I saw all year.
Believe Burney when he tells you that head coach Gary Teasley and the Southfield hoops squad are going to miss Brown's services equally as much as they will miss Brundidge's and Onwenu's when the 2011-2012 kicks off in December.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Five For Fighting - Saturday In The Park

OC Top 5 – Most impressive outings on the prep battlefield Saturday afternoon
1 Nate Beck (Novi Detroit CC baseball) – Beck did his best Justin Verlander impression in the Shamrocks 9-1 shellacking of Dearborn Divine Child in the CHSL semifinals, pitching a complete-game two-hitter, while fanning a whopping 17 batters. Just start calling this kid 'Cy' because if Oakland County gave out a Cy Young Award at the end of the season, this kid could easily walk away with it.
2 Natalie Sabourin (Troy Athens girls soccer) – Sabourin punched in the game-winning goal in Athens' 1-0 triumph over Birmingham Marian in a grudge match between two of the state's top girls soccer squads, capping a rigorous, yet highly successful week of play for the talent-laden Red Hawks
3 Mark Dillard (Farmington baseball) – Dillard smacked the game-winning RBI single in Farmington's upset win on the diamond versus Walled Lake Central. The Falcons, who were hit hard by graduation this season, started the year very slow, but have since been coming on like gangbusters with a series of exciting victories like the one Dillard brought them on Saturday.
4 Megan Spagnuolo (Birmingham Marian girls LAX) – Scoring two goals to go along with notching four assists, my homegirl "Spags" powered the Mustangs to a Catholic League crown by besting Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart 14-7.
5 Danny Zuchowski (MH Bishop Foley baseball) – My man 'Zoom Zoom' did it all on Saturday for the Ventures, going 2 for 3 with three RBI from the dish and pitching a complete-game four-hitter, striking out six, in Foley's 9-2 take down of Allen Park Cabrini in a CHSL semi-final. The University of Toledo baseball program got itself a TRUE GEM with the signing of Zuchowski to their recruiting class back in the fall.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Clarkston Report

Notes from Wolfpackland:
Detroit Deli
Burney's main man, "Deli" aka Matt Dellinger, C-Town's junior two-sport stud, has been BLOWING UP this offseason, significantly upping his college recruiting profile on the gridiron with a series of BIG TIME outings at a number of 7-on-7 tourneys. Dellinger is ultra-versatile and can play a variety of positions on the field, including wide receiver, tight end, linebacker or safety. He recently corralled his first D1 offer from Kent State. Last fall, he was a key component on a Clarkston football team that went 8-3 and qualified for the playoffs. As a sophomore in 2009, he played on the Wolves team that made it to the Division 1 final four. On the basketball court, Deli is the school's starting floor general. This past winter he helped lead C-Town to a league and district title.
Zach Attacks
Playing alongside Dellinger on the gridiron next fall will be his classmate Zach Collins, the Wolfpack's starting middle linebacker since he was a freshman. Collins might not be getting as many D1 looks as some of the other prep football stars in the county's Class of 2012, but make no mistake this kid is a STRAIGHT MONSTER and deserves big-college attention. Last season as a junior, Collins was the quarterback of the C-Town's defense, making 90 tackles and looking darned ferocious while doing it. When you add in the likes of fellow returning Wolves Joey Goss (RB), Evan Montgomery (FB-LB), Nick Demattia (QB), Mitch Baenzinger (QB/LB/WR/TE), Clarkston could easily wind up being the TOUGHEST and SCRAPPIEST team in the county come this fall.
A Tale of Two Nicks
C-Town hoopsters Nick Tatu (JR) and Nick Owens (FR) have been KILLING IT on the AAU circuit this offseason so far. Tatu is the Wolfpack's resident long distance marksmen and has been a two-year starter on the school's varsity squad. He is one of the best shooters in the county and this past season expanded his game to include a much better drive to the basket and a nice mid-range off-the-dribble pull-up 'J'. This spring he's up to his old tricks and he's bombing away at a prolific clip.
Owens is one of Clarkston's hottest up and comers and is expected to see significant minutes up with Tatu on the varsity next winter. At a recent AAU tourney, he was named MVP, lighting the scoreboard up like a pinball machine.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Super Mario

Brand new UofM football coach Brady Hoke has attacked the local recruiting scene with reckless abandon since taking the job a few months back, specifically zeroing in on the vast talent pool in Oakland County. On Sunday night, Farmington Hills Harrison DE Mario Ojemudia, a 4-star recruit in the Class of 2012 who helped lead the Hawks to a state title last fall, committed to the Wolverines becoming the third highly-coveted player from the area to choose Hoke and the maze and blue in as many weeks.
Ojemudia (6-3, 235) is a pass rush specialist with a natural instinct and picture-perfect technique. As a junior last season he collected 12 QB sacks and 130 tackles while displaying his top-flight brand of speed and aggressiveness on the end of the Harrison defensive line. Along with elite WR recruit Aaron Burbridge and all-state TE Devin Funchess, Ojedmudia will headline a Hawks squad that will be nationally ranked come August and a runaway favorite to repeat as D2 state champs.

