Blogs > Kosmo Seer Speculation

High school sports quick hits from Kosmo the all-knowing Oakland Press seer.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Stunning news about Butcher

Usually this time of the year Kosmo likes to talk about the sports that are taking place, but there was a surprising bit of news that Kosmo couldn't ignore. After many years as head boys basketball coach at Walled Lake Central, Denny Butcher decided to leave the program last week so he could take the job at Hartland. In Kosmo's eyes, Butcher is one of the area's most underrated coaches and a terrific gentleman, so it's sad he'll be leaving the county. What seems odd is the timing of this and the fact that Hartland doesn't seem to be a major step up. That's not bashing Hartland since it's a solid program, but so is Central. This wasn't a move to a major powerhouse like Saginaw or something like that. Kosmo often doesn't know what goes on behind the scenes, and clearly there were some behind-the-scenes issue here that led to Butcher's migration to Hartland. While the timing and circumstances seem strange on the outside, Kosmo does wish Butcher the best of luck since he's both a good coach and man. - Just like last year, Birmingham Brother Rice's baseball team is off to a scorching start, so much so that the Warriors have shot up to the top of the Division 1 state rankings. Hopefully though Brother Rice has learned a lesson from last year when it also got off to a great start and didn't play as well down the stretch. That should be something the returning players should keep in mind as we enter May.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Surging Adams

The girls soccer team at Rochester Adams has been as talented as any in the state the past two years, but the Highlanders have been somewhat of a bride's maid to Novi and Troy. Adams lost in the state semifinals two years ago to Novi with a sophomore-dominated roster, but had a more disappointing finish last season, getting blown out by Troy in a regional semifinal at Lake Orion. Then, Adams had to watch as Troy and Novi squared off for the Division 1 state title last June. So far this year though, Adams is making it known that it might be ready to take the crown as state's best from Novi. The Highlanders are off to a 7-0 start, and most notably recorded a 4-1 beatdown at Troy last Friday. That had to have been a significant win for Adams, which wasn't able to get by Troy last year and saw the Colts get a lot of attention in the national rankings. Granted, Adams still has to prove it can show the same mental toughness in the state tournament, where Troy and Novi seem to really excel. But Kosmo thinks this group of talented Highlanders could easily be up to the task and make a deep run. - Add Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart to the list of tennis powers in the Birmingham/Bloomfield Hills area. After finishing as the state runner-up last season in Division 4, the Gazelles are unbeaten this year and ranked No. 1 in the state. There always have been county powers in Division 1, 2 and 3, but Sacred Heart is ensuring that there's another this year in Division 4.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wonderful sight atop OAA White soccer standings

Tuesday featured a big game in the OAA White soccer title chase, as Royal Oak and Berkley played to a 2-2 tie. Both teams are still tied atop the league standings, and upon further glancing at these teams, it's heartwarming to see them having the success that they are. Rather quietly, Berkley has become of the more consistent and underrated programs in a county full of powerhouses such as the Troy schools, the Rochester schools, Novi and Country Day. The Bears have been in the hunt for league titles the past two years and were thought to be headed towards a down year with a lot of key players graduating last year. Not only that, but their head coach, Cliff Brandmier, left to take the Rochester job in the offseason. But head coach Alan Zakaria and the rest of his players have kept the train rolling this year and deserve a ton of credit. The same goes for Royal Oak and head coach Kevin Robb. Kosmo admits he's surprised Royal Oak didn't become more of a powerhouse in girls soccer when Kimball and Dondero merged, given Kimball and Dondero were both consistently good as separate schools. No, matter, the Ravens have so far put it together this year and are legitimate top-10 team in the county. With much of the attention always on schools in northern Oakland County or the west side in Novi, it's great to see such outstanding teams in the southern part this year with Royal Oak and Berkley battling it out for OAA supremacy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Last season was a disappointing one for the Auburn Hills Avondale baseball team, a squad that at the time was dominated by juniors who made solid sophomore seasons in 2010. The Yellow Jackets took a small step backwards last year, but up to this point in the season they've sure rectified that in a big way. Senior-dominated Avondale has put it all together lately, getting off to a 10-3-1 start and sweeping one of the county's top teams, Stoney Creek, in a doubleheader on Saturday. Granted, outcomes of non-league doubleheaders on a Saturday should be treated with some caution. Those are the types of twinbills where teams are more concerned about developing younger players and messing around with lineups a little more. League games are obviously taken a lot more seriously. Still, Avondale had a good league win over Bloomfield Hills Andover a couple of weeks ago and still should be credited for its play against Stoney Creek. So far, it looks like Avondale is living up to what a team with three and four-year starters should be like. - Kosmo has to give major props out to Walled Lake Central junior Cullen Prena. A discus thrower on the track team, Prena set a school record in Central's first meet and then bettered that by launching a county record throw last week of 184-4. To see a video of the throw, click here What's next, a state record throw? Kosmo certainly wouldn't put it past someone like Prena given the tear he's on right now.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Big April showdown at Lake Orion

