• Who: Pinckney vs. Howell in a baseball doubleheader, 4 p.m.
• Where: Howell High School
• Broadcast: On The Livingston Post, starting at about 3:45 p.m. Click here!
• Records: Pinckney is 7-7 overall, 3-7 KLAA West; Howell is 10-6, 6-3
What’s at stake
Howell needs a sweep to keep pace with Brighton in the KLAA West. The Highlanders are two games behind the Bulldogs (9-2 in the West) with two games in hand. They could get a boost today, when Brighton travels to Milford. Pinckney looks to gain ground on fifth-place Grand Blanc, which is at Hartland.
For whatever reason, Pinckney has alway posed problems for Howell, upsetting the Highlanders several times over the years. But first-year coach Ryan Rogowski is looking for his team to continue to improve. “I want to see them compete,” he said of his players. “Errors have been our Achilles’ heel. We’ve had leads but haven’t closed out some games. Howell has a team with nine guys going to play in college. We just want to compete.”
Pinckney already has done something a generation of Pirates couldn’t: They beat Brighton early in the season. Luke Rendell threw a 2-hit shutout and had three of his own in a 2-0 victory at home last month. “It was a real big win for the program,” Rogowski said, “especially to shut them out. That was a good one for the seniors.”
Rogowski, a Livonia native, played at Detroit Catholic Central and at the University of Illinois before spending three seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system, where his teammates included Clayton Kershaw and now-Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana. He’s trying to change his program’s mindset. “When you think of Pinckney, they haven’t been highly regarded,” he said. “I’ve learned that confidence goes a long way. Not cockiness, but playing with a chip on your shoulder. You can be successful regardless of the past.”