Frank DiVito is again calling the shots as head coach.
After years as an assistant varsity baseball coach in the Bloomfield Hills district and after having served previous stints as head coach at Troy and Andover, DiVito is taking over at Bloomfield Hills High School this spring. The veteran mentor is replacing Mike Boyd, who is out on personal leave.
“I’m really happy to be here because I’ve taught here for 28 years and it’s great to be able to teach and coach in the district where you work,” DiVito said. “When they heard I was going to be head coach, they were really excited and they made me feel welcome.
“I know the kids because I had a lot of them in middle school. The kids know what I’m about,” he added. “We really haven’t changed anything since Mike left. We’re just trying to keep the train rolling.”
Bloomfield Hills has five of nine starters returning from a group that finished with a 24-6 record and captured a Division 1 district championship. The Black Hawks’ season ended with a 4-1 regional semifinal loss to eventual state semifinalist Clarkston.
If the first couple of games are any indication, this year’s team figures to be a potent offensive force.
Playing in the annual Oakland County Spring Break tournament this past week, Bloomfield Hills outscored its first two foes by a 23-8 margin. The Black Hawks defeated Royal Oak, 14-6, on Tuesday (14-6) and smacked South Lyon East, 9-2, the next day.
In addition, DiVito said the defense up the middle is a team strength, as is overall experience. A majority of the Black Hawks are three- and four-year varsity players.
Junior catcher Matt Biermann is a proven commodity as he begins his third season of varsity baseball. Junior second baseman Cameron Greer and senior shortstop Perry Klemanski are two reliable players both offensively and defensively. Greer, up from the JV, had four hits in Bloomfield Hills’ first two games.
Klemanski, a four-year varsity veteran who will hit third, posted a .493 batting average last spring with seven home runs and 43 RBIs. In the win over Royal Oak, Klemanski blasted a grand slam. The center fielder is junior Troy Saruna, who will hit out of the No. 2 spot in the order.
Senior clean-up batter Christian Jaworski, another four-year varsity player and the team’s lone left-handed batter, will handle duties in right field. Senior returnee Nick Schneider, the winning pitcher against Royal Oak, figures to be the staff ace and will handle third-base duties when not on the mound. Sophomore Max Rosenfeld will play first base for the first time and be part of the pitching rotation.
“Perry is like having another coach on the field and he’s a real leader out there,” DiVito said. “He keeps everyone in the game. He realizes what it takes to win and get to the next level.
“Our catcher Matt Biermann does a great job handling pitchers and threw two kids out at second base (against South Lyon),” he added. “He’s very good defensively and is an RBI guy for us. Matt, Perry and Christian are at the middle of the order for us and will knock in a lot of runs.”
The other Bloomfield Hills seniors are Aaron Benson, Joey Kramer, Augie Lessins and Grady Wildman.
“I thought coming into the season, hitting would be one of our strengths, because we only have one returning pitcher who pitched a significant amount of innings for us last year at the varsity level,” DiVito said. “With the guys we have coming back that have the experience, I think definitely this is a team that can make some noise come playoff time.”
Bloomfield Hills, second in the Blue Division last year to Troy Athens, will again compete in the Blue with Athens, Troy, Berkley and Avondale. DiVito believes his team is capable of not only challenging for the division title, but repeating as district champ.
DiVito has 284 career wins as a head coach and will chase down No. 300 this spring. He’s happy to be the man in charge again.
“The great thing about this team is they all get along and they all work hard,” DiVito said. “We just want to keep trying to get better and better every day. Like I tell the kids every year, it doesn’t matter how we start, it’s how we finish.
“Hopefully, come playoff time, we’ll be ready,” he added. “We have some young kids who will get more experience and, hopefully, we’re peaking at the right time come districts.”