Senior Bruz Copping warming up his arm for Alpena's first outdoor practice of 2018. (Mike Jakucionis)
Alpena, Mich. — Winter is finally gone and spring is here, but the snow hasn’t completely left Alpena just yet. It’s still very visible on the sides of roads and on practice fields.
The snow has kept Alpena’s baseball team indoors for the past few weeks. While inside, the Wildcats have been spending time in batting cages and working on their fundamentals.
Even with snow still surrounding the dugouts, the Wildcats got to practice outside Monday. The focus was once again on fundamentals and basic skills and the boys had a lot of good energy during practice.
The Wildcats believe they can take their conference this season and have the experience to do it. They collectively felt that last season was disappointing and that the team didn’t play to its potential. There are 11 seniors on the team this season, some of whom helped win a district title 2 years ago.
Alpena opens its season on the road against Midland Dow on April 5th. They’ll stay on the road until April 25th when they host Sault Ste. Marie.
Players to watch
Bruz Copping: Senior Infielder and Pitcher
Copping will be anchor on the left side of the infield if he’s not pitching. In addition to having a strong arm, Copping also has one of the quickest releases on the team. Expect him to hit for average and add some power to the lineup.
Chris DeRocher: Senior 1st Basemen
DeRocher’s height and ability to stretch out for throws may be the difference between a few “safe” and “out” calls this season. His frame also makes him the Wildcats’ best source for power.
Colin Donajkowski: Senior Catcher
Donajkowski is quick behind the plate and has great range on defense. We didn’t get to measure his pop time, but his coaches say he can make the throw from the plate to second base in less than 2 seconds.
Aiden Goike: Senior Outfielder
Every team needs a leader and personality. Goike will be both of those for the Wildcats and a steady presence in the outfield. Expect him to hit for contact and average near the top of the order.
Keegan Spomer: Junior Infielder and Pitcher
Spomer got a lot of attention when he participated in the Disney New Year’s Classic this past winter. He threw four shutout innings in his lone start, and struck out 11 over 12 innings during the showcase. Spomer has the potential to turn heads whenever he’s on the mound and should be one of Alpena’s top players this season.