2018 Milan baseball walk-up songs

Organized by player’s jersey number

Jaden Riling (No. 1/2) – “Next Episode” / Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg

Jake Isaacs (No. 3/45) – “Country Must Be Country Wide” / Brantley Gilbert

Gage Feeman (No. 4) – “Can’t Tell Me Nothin'” / Kanye West

Lucas Schrader (No. 6) – “Yeah!” / Usher

Brendan Bellore (No. 7) – “Toto” / Africa

Steven Lossing (No. 8) – “Carry On Wayward Son” / Kansas ; “Owner of a Lonely Heart / Yes

Riley Bergeron (No. 9) – “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” / Dr. Dre

Dylan Jones (No. 10) – “Fight for Your Right” / Beastie Boys

Hunter Osborne (No. 11) – “Plug Walk” / Rich the Kid

Justin Beck (No. 12) – “Jump Around” / House of Pain

Josiah Livingston (No. 13) – “Destiny” / NF

Dustin Dapprich (No. 14/28) –  “Say I Won’t” / Lecrae

Cam Straub (No. 15/30) – “Plain Jane” / A$AP Ferg

Zach Abbey (No. 20/21) – “Pick It Up” / Famous Dex

 

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Big Reds look for turnaround on baseball diamond in 2018

As the Michigan weather warms up, and a new baseball season is on the horizon, the players and coaches in the Milan Big Reds varsity program are starting to feel excited – not only for another spring to arrive, but for their chance to shine in the months ahead.

Amidst annual turnover on the roster ahead of the 2018 season, redemption, for some, is at the forefront of goals to accomplish.

Milan was 15-21 a season ago, and finished – uncharacteristically – in last place in the Huron League with a 3-11 record.

For head coach Adam Gilles, the all-time winningest coach in the program’s history, it was also a first – he’d never had a season where a team he led finished under .500.

“Honestly, (the win-loss record) wasn’t quite a depiction of how our season went,” Gilles said. “We lost a lot of one-run games. We were in every game.

“Even though we had a losing record last year, I still think we had a pretty good team. The (returning players) know that. We were pretty young last year, and they know what it takes to win.”

Milan graduated four players from last year’s team – Jared Grubke, Tyler Hall, Denver Jackson, and Chase Riling.

Riling led the Big Reds in the three major offensive categories – batting average, home runs and runs batted in – in 2017, hitting .394 with three long balls and 22 RBIs. Hall and Grubke were second and third in batting average, respectively, while being third and fifth in RBI totals. Jackson – who played occasionally – was known for his leadership role on the bench.

Milan also lost pitcher and utilityman Antonio Walker, who transferred to Lincoln for his senior year. Walker was the workhorse of the pitching staff in 2017, throwing the most innings (48 1/3) and leading the team in strikeouts (50). Offensively, he knocked in 15 runs, good for second on the squad.

Another new wrinkle lies with the coaching staff. Randy Smith, who had been a varsity assistant for five seasons, opted not to return for the 2018 campaign. Smith had been in a role equivalent to a Major League Baseball bench coach during his years with the Big Reds, volunteering to coach on his own time; unlike Gilles and assistant coach Vaughn Price, Smith does not work within the Milan school district.

“Randy gave an outsider’s perspective,” Gilles said. “The biggest thing was that he always ran the pre-game (routines) with the pitchers. Now, the pitchers will have to do that on their own.”

Gilles also noted that the change will have an effect in on-field decision making. “With two coaches (on the staff) … if we agree on things, we’ll do that,” he said. “If there’s three coaches, and one disagrees, we’ll talk about why.”

Even though there is no one currently filling the position, the team is actively searching for a volunteer to replace Smith. In the initial quest, Gilles looked at in-house options, such as junior varsity coaches Steven Price and Kyle Schrader, and Herb Morelock, a teacher at Milan High.

Morelock was a likely candidate, but will coach a newly-revitalized freshman team instead. The upcoming season is the first time since 2015 that Milan has had enough freshmen try out to field such a squad; in all, 27 ninth-graders signed up to play baseball, 16 of whom remain between the three clubs. Despite one-time consideration, Price and Schrader will be returning to their JV roles.

Even with the on-field shakeup at the varsity level, the head coach is optimistic in his returning players. “These guys got a lot of experience last year,” he said. “They’ve worked pretty hard on making sure (a disappointing season) doesn’t happen again.”

