Titans scrambling just to get key players on the field

With a makeshift lineup on the field, Anderson opened the season with a 7-1 loss to Trenton. Photo by Larry Caruso

BY HANK MINCKIEWICZ

The 2021 baseball season has started, but the Southgate Anderson Titans are nowhere near ready to even guess how things will turnout this season.

Yes, the team lost it’s first three games, but in the opener, not a single player on the field had even played an inning of varsity baseball.

In the next game, neither the shortstop nor the third baseman had played those positions at any level.

“I am still optimistic about our team,” said coach Mark Davis, “But so far, it has been one thing after the other. We had 4-5 guys miss tryouts because they were playing other sports, then came spring break, then we had COVID quarantine, then some kids got COVID, not we’ve got some guys injured and sick.”

In the opener, Anderson had six starters out of the lineup and played four freshmen or sophomores, then the Titans lost their starting centerfielder for an unknown amount of time with a sprained ankle and finally they lost a starting pitcher on game day when he got sick, spent the morning throwing up and was not better by game time.

To quote the coach: One thing after the other.

The Titans opened the season with losses to Downriver League rivals Trenton, Carlson and Lincoln Park and while the losses were disappointing, Davis saids he is looking at more than wins and losses in the early going. He is looking to get his everyday players in their proper positions and get the team ready for the state playoffs.

“We’re still optimistic that we can make a run in the state tournament,” Davis said.

The Titans will play in a five-team Division 1 district hosted by Lincoln Park to start the state tourney. The other teams are the host Railsplitters, Allen Park, River Rouge and Wyandotte Roosevelt.

The district tournament starts June 1, so there is not a great deal of time for teams to get their houses in order.

“We have a lot of guys stepping up and doing what we’ve asked them to do,” said Davis. “When we are all together and all healthy, I think we will be pretty good. I know we’ll have some really good pitching.”

At the top of the pitching list is one of two senior starters on the club, Spencer McMahan. McMahan, who had a fine winter season on a good Titan basketball team, is the team’s ace and likely the starting third baseman when he is not on the bump.

“Spencer has really looked good throwing the ball,” said Davis. “He’s a really good infielder, too.”

But he has not yet played.

“Our best pitcher has not yet set foot on the field  for a game this year,” admitted Davis.

The other senior, Jacob Kimes, is an outfielder and a pitcher. Davis called him a lockdown player in the first and a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Junior centerfielder Gavin White was off to a hot start at the plate this year before he sprained his ankle. Davis said he is unsure how bad the sprain is, but hopes to have White back soon

Another key player for the Titans is junior shortstop Ryan Kuzak.

“He’s looked really good,” said Davis. “It’s hard to get anything past him at short. He’s super fast and has a good arm.”

Since playing Trenton, Carlson and Lincoln Park to start the season, Anderson has faced Tayor and Wyandotte. There upcoming game include home games against Allen Park (April 26) and Woodhaven (April 29) and a road game against Dearborn Edsel Ford (April 28).

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