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The Communicator

The Home Stretch

With about three weeks left in the season, high school baseball around the country is ramping up. Sitting at a record of 13-9, the Pioneer High School Pioneers find themselves in an advantageous position to ‘run the table.’
Mahir Soofi

Griffin Siersma, a senior catcher, emphasizes the importance of consistency down the stretch of a 35-game season. As an integral part of the team, Siersma takes pride in leading by example.

“Consistency is something we need to improve on,” Siersma said. “Against the best teams, you have to execute 100% of the time. I’m not a huge vocal guy during practices, but I try to get in extra work and do things the right way, not just do the right things. Whether that’s picking up your teammates after a bad play, even little things like picking up trash off the field go a long way.”

They struggled to adhere to their philosophies early in the season and dropped two of their first four games. Over the next couple of weeks, they’d round into form by going 6-2 over an eight-game stretch, which would then quickly dissipate following a stretch of getting swept, including a 13-0 loss to Saline.

“We went 0-4 during the week. It was a tough week,” Siersma said.

Siersma attributes his passion for baseball to his father, who also grew up a fan and played as a kid. Once he embraced the sport, he knew he’d never let go.

“I’ve always had a bat and a ball and a glove for just as long as I can remember,” Siersma said. “I think my passion evolved from something that was just fun. It’s still a lot of fun, of course, but I think my competitiveness flourished and drove me to become better.”

Siersma believes being part of the competitive group has taught him more about himself than he had previously realized.

“One of the big things that the coaches preach is accountability and responsibility,” Siersma said. “You’re responsible for being at practice on time and not making excuses and that’s how I realized how many excuses I was making for different things. It motivates me to get things done because I know I don’t have an excuse not to.”

The catcher is pivotal to every play, serving as the linchpin of the team’s success. Their role extends beyond simply calling pitches; effective communication between the catcher and other players is fundamental.

“The biggest responsibility is making sure everybody else on the field knows what needs to happen during a play,” Siersma said. “That could be yelling what base to throw it to but also before the play as well, making sure that the infielders know what they’re doing, giving signs to the pitcher for a pitch call, etc.”

Responsibility has a way of bringing out the best in everyone. However, baseball’s nature can be more susceptible to exposing each responsibility. Despite the pressure that tends to compound during the later stages of the season, it’s important not to lose sight of what’s ahead.

“Staying true to what you’ve done all season, it’s just a game,” Siersma said regarding handling the pressure. “Nothing’s changed about the game. It’s become a bit second nature to me, but a little bit of anxiety is always good to stay on your toes.”

Each team is in a district with four or five teams; Pioneer’s district consists of Skyline, Huron, Dexter, and Saline. Brackets are randomly selected including a play-in game to determine who qualifies the week before districts, held on June 1st. Every district champion will then advance to their regional semifinal. Winning the regional championship secures a spot in the state quarterfinals.

“Our goal is definitely to at least win a regional championship,” Siersma said. “I think if we can get past Saline in the district, which will be tough since Saline is one of the top teams, we’re capable of it. We have a really good shot at winning a regional championship and going farther.”

With series against Bedford, Salem, Huron and Adrian looming, Siersma and company aim to lead Pioneer deep into the postseason and another state appearance.

“The intensity goes to 11,” Siersma said.

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About the Contributor
Mahir Soofi
Mahir Soofi, Sports Editor
Mahir Soofi is a senior at CHS who split enrolls at Huron. This is his first year as Sports Editor and third semester in Journalism. When he's not working, you can find him playing tennis on the Ann Arbor Huron varsity team, watching sports, hanging out with friends, playing piano, and listening to music. Mahir is excited to start his senior year writing for the Communicator.

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