Friday will be a big afternoon, as arguably the first HUGE baseball game of the regular season will take place at Lake Orion. Hopefully Mother Nature will hold off on any rain because this will be a battle between two of the area's best and two state title contenders when Stoney Creek meets Lake Orion.
There aren't many weaknesses on either team. Each has deep pitching staffs, hit the ball for both average and power and win in multiple ways, as both have shown this year in getting off to tremendous starts.
The teams will also play a doubleheader at Stoney Creek in May, so it won't be the first time they hook up. But for one Friday afternoon in April, this will be as good as it gets.
- Troy softball didn't have a good showing on Wednesday, getting swept in a doubleheader at Clarkston. However, Kosmo has no doubt that the Colts will be one of the premier teams in the area as the season goes on. The offense is too good and head coach Tom Calnen usually has his team playing its best ball at the end off the year, so never count out the Colts despite what could be a bad day or two in the regular season.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sad demise of Pontiac track

If Kosmo had a time machine, one thing he'd do would be to go back in time to a spring sometime in the 1990's just to see an old track meet involving Pontiac Northern or Pontiac Central.
Talk about your poetry in motion on the track.
There certainly weren't more fun and faster runners to watch than at the Pontiac schools during that time period, as both Northern and Central had the ability to turn high school meets into a version of the Olympic trials with how they ran and jumped.
It peaked in 1997, when Northern and Central finished 1-2 at the Class A state finals, and it seemed like there was no way the good times would end with how many speedsters and jumpers the city churned out.
Sadly, it appears they have.
With one combined school now, Pontiac is the fourth division of the OAA and its glory days appear to indeed be a thing of the past, which breaks the heart of Kosmo like you wouldn't believe.
Of course, the current kids and coaches are running and coaching their hearts out and giving it all they've got.
But whether it's because of families moving out of the district, the fact there's less opportunities to play sports with the closing of so many community centers and summer sports programs, or the fact so many legendary coaching figures in the community have retired, there just isn't the talent now there used to be.
Please, someone build Kosmo that time machine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pulling for Coach Brown

As heartwarming as it was to see Southfield Christian's boys basketball team win a Class D state title, it wouldn't be as touching as if the Eagles won it all in softball in a couple of months.
The reason is that longtime head coach Ken Brown is retiring after 30 seasons following this year, and Kosmo would like nothing better than to see such a quality coach and man go out on top.
The Eagles have been to the state quarterfinals five teams under Brown, but have yet to get to the state's final four under him.
Southfield Christian has a talented team back, especially on offense, so it's not out of the realm they can get Coach Brown to Battle Creek come June.
That is nice storyline to watch all spring, and Kosmo is certainly rooting for it to happen.
- Wednesday should be another big day of softball doubleheaders in the OAA, and two of the county's best coaches and teams will go head-to-head when Troy plays at
Clarkston. If there are two better coaches in the state than Tom Calnen and Don Peters, Kosmo doesn't know who they are.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Benefits of new bats

The high school baseball season is only a couple of weeks old, so it still is going to take some time before the effects of the new bat restrictions really come to the forefront.
For those who don't know, bats have been regulated to where the sweet spot has been shortened and they are as close to wood bats as can be for an aluminum bat.
In Kosmo's eyes, this should make the game a lot more exciting.
It'll force kids to better learn fundamentals such as hitting behind a runner and having more situational approaches at the plate rather than just trying to swing for the fences all the time.
Worrying more about hitting line drives should only make hitters better.
Kids will better focus on manufacturing runs through hit and run plays or better baserunning, and they'll also really get the message now of how important defense is.
Not that they didn't know already, but this will really hammer that point home.
It'll also force coaches to become more creative on how they can put pressure on defenses, so the chess matches between coaches should be a lot better.
Yes, sometimes it might not be as exciting seeing so many home runs go over the fence, but it will also make the games better.
- There's also an argument that since bats have been regulated to the point where they are close to wood, that wood bats should just be adopted in general.
Kosmo disagrees. It would be too expensive on athletic departments and kids to replace the bats when they break, unless a bat company would offer a major discount (unlikely). Having durable aluminum bats that are close to wood bats is the best thing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Impenetrable Troy defense

