Here’s an overview on high school baseball in mid-Michigan. This preview reflects information submitted to the Lansing State Journal.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Grand Ledge, 2. Holt, 3. East Lansing, 4. Okemos, 5. Jackson, 6. Eastern, 7. Everett, 8. Sexton
Top players: Sam Davison (Grand Ledge), Jordan Goebel (Grand Ledge), Jesse Heikkinen (Holt), Burrell Jones (Holt), Luke LaLumia (Grand Ledge), A.J. Matusz (Okemos)
Last season: 2-12 (7th)
Last season: 19-11, 8-6 (5th)
Coach: Mark Pendred (22nd season)
Top returning players: Jake Polack (sr.) IF, Ethan Charamella (sr.) IF/P, Dylan Schoenheider (sr.) C, Reid Burton (sr.) OF/P, AJ Wilk (sr.) IF
Other contributors: Quinten Jackson (jr.) P/OF, Connor Charamella (so.) OF/P, Ryan Pertner (jr.) C, Cameron Jiminez (jr.) OF
Outlook: The Trojans have six returning seniors and will be counting on their leadership to carry what is a young team. East Lansing has a talented, but inexperienced junior class and Pendred says staying healthy will be key for his team to compete every game.
Last season: 4-20-1, 2-11-1 (6th)
Coach: Tim Walker (4th season)
Top returning players: Dante Walton (jr.) OF, Zach Cornwell (so.) P/1B, Allante Reedy (so.) P/3B.
Other contributors: Kenny Schmidt (jr.) P/C/OF, Jhon Cueto (fr.) OF.
Outlook: The Vikings last nine seniors to graduation and will have a young and inexperienced roster this spring. Walker says his team will depend on underclassmen and older newcomers to step into vital roles, especially on the mound. The Vikings have increased their win total each of the last two seasons and are focused on doing that again despite the large turnover.
Last season: 31-6-1, 14-0 (1st)
Coach: Pat O’Keefe (48th season)
Top returning players: Luke LaLumia (sr.) OF, Jacob Songer (sr.) P, Jordan Goebel (sr.) 1B/P, Sam Davison (sr.) P/C, Cooper Alspaugh (sr.) IF, Brendan Baker (sr.) IF, Kip Lambie (sr.) P, Mitch Painter (sr.) IF/OF, Cam Collins (sr.) OF, Zach Hanes (sr.) OF, Sam Goodman (jr.) IF, Wyatt Rush (jr.) IF/P, Xavier Farr (jr.) IF, Cal Johnston (so.) P/IF
Outlook: The Comets have their biggest senior class in several years and O’Keefe is expecting another great season. Grand Ledge has 14 returners from a team that won the CAAC Blue and the Diamond Classic.
Last season: 22-13-1, 8-5-1 (4th)
Coach: Nate Potts (6th season)
Top returning players: Jesse Heikkinen (jr.) P/OF, Burrell Jones (so.) P/1B, Drew Stavischeck (sr.) OF, Tyler Brown (jr.) SS, Drake Sobleskey (jr.) 2B, Robert Butterson (jr.) P/OF, Huston Snyder (sr.) P/OF, Hunter Rickard (jr.) P/OF.
Other contributors: Dan Clark (jr.) IF/DH, Spencer Baldwin (so.) C/IF, Ethan Miller (jr.) P/UT, Dalton Bahl (so.) P/UT, Scott Barger (jr.) P/IF, Hayden Steinhaus (jr.) C.
Outlook: The Rams have six starters back from their district championship squad, which includes two of the area’s top pitchers in MSU commit Heikkinen and Jