By Hank Minckiewicz
Unlike many teams, the Roosevelt baseball team team has gotten on the field plenty of times this early season. The Bears played 10 games in the first two weeks of the year and divided them evenly, winning five and losing five.
More importantly, the Bears won their first two Downriver League games of the season, beating Allen Park 7-3 and Taylor 3-2.
Coach Brian Cotner said the league appears strong this year, so getting any victories is crucial.
“The league is tough,” he said. “There are no throw-off games. Allen Park and Taylor are both good teams.”
Against Allen Park in the league opener, Wyandotte jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Allen Park wrecked the shutout with three runs in the seventh inning.
Ace Bears pitcher Donovan Canterberry went the first six innings, allowing five hits, no runs and no walks. He had 10 strikeouts before he was lifted.
“Donovan pitched great,” said Cotner. “Like always, we have a great chance to win when he pitches. We only took him out because his pitch count was getting up.”
Canterberry helped his own cause with two hits and three RBI. Ryan Meade also had a pair of hits.
“We played a really good ball game,” said Cotner.
The win over Taylor was a thriller as the Bears scored a run in the top of the seventh and then held off the home team in the bottom of the inning.
Manny Gutierrez singled in the game-winning run in the seventh after Brayden Calhoun had singled in the tying run in the fifth.
Lefty Gutierrez started the game for the Bears and lasted five innings. He gave up two runs and struck out six. Tristan Mathis earned the win with two innings of hitless, scoreless relief.
Gutierrez and Keegan Rose each had two hits to lead a nine-hit Wyandotte attack.
In non-league games this year, Roosevelt has beaten Flat Rock (twice) and Riverview and fallen to Richmond (twice), Blissfield, Canton and Rochester Stoney Creek.
“The season has been tough because it has been hard to get any kind of rhythm,” said Cotner. “Every week it seems like there is a new obstacle.”
Cotner said he is pleased so far with the way the Bears have responded to the new rules and new challenges.
“The kids are working hard and in general doing the right things when it comes to distancing. We’ve had a few guys out because of contact tracing, but, in general, we’ve been healthy.”
On the field, Cotner said Canterberry and Mathis have looked good on the mound and his hitters have had a nice approach at the plate.
He singled out Dominic Nael and Tyler Kurdi for their play so far this season.
The Bears played Trenton, Anderson and Edsel Ford last week and have 17 games left after that until the state tournament begins June 1.
The Bears will begin Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason play at a Division 1 district tournament hosted by Lincoln Park.
Also at the district at the host Railspliters, Allen Park, River Rouge and Southgate Anderson.