The 2018 roster features just 12 players, ten of whom played on varsity in 2017. Of the returning group, five are pitchers who combined to throw 148 of the 229 innings in the last campaign.

Given their lack of strength in roster size, injuries are a main concern, but there are a handful of players on junior varsity that could be called up if a need occurs. “It happens every year,” Gilles said, referring to the lineup changes over the course of a typical season. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a season where the lineup on day one is the same as a lineup in districts. You have different guys, you have injuries … it’s constantly evolving.”

As a whole, the team has depth at most positions, primarily in the middle-infield and outfield.

“We have seven guys in the program that I trust playing shortstop or second base,” Gilles said. “We have a lot of guys that can play in the outfield. We have a freshman that can play everywhere except for catcher and first base.”

Catching depth could be an Achilles heel for the varsity squad this year, as Josiah Livingston is the team’s only listed catcher on the roster. Possible backup options include Justin Beck and current JV players Dylan Jones and Ethan Hunt, though Gilles isn’t counting any other varsity players out as the No. 2 backstop. “Realistically, I could take any of these guys and throw them back there, and we’d be ok,” the head coach said.

Gilles expects the Big Reds to play better in the conference than last year’s subpar record showed, and pointed to traditional stalwarts SMCC and Carleton Airport as teams vying for a Huron League crown in 2018. “I see SMCC and Airport being pretty good, but every team has at least one stud pitcher,” he said. “We should be right in the mix.

“Last year, we only had three conference wins, but two of them came against Airport – who tied for the championship – and New Boston Huron, who came in second place. I think anybody can beat anybody, just like last year.”

Weather-permitting, the new season is set to start on Saturday, March 24, with a doubleheader at Sand Creek High School. The Big Reds will play Jonesville at 10 a.m., followed by a match against host Sand Creek at 2 p.m. Scheduled road games against Ypsilanti on March 28 and Pioneer on April 3 precede Milan’s home opener on April 7; the Big Reds begin their home schedule against Cabrini that Saturday.

* * *

Coaching staff: Head coach Adam Gilles (17th year, 359-178-4 record), assistant coach Vaughn Price

Welcome back: The Big Reds have 10 players returning in 2018 – Justin Beck (P/1B, Jr.), Brendan Bellore (OF, Soph.), Riley Bergeron (P/2B/3B/SS, Sr.), Dustin Dapprich (P/OF, Jr.), Gage Feeman (OF, Sr.), Jake Isaacs (OF, Sr.), Josiah Livingston (C/3B, Jr.), Jaden Riling (P/2B/SS, Sr.), Lucas Schrader (UTIL, Jr.) and Cam Straub (P/1B, Jr.).

Bellore was a JV callup towards the end of last year, while Schrader – due to illness – missed all of 2017. The other 8 saw significant playing time last spring.

New kids in town: Two freshmen are joining the big club – Zach Abbey (P/1B) and Hunter Osborne (UTIL). Abbey is one of two southpaw pitching arms on the Big Reds, joining Straub and giving the Big Reds two types of lefty pitchers. Per Gilles, Straub relies on pitch movement to get batters out, while Abbey impresses more with pitch speed.

Osborne is a right-handed arm and bat, one of 9 such players on the roster.

 

2018 Milan varsity baseball roster

No(s). / Name / Year / Positions / Bats-Throws

1/2 – Jaden Riling – Sr. – P/IF – R/R

3/45 – Jake Isaacs – Sr. – OF – L/L

4 – Gage Feeman – Sr. – P/OF – R/R

6 – Lucas Schrader – Jr. – P/UTIL – R/R

7 – Brendan Bellore – Soph. – OF – R/R

8/11 – Steven Lossing – UTIL – S/R

9 – Riley Bergeron – Sr. – P/IF – R/R

10 – Dylan Jones – Jr. – P/1B/OF – R/L

11 – Hunter Osborne – Fr. – UTIL – R/R

12 – Justin Beck – Jr. – P/1B – R/R

13 – Josiah Livingston – Jr. – C/IF – R/R

14/28 – Dustin Dapprich – Jr. – P/OF – R/R

15/30 – Cam Straub – Jr. – P/1B – R/L

20/21 – Zach Abbey – Fr. – P/1B – L/L

2018 Milan baseball schedule

(Updates to the schedule – such as a rescheduled game – will be posted as soon as I receive information, which is not always quickly. Check out the team’s Gamechanger page or the Milan Athletics schedule page for quicker updates)

