Written by Harrison Watt
A satisfying “PING!” of aluminum bat on baseball echoes in the empty stands of Comerica Park. Then 15 year old Hunter Green looks up and watches the rawhide sail over the left field fence. A blur of red and white shoots through the air, landing noisily in the Tigers bullpen. Moments later, another “PING!” rings out, as he watches the next ball sneak over the right field fence.
Green’s 340 foot missiles weren’t hit from the same side of the plate. Green, a switch hitting centerfielder, joins a young pool of talent on the Varsity Baseball team as he moves to the Birmingham area from Arizona. His batting practice session came with his father this past summer.
“I got a few good pitches and turned on them,” said Green. “It’s pretty cool to hit a bomb in a major league park.”
Green posted a video of his batting practice session to his personal facebook page.
Admittedly, Green does not have Miguel Cabrera size, nor does he have Prince Fielder power. He plays both catcher and centerfield and describes himself as a good gap-to-gap contact hitter with the occasional home run in his bat. Apart from this, his resume in baseball includes a spot on the Under Armour National team.
He has a Tim Tebow-like aura about him in that he is very religious both on the field and off. Green is an upbeat, inviting, and dedicated team member. When asked about his better qualities, his coaches and teammates emphasize and praise his dedication to the great American past-time.
“I just love the game,” said Green. “It’s a big part of who I am.”
“I hit a two-run walk-off homer this past summer in the top of the 7th inning,” said Green, “I can still remember it was raining when it happened, it was a cool moment.”
Under Armour’s National team website describes Green as a good contact hitter to all fields, with quick hands and a natural right handed swing. His swings from the right side of the plate are described mature for someone of his age. He provides some surprising pop from both sides of the plate for a kid of his stature, and his hand quickness is praised highly.
As a freshman, Josh Leitman made some noise last season with a 365 foot blast to center. He was he back-up catcher last season when he laid into a pitch and let it fly. Though he finished the season with that single home run, Leitman is now competing for the starting role behind the plate this spring where he could be catching on a daily basis, allowing his power numbers to blossom.
Leitman started the Maples’ first game of the season last year behind the plate at a tournament at Port Huron; he ended the game with a walk-off single.
The team’s pitching staff is in question after the loss of ace John Glazier for the season, and the best left handed pitcher for at least the first half, Scott Anderson. Both lost with torn labrums, and while Glazier is waiting to make a decision on surgery, Anderson’s is now surgically repaired, he could return as soon as the mid way point in the season as a reliever.
The team’s pitching staff is in question after the loss of ace John Glazier for the season, and the best left handed pitcher for at least the first half, Scott Anderson. Both lost with torn labrums, and while Glazier is waiting to make a decision on surgery, Anderson’s is now surgically repaired, he could return as soon as the mid way point in the season as a reliever. Despite the slew of off season losses, Leitman has a positive outlook on the season. To watch, type in, http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=251682371529107, in your search bar.
“I still think we can do well after seeing our pitchers at our inter-squad scrimmage,” said Leitman, “outside of [Connor] Bowers we don’t have many hard throwers, but they all showed good control. Offensively we have a good mix of power and contact hitter, with some pretty good speed on the base-paths.”
Another plus to the upcoming season is the return from injury of senior starting short stop Mike Doney, who is highly regarded by his teammates. Doney tore a muscle attached to his growth plate on his hip, causing a piece of the bone to tear off with the muscle.
“Doney looks really good,” said Leitman. “He brings some power to the plate and is a great leader as a senior.”
Doney shares his teammate’s optimism for the upcoming season despite all of the changes.
“I think we have plenty of talent,” said Doney. “But it’s really up to the pitching staff, myself included. We don’t have anyone that really stands out on paper in our line up yet, but we’re pretty solid from top to bottom in the batting order.”
Doney was cleared to resume play this past July, and since then hasn’t been bothered by pain or had any set-backs.
“He looks 100%,”said Head Coach Dan Drapal. “No lingering issues from the injury. He’ll pitch this year for us too, so we’ll see how that goes.”