Madison’s starting pitching has team poised for MHSAA baseball run

ADRIAN — Last season, the Madison baseball team caught Blissfield by surprise.

Sitting a little under .500 for the season against the Lenawee County Athletic Association champs, one of the best teams in the state coached by the MHSAA’s winningest coach in Larry Tuttle, the Trojans were supposed to be the first step in a long run for the royals

They were, as Blissfield went on to win the district title and fell in the regional final to eventual state champions, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, 2-0.

But the first step for the Royals proved to be much larger than anticipated as Madison fell 12-9.

“I don’t think anyone thought we were going to compete with Blissfield,” said Trojans’ head coach Chris Dubbs. “We had the game-tying run caught at the fence for the last out. Any time you take a team for granted in baseball … the baseball gods will bite you in the rear.”

This season, nobody is going to look past the Trojans.

At 15-13, Madison has one of the best 1-2 punches on the mound in the county with Miles Frank and Walker Claiborne.

Both have an ERA well under 2.00, which gives the Trojans a chance to win every time they’re on the hill.

“Both them, for the most part throughout the season, have worked to pitch to contact,” Dubbs said. “Miles went from April 20 against Whiteford … and he didn’t walk anybody until his complete game against Jonesville (May 21). He went 121 batters, 32 innings, without any walks.

“In 56 innings (Frank) has 82 strikeouts and has only walked nine. Walker is at 55 innings and has only walked 18. I changed some of their routines a little bit in the offseason and worked on location, location, location. That seems like it’s working because those are crazy numbers.”

Since being swept by Whiteford in April, the Trojans went 8-0 in Tri-County Conference play, placing them second in the league behind the Bobcats with a mark of 10-2.

In non-conference play, Madison tested himself against some strong teams like the LCAA front-runners, Onsted and Hudson and Adrian, which took third in the SEC White.

Those matchups, especially against the Wildcats who look to be the favorite in the Sand Creek district alongside the Aggies, Madison and Columbia Central, should have the Trojans prepared to make a push.

“We’ve got a shot,” Dubbs said. “It’s going to come down to if we can play defense and get some timely hits. The biggest thing is defense.”

The Trojans will take on Columbia Central in the second game of the district on Saturday, June 4, at Sand Creek.

They will know who is final when they take the field, but they also know they can’t look past the Golden Eagles if they want to get to the final of this year. Madison hasn’t been in a district final since it won a title in 2016.

“We have an opportunity,” Dubbs said. “If we walk in there thinking we’re going to walk all over Columbia Central, my guess is Columbia Central is going to play in the final.”

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