Black – away   Red – home   Blue – neutral site

March

Mon 3/26 vs Taylor Kennedy (4:30 PM) — W 4-3 (1-0)

Wed 3/28 – @ Ypsilanti (DH, 4 & 6 PM) — W 14-0 (5 inn.); W 18-0 (4 inn.) — 3-0 W-L

April

 

Mon 4/9 – @ Whiteford (4 PM) — L 8-6 (3-1)

Wed 4/11 – vs SMCC (4:30 PM – Huron League opener) — L 11-1 (3-2 ovr, 0-1 Huron League)

Fri 4/13 – @ Jefferson (4:30 PM) — W 6-2 (4-2 ovr, 1-1 HL)

Wed 4/18 – @ New Boston Huron (5 PM) — L 6-0 (4-3 ovr, 1-2 HL)

Sat 4/21 – vs Romulus (DH, 11 AM & 1 PM) — W 12-0 (5 inn.); W 10-0 (6 inn.) — 6-3 ovr

Mon 4/23 – vs Riverview (DH, 4 & 6 PM) — L 7-4; L 4-2 (6-5 ovr, 1-4 HL)

Wed 4/25 – @ Flat Rock (4:30 PM) — W 4-2 (7-5 ovr, 2-4 HL)

Sat 4/28 – @ Gibraltar Carlson (DH, 11 AM & 1 PM) — L 1-0; W 6-4 (8-6 ovr)

Mon 4/30 – vs Grosse Ile (5 PM) — W 10-5 (9-6 ovr, 3-4 HL)

May

Tues 5/1 – @ Sand Creek (4:30 PM) — W 8-5 (10-6 ovr)

Wed 5/2 – @ SMCC (4:30 PM) — L 4-0 (10-7 ovr, 3-5 HL)

Sat 5/5 – vs Canton Prep (DH, 11 AM & 1 PM) — W 5-4; W 5-2 (12-7 ovr)

Mon 5/7 – vs Jefferson (4:30 PM) — W 7-5 (13-7 ovr, 4-5 HL)

Wed 5/9 – @ Airport (DH, 4 & 6 PM) — L 11-3; 2nd game PPD (13-8 ovr, 4-6 HL)

Wed 5/16 – @ Romulus Summit (4 PM) — W 4-1 (14-8 ovr)

Thurs 5/17 – @ Grosse Ile (4:30 PM) — W 6-2 (15-8 ovr, 5-6 HL)

Fri 5/18 – vs NB Huron (4:30 PM, resched from 5/14) — W 3-0 (16-8 ovr, 6-6 HL)

Sat 5/19 – @ Ida (DH, 10 AM & noon) — L 1-0 (8 inn.); W 5-3 (17-9 ovr)

Mon 5/21 – vs Flat Rock (4:30 PM)

Thurs 5/24 – vs Airport (4:30 PM, makeup of 5/9 PPD & Senior Night)

Fri 5/25 – @ Belleville (4 PM)

Sat 5/26 – vs Garden City (DH, 11 AM & 1 PM – resched from 5/12, regular season finale)

Tues 5/29 – vs Tecumseh (districts @ Adrian HS, 4:30 PM) – winner plays Adrian on Sat. 6/2

June

Sat 6/2 – Tecumseh-Milan winner vs Adrian (10 AM); Ida-Onsted (noon); championship game 2 PM

 

 

2017 Milan baseball walkup songs

Songs organized by player’s jersey number

Jaden Riling (No. 1) – “Jump” / Lupe Fiasco (edited version will be played at games)

Antonio Walker (No. 2) – “Danza Kuduro” / Don Omar

Jake Isaacs (No. 3) – “Back in Black” / ACDC

Gage Feeman (No. 4) – “Big Poppa” / Notorious BIG

Chase Riling (No. 5) – “Dopamine Lit” / Lupe Fiasco (edited version will be played at games)

Lucas Schrader (No. 6) – “Fade Away” / Logic

Christian Diaz (No. 7) – “Hall of Fame” / The Script

Jared Grubke (No. 8) – “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” / Big & Rich

Riley Bergeron (No. 9) – “Smooth” / Florida Georgia Line

Tyler Hall (No. 11) – “Never Gonna Give You Up” / Rick Astley

Justin Beck (No. 12) – “The Show Goes On” / Lupe Fiasco

Josiah Livingston (No. 13) – “Desperados” / Andy Mineo

Denver Jackson (No. 18) – “Manolo” / Trip Lee

Jakob Sawinski (No. 26) – Game of Thrones Theme

Dustin Dapprich (No. 28) – “Enter Sandman” / Metallica (when entering game to pitch)

Cam Straub (No. 30) – “Ray Bands” / B.O.B.