Kosmo doesn't know what the over-under this season would be on the goals scored on the Troy girls soccer team, but your seer is one who wouldn't be taking the over, no matter how low it would be (OK, maybe if it was zero Kosmo might think about it).
The Colts recorded yet another shutout on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Rochester, and it'll probably be news when opponents do actually score on the Colts.
Not only is there a terrific defense in place led by senior Rachel Shamoun and junior Jamie Hawkey, but the Colts also have one of the state's top goalies, junior Allison Holland.
A lot of attention is rightfully placed on the fact the Colts have maybe the state's top forward in Irene Young, who is going to Louisville.
But the big reason why Troy is ranked No. 3 in the nation according to one poll is that it is nearly impossible to score against.
Good luck, opposing offenses. You're going to need it.
- If Kosmo were Milford junior baseball player Derek Boslock, he would quit right now. Just kidding, but it certainly is going to be hard top what he did in his first varsity game on Thursday. Boslock threw a perfect game against Ann Arbor Huron in what couldn't have been a better debut.
It's likely all downhill from here since it can't get any better than that, so maybe he should quit baseball now.
Again, just kidding. Seriously, that is an unbelievable feat and Kosmo hopes there are more terrific performances in store this year and beyond for Mr. Boslock.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doubleheader doubts

With spring sports in full gear, it is the time of year for doubleheaders, something more and more schools have gone to for baseball and softball games in recent years.
While the Catholic League has always had doubleheaders under three-ball, two-strike rules, the OAA in softball went to doubleheaders three years ago and will go to doubleheaders in baseball this year in the second cycle of the league schedule.
The KLAA also has doubleheaders on the second cycle.
Kosmo wishes they would've stuck with single games.
Yes, there are some pros to playing weekday doubleheaders, such as fuel costs for buses, travel time, having to only get the kids out to play games on weekday of the week and the fact it's easier to get umpires for two games rather than one.
But there are some cons as well. For one, Catholic League teams are usually able to get their doubleheaders in because of the three-ball, two-strike rules, unlike the OAA and KLAA, which play traditional rules.
That means rarely do teams actually get the doubleheader games in before darkness sets in, even when the sun sets later in May.
Often, games don't start until 4 or 4:30 anyway, which makes it difficult to get two games in.
When that happens, teams have to come back and resume those games the next time they play, which makes it harder to get those other scheduled games in when they have to resume a previous game beforehand.
Teams should probably start playing doubleheaders at 3:30, but often can't get out of school in time.
Late doubleheaders also makes it more difficult for kids to do homework that night given they might not get home until 9:30 or 10 from a doubleheader that goes to the brink of darkness.
Everything becomes even more problematic when there's rain that postpones the two games and they have to find a makeup date that creates the frenetic, play-games-each day-schedules that doubleheaders are designed to avoid.
From a media perspective, it makes it harder to get scores online that night or in the paper the next day when coaches can't call in scores until 10 or 10:30 because everything ended so late.
Kosmo understands the rationale behind doubleheaders, especially considering the horrible spring weather we had last year. But there are too many downsides.
As far as your seer goes, it's better to play more league doubleheaders on Saturdays instead of tournaments or non-league doubleheaders, and leave the weekdays for single games.
Heck, even play doubleheaders on Sunday. Catholic League schools can clear it with the MHSAA, so why not other schools?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Springing into action

Kosmo extends his deepest apologies to everyone out there, but the K-Man went on a little spring break of his own last week.
He knows many high school kids did the same and hope they came back as tan as your seer did.
Anyway, it's time to get back to the blogosphere and time to officially kick off spring sports.
Sure, they technically started a few weeks ago, but this is the week where everyone in full gets going for what should be a jam-packed month of action.
Enjoy it everyone. It's a great time of year and Kosmo will be happy to be back on this blogosphere plenty.
- Madison Heights Bishop Foley's baseball team may have gradated a ton of seniors last year, but the Ventures have already showed that they'll be one of the state's top teams, especially in Division 3.
Bishop Foley beat Lake Orion last week and almost beat the Dragons again on Saturday in the final of the Oakland County spring break tournament before falling to Lake Orion, 8-7.
Still, it showed Bishop Foley can still compete with anybody despite all it lost.