When watching game film of Harrison in 2010, SUPER MARIO practically jumps off the screen, that's how dynamic this kid is!!!! He joins Funchess and Orchard Lake St. Mary's James Ross (2-time all-state LB and the most highly sought after defensive recruit in the Michigan prep ranks) as recent committments to the Wolverine family.
Quick Memo to Coach D'antonio and his staff in the EL.....U GUYS ARE GETTING RUN in the in-state recruiting game....GET IT TOGETHER or risk becoming 'Little Brother' once again by 2013. U NEED BURBRIDGE to save your next recruiting class

Monday, May 9, 2011

Burney's Baseball Rankings - May Flowers

OC TOP 10 - Prep Baseball Teams
1 Birmingham Brother Rice – Warriors skipper Bob Riker took some flak for the way he comprised his diamond squad, but his managerial wizardry has proved the difference this season and could wind up bringing a second consecutive CHSL title come later this month
2 (tie) MH Lamphere – RAM TOUGH!!!!.....Jake Baldwin is a horse from the rubber
2 (tie) MH Bishop Foley – You can't stop Danny "Zoom Zoom" Zuchowski, you can only hope to contain him!!
3 Clarkston – C-Town ace MATT RODGERS is a BOSS and a HOSS from the bump…..& w/all due to respect to Dan Fife, in Burney's opinion Rodgers should have gotten more clock on the hardwood this past winter…..the kid can drain 'em from I-75, as demonstrated in the 2010 district title tilt with Lake Orion when he banged home 5 critical trifectas
4 Lake Orion – Brett Wyss is very underrated in the Dragons' lineup
5 WL Central – Great to see 'Jolting Joe Harris back on the prowl for coach Roffi & company
6 Troy Athens – The Red Hawks are RED HOT!!!...I wish Jake Duzey would have come out for the squad this spring because he can hit the baseball just as well as he can catch the football and rebound the basketball
7 (tie)  Novi Detroit CC – Shamrocks hurler Bob Greene lives up to his name 'cause he's just SO MONEY!!
7 (tie)  Birmingham DCD – With the likes of Robert Kuhn, Gianmarco Rea and Mike Azzopardi, the Yellowjackets could have the best trio of sophomores in the area
8 Stoney Creek – My main man Jake Miller has been living at the corner of AWESOME & AMAZING lately and Burney doesn't think he'll be packing up and leaving anytime soon
9 BH Andover – Marlon Pruitt and Gabe Berman is one fearsome 1-2 punch on the mound for skipper Mike Boyd and the Barons this season
10 (tie) Birmingham Seaholm – Bobby Willen is LIGHTS OUT as the Maples closer
10 (tie) Birmingham Groves – Groves looked GRRRRRRRRRRREAT on Saturday

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Heading South

Southfield basketball star Patrick Onwenu capped an outstanding two-year run as one of the best prep big men in the state on Friday afternoon by finding his home at the next level and committing to play his college ball at Texas Southern.
Averaging 18 points, 9.5 rebounds and four blocks per game this past winter as a senior, Onwenu had numerous other Division I hoop programs in hot pursuit of his varied talents on the hardwood. He chose Texas Southern over offers from Ball State, Duquesne and Creighton.
Agile, athletic and aggressive, the 6-foot-7 Onwenu helped spearhead Southfield to back-to-back appearances in the Class A final four in 2010 and 2011. Although only the size of a college forward, his wingspan and vertical jump give him the ability to compete in the post at the next level as well. Throughout the last two prep basketball campaigns, Owenu's rim-rocking slam dunks have become highly anticipated and much ballyhooed parts of watching the Bluejays throw down on the court.
As a result of relentless hard work in the gym the past year honing his skills, his game now extends beyond the paint. Back in February, he sank a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat arch rival Southfield-Lathrup in front of a raucous Bluejays home crowd.
Texas Southern competes in the Southwest Athletic Conference. Last season, the Tigers were 19-13 overall, 16-2 in league play. Their post season run ended in a loss to Colorado in the NIT. The Tigers currently have two other players on their roster that prepped in the state of Michigan.
Don't be surprised if TSU head coach Tony Harvey, a native Michigander and former assistant coach at Eastern Michigan back in the 1990s, continues to beat a recruiting path through the local prep ranksRumors abound Harvey and his staff are also after Auburn Hills Avondale star guard Ray Tillman, one of Oakland County's leading scorers in 2011, pumping in an average of 25 points per night while leading the Yellowjackets to a share of the OAA White title .

