This past Friday, the St. Clair County Community College baseball team packed their mitts and bats, tossed on their caps and ditched the friendly confines of campus for the fresh, smooth, green grass of the “Volunteer State.”
Led by new Head Coach Mike Greene, SC4’s boys of summer have hit the road for an 11 game spring trip throughout Tennessee to kick of the 2012 season.
“I’m excited for down south,” said Greene.
He expects to return from the trip with a record of 8-3, and possibly even 9-2.
The Seattle, Washington, native replaces former coach Dennis Dwyer, hoping to bring an end to the coaching carousel that ensued in recent years after the departure of long time head coach, Rick Smith.
Along with Assistant Coach Andrew Buelow, the anxious Greene hopes to bring stability to the program and improve upon the dismal record of 39-101 that reflected the previous three seasons.
“I wanna be here for a while and more,” said Greene, who also believes the team will be competing this season for a Michigan Community College Athletic Association championship.
Hoping to advance to the NJCAA Region 12 Playoffs, in Battle Creek, Greene leads the well- balanced 25 man roster into the season, intending to build upon an impressive fall campaign. He plans to take advantage of being overlooked by the other teams in the conference. With a favorable non-league schedule, the Skippers look to get off on a very hot start.
After receiving the job late, Greene was forced to leave the state to recruit.
“We had to recruit from outside of the state because I got the job after all the Michigan kids had already signed,” Greene said. The team consists of four players from Seattle, one from Mississippi and one from Texas.
The pitching staff is led by left handed ace, Tim O’Callaghan. The imposing, 21 year-old sophomore leads a tall group of pitchers that throw in the mid 80’s range. Greene is very high on the staff and expects it will catch a lot of teams by surprise.
There are also high hopes for O’Callaghan. The lefty is expected to win, and eventually transfer to play at a four year college.
“He’s a lefty with upgrade…..awesome curveball. He’s gonna go somewhere,” said Greene.
First Baseman Donavon Rigel returns to lead a young but talented Skippers infield. The former Auburn Hills Avondale stand-out provides excellent leadership, as well as ability.
The Skippers possess a speedy outfield that will make it tough on opponents looking for hits. The squad is centered by sophomore Charles Melvin from Redford, Michigan. He is a speedy leadoff hitter who can hit and bunt, and hopes to be SC4’s offensive catalyst.
Mickal Helton, a pitcher from Tacoma, Washington, enjoys playing for Greene despite the cold Michigan weather. He is enthusiastic for the opportunity and is excited to be part of the SC4 team.
“We have alotta guys from outta state. We’ve become close and are all really good friends, great teammates and just can’t wait to play ball,” said Helton.
The Skippers home opener is scheduled for March 3 at 2 p.m., against Grand Valley State Club. The game will be played at Sanborn Park.