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Hitters finals journey ends in regional playoffs



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Justin Baetz anticipates the pitch. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
June 15, 2011 - The Wolves walked away proud after the early end to the baseball season to Hartland in the MHSAA Regional playoffs.

"Our kids played hard," said Clarkston Boys Varsity Baseball Head Coach Phil Price.

"They did things the right way. It is those things that makes it easier to live with. We aren't second guessing ourselves. We aren't blaming a bad call. It wasn't walking a few kids or catches mid-air or they didn't compete or they didn't show up. It was not the case. The players can look themselves in the mirror and they did everything they could and there is nothing they should be ashamed of."

The Wolves began the first round of playoffs against Utica Eisenhower where senior Matt Rodgers led off with a two-run homer in the first inning. They finished the game with a 6-2 win.

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Rodgers hit 2-for3 and had three RBIs and was also the winning pitcher, throwing for all seven innings and had no walks and six strikeouts.

Junior Dylan Peck hit 2-for-4 and senior Justin Baetz hit 2-for-3.

"We played really good baseball," said Price. "Matt pitched and played really outstanding. I was really proud of the kids."

Clarkston headed off against Hartland in the next round for the MHSAA Regional crown and lost, 3-1.

"Nothing was different," Price said about the boys' performance. "We played very well. We hit the ball hard. It was just a good clean baseball game we just didn't come out on top. "

Junior Jake Forsten hit 1-for-3 and hit a double and senior Chase Toth hit 1-for-3 and had an RBI.

Toth's single hit in the second inning brought Forsten in for the lone run in the game.

The Eagles scored three runs on four singles on the top of the third inning and the game remained at 3-1 for the rest of the game..

"They got a couple hits in a roll and neither team got more than one hit," said Price.

Seniors Andrew Fairse and Vince Siwicki shared the pitching role for the game. Fairse pitched for five innings and had two strikeouts. Siwicki had one strikeout.

"Fairse and Siwicki were outstanding," said Price. "Defensively we were very good and hitting we were very good. It just didn't fall our way."

The team finished with a overall record 23-8. They lose 12 players from their roster and seven of their starters for next spring's season - Justin Baetz, Brian Burger, Andrew Fairse, Jassiel Gonzalez, Weston Lee, Connor Morris, Matt Rodgers, Nathan Shamoun, Jake Sims, Vince Siwicki, Jared Sperry and Chase Toth.

"Our seniors have been phenomenal and they have led us on the right path," said Price. "The legacy they have left is they have Clarkston baseball playing the right way again. They play hard and they did things the right way."

Returners for next year include sophomores Adam Johns, Ryan Slaughter and Nick Mazzone; juniors Brendon Ayers, Alex Barta, Chris Dickey, Jake Forsten, Dylan Peck and Blake Schultz.

"We are definitely going to rebuild," said Price.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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