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Forever Young

If bad sometimes means good than Troy sophomore hoop hound James Young could be the BADDEST man in the county. Young, a 6-foot-5 wing forward and one of the state's most dynamic up-and-coming basketball prospects, straight up dominated at a recent AAU tournament down in Dallas.
Not only did he lead his Team Detroit 16-U squad to a spot in the tourney's final four – and in the process earned a qualification in the prestigious Peach Jam in Atlanta this summer – he did so by darn near setting the gym on fire.
Against a team from Memphis in the quarterfinals, Young (aka 'THE CHOSEN ONE') pumped in a 40-spot. His versatility and coachability set this spry Colt swingman apart from many others top flight recruits in the Class of 2013. This past winter he averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals per contest in leading Troy to a share of the OAA White league title. Before bowing in the districts, he went for a career-high 35 points in the Colts state tournament win over crosstown adversary Troy Athens.
Along with his best friend and fellow Colt hardwood stud Evan Mahone (15 points, four assists and four steals an outing in 2011), Young will headline a Troy squad in 2012 that should be one of the best in Metro Detroit. Longtime Troy head coach Gary Fralick thinks Young could end up being the best basketball player in school history when it's all said and done on his prep career two years from now.
The Chosen One is currently getting sniffs from several major college hoops programs and the heat surrounding his recruiting will only intensify as he enters the prime of his days as a high schooler in the coming months. According to an interview with Young back in January, his favorite college team is Michigan State and he would love the chance to play for Coach Izzo and the Spartans in the future.
*Thanks to my man T.J. for filling me in on parts of this story

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bright Future

I got the chance to get out and see the Bloomfield Hills Andover baseball team the other day and was really blown away with what I saw. These Barons are young, relentless and just PLAIN GOOD. Watching this Andover group shred on the diamond elicits memories of the Barons squads of the early 2000s that made back-to-back long runs in the state tournament.
After witnessing Andover pull off a heart-pounding 6-5 come from behind win over crosstown rival Bloomfield Hills Lahser on Monday, courtesy of a game-winning two-out RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning by junior Zach Wolfe, Burney is overwhelmingly convinced that the future is paved with gold for the Barons baseball brigade.
This current crop of Andover ballers only has one senior in the entire bunch (Ronnie Roseman). The bulk of the squad is sophomore and junior dominated. At the top of the heap for the Barons is junior Gabe Berman, a Division 1 recruit, who will kill you both from the mound and the plate. I call Berman 'Gabe the Babe', 'cause this kid is THE REAL DEAL!
Fellow standout juniors Wolfe, Emerson Misch and Tim Zobl compliment Berman well, as do a sterling sophomore class headlined by starting pitcher Marlon Pruitt, Harry Singer and Mike McGovern. Peppered into the mix and making the future even brighter is the presence of two freshmen on the roster (Todd Weiss and Preston Smith).
Singer went 2 for 4 with two RBI against Lahser and Pruitt started on the rubber, going 5 1/3 and not allowing a single earned run. Pruitt and Berman (credited with the 'W' in relief vs. Lahser) make up a formidable one-two punch of arms, possibly the best pitching combo in their league.
Following its spine-tingling victory on Monday, Andover is 8-6, 4-1 in the OAA White. The win also vanquishes a brief four-game losing streak for the Barons after a hot start had placed their record at 7-2 out of the gate.
Head coach Mike Boyd and assistant Frank De Vito are doing a magnificent job molding this stable of primed thoroughbreds into a fine-tuned diamond-cutting machine. I can't wait to see how this team progresses over the next few weeks and the next few years for that matter. There's no doubt in my mind, the results will be just as exciting as what I saw Monday.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bonus Bytes - FYI

Congrats to Clarkston hoops stud Marcus Hardy for signing a National Letter of Intent to play his college ball at Palm Beach Atlantic University down in Florida. Hardy was a two-year starter in the post for the Wolfpack, helping guide them to back-to-back league and district titles. His dad, Alan, played at the University of Michigan back in the 1970s.
Great to see Kyle MacKenzie back in action on the diamond over at Royal Oak, after playing the last two seasons in the CHSL at Birmingham Brother Rice. Even if it is for just one season, the Ravens are very lucky to get 'BIG MAC' in their lineup to augment an already steady stable of sluggers led by sophomore Sean Lau and junior Dominic Valente. Kyle's older brother, Pat 'The Bat' MacKenzie (CMU), was the starting shortstop on Brother Rice's 2008 state championship team.
With only one returning starter and a new coach, is there a bigger surprise in Oakland County this prep baseball season than the Birmingham Seaholm Maples? My boy John Glazier has been lights out from the mound, mowing opponents down like his name was Justin Verlander.
OL St. Mary's Justin Barrows showed he's going to be a force to be reckoned with next season for the Eaglets hoop squad, as the rangy and smooth 6-foot-7 swingman recently led his AAU team to a tourney title out in Grand Rapids. Barrows started this past winter on a St. Mary's team that won district and regional crowns before bowing in the Elite Eight
Speaking of breakout performances on the AAU hoops circuit this spring, Royal Oak's Martell Porter has been impressive as well, getting his on-court groove on with the Detroit Prospectors. Porter, a 6-foot-4 forward, was one of the stars of the Ravens surprisingly solid varsity cage crew in 2011.
Novi girls soccer goalie Gabby Gauruder has officially reached SWAGGER LEVEL ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION. This girls racks up shutouts at one of the most prodigious clips I've ever seen. MSU is lucky to get her services in net next year