 

2017 Milan varsity baseball roster

No. / Name / Year / Position(s)

1 – Jaden Riling – Jr. – P/IF

2 – Antonio Walker – Jr. – P/UTIL

3 – Jake Isaacs – Jr. – OF

4 – Gage Feeman – Jr. – P/OF

5 – Chase Riling – Sr. – C

6 – Lucas Schrader – Soph. – P/UTIL

7 – Christian Diaz – Jr. – P/1B

8 – Jared Grubke – Sr. – C/3B

9 – Riley Bergeron – Jr. – P/IF

11 – Tyler Hall – Sr. – P/OF

12 – Justin Beck – Soph. – P/1B

13 – Josiah Livingston – Soph. – C/IF

18 – Denver Jackson – Sr. – P/1B

17 /26 – Jakob Sawinski – Jr. – OF

14 /28 – Dustin Dapprich – Soph. – P/OF

15 /30 – Cam Straub – Soph. – P/1B

Reloading Big Red baseball team looks for big things in 2017

The Milan Big Reds varsity baseball team, per their standards and expectations, had a sub-par year in 2016.

Despite having another year over .500 with head coach Adam Gilles leading the way, the team had their worst-ever record under Gilles a season ago, finishing 20-15 and losing in the district semifinals.

The Big Reds head coach, heading into his 16th season, saw last year as an anomaly from most of his teams. “The biggest thing was that we lacked leadership and people buying into the way we’ve always done things,” he said. “They wanted to do things their own way, and that was evident. Having three of our four top pitchers hurt last year didn’t help.”

Ten players have graduated from that squad – including key contributors Jordan Hendricks, Daniel Norzaimi, and Eric Price, among others.

The 2017 team – 16 players strong – returns several players from last year’s team. Among the returners are Justin Beck, Jared Grubke, brothers Chase and Jaden Riling, and Antonio Walker.

Depth-wise, the new ballclub has eight pitchers firmly in the fold, with 10 being a possibility. Gilles also sees catching and the middle infield being strong areas for the new roster, while the weakest area – as has been somewhat of a custom in recent years – is the outfield. Of the 16 players on the roster, 12 are listed as pitchers, while only three are limited to one spot on the field.

The state of Michigan has a new rule in high school baseball in effect this season – a pitch count capped at 105. While not directly related to pitch count issues, the Big Reds have suffered losses to their pitching depth in recent years. Thomas Lindeman was out of the pitching lineup for most of 2015 with a shoulder injury, while Jaden Riling had the same fate last season.

“For that reason [the pitch count] – we’ve got more arms,” Gilles said. “We’re really focused on shoulder injury prevention.”

Gilles is praising his new team for their intelligence on and off the field. “We have a very smart team,” he said. “This is a team that has a 3.5 GPA, which we haven’t had in the last few years. One of my favorite things is that the smarter team is usually a winning team – not just smart academically, but also on the field. We’ve had a lot of smart teams, but in the past, we’ve lacked a little bit of leadership and the ability to buy in to what we try to do.

“So far, this team has bought in.”

The players have a determination to not repeat last year’s mistakes. “A lot of the guys know the system,” Gilles said. “They know what’s supposed to be done, and they were very frustrated last year with some things that happened on the team. They’ve already come through and said, ‘Coach, we just want to take last year and learn from it, and make sure we don’t make those same mistakes.'”

The pitching depth will be led by Jaden Riling and Walker, as well as newcomer Tyler Hall. Walker was a surprise last season, providing unexpected support to the pitching staff and outfield as a sophomore. Hall, a senior who is homeschooled, is playing high school baseball for the first time; he has played travel baseball in the past.

Chase Riling and JV callup Josiah Livingston will be the top two catchers, while the middle infield will be shored up by Riley Bergeron, Jaden Riling, and Walker. Bergeron will be the Big Reds’ starting second baseman; Grubke will maintain his starting spot at 3rd base and be the team’s third catcher, while Beck will be the team’s primary designated hitter.

The team also has several options at first base – Beck, Christian Diaz, Denver Jackson, and Cam Straub.

The outfield, Gilles says, is a question mark after Walker. The plan for the junior is to play shortstop when Jaden Riling pitches, and play in the outfield when neither he nor Riling are on the mound.

“Even after (graduating 10 players), we still have a decent core coming back,” Gilles said. “All these years, I’ve said, ‘Give me five to seven core players, and we’ll find the other three or four. We’ll figure out what they are.’

“Basically, what it comes down to is finding the best defense we’ll be okay with, with the best nine hitters in our lineup. We’ll sacrifice a bit of defense to be able to score a few more runs, if it’s possible. If not, we’ll flip-flop it. It’s all just a trial-and-error thing. That’s why we play so many non-league games.”

The Big Reds finished 8-6 in Huron League play in 2016. The record resulted in the Big Reds being part of a tie for third place.

Gilles figures the top competition this year to be Airport, Jefferson, and SMCC. “It’s going to be like it has the last few years,” he said. “There’s not going to be that one team like it used to be, where you could throw your No. 5 pitcher and you’d be fine. You have to throw your No. 1 or 2 every day. It’s going to be as competitive as ever, and it’s going to be fun.

“I see no reason we shouldn’t be competing for first place in the Huron League. That’s the goal.”

Milan’s schedule begins on March 23 with a single game at Pinckney, following with a doubleheader at Ypsilanti on March 30. Their April slate features only three home dates, including the opener on April 1. May, however, has nine of the 13 days slated with games being at home. Eight of the last nine days in the regular season schedule will be home contests.

“It’s all on purpose,” Gilles said. “Our field is usually the last field to be ready to go. We need our field to dry.

“I like being on the road. I think it relaxes us a little bit more, just getting away from here. It’ll be nice going to Pinckney on Thursday.”

Gilles is also nearing history, as he is six wins away from 350 as Milan’s head coach. He is the all-time win leader in the history of the Big Red baseball program. “It’s kinda cool,” he said. “I want the kids to do well. I want to win championships. In the end, we just want to win games (because) winning’s fun.

“But you’ve got to have selfish goals once in a while. I always said I wanted to get to 300, and I got there a couple years ago. I keep getting good groups of kids, and now I think 400 sounds like a better number.”

Overall, the head coach hopes to continue the string of success that Milan baseball has built in recent years. “A goal is to get to 20 wins,” he said. “Twenty-five sounds even better. We want to win as many as we can. But in the end, I don’t care if we win or lose; we just (need to) play solid baseball and hustle.”

* * *

Coaching staff: Head coach Adam Gilles (16th year, 344-157-4 record), assistant coaches Vaughn Price and Randy Smith

Saying goodbye: 10 seniors graduated from last year’s team – Zach Allen, Dan Armstrong, Brendan Ferenczy, Josh Hall, Jordan Hendricks, Daniel Norzaimi, Jackson Pahle, Eric Price, Jordan Sparks, and Aaron Taylor. Seven of the 10 were significant contributors last year.

Welcome back: Milan has 9 players returning to the squad – Justin Beck (P/1B, Jr.), Riley Bergeron (P/IF, Jr.), Jared Grubke (C/3B, Sr.), Denver Jackson (P/1B, Jr.), Josiah Livingston (C/IF, Soph.), Chase Riling (C, Sr.), Jaden Riling (P/IF, Jr.), Cam Straub (P/1B, Soph.), and Antonio Walker (P/UTIL, Jr.).

Beck, Bergeron, Livingston and Straub split time between the JV and varsity squads last season, while Grubke, Chase Riling, and Walker were played key roles for varsity.

New faces: Milan has seven newcomers to the big club in 2017 – Dustin Dapprich (P/OF, Soph.), Christian Diaz (P/1B, Jr.), Gage Feeman (P/OF, Jr.), Tyler Hall (P/OF, Sr.), Jake Isaacs (OF, Jr.), Jakob Sawinski (OF, Jr.), and Lucas Schrader (P/UTIL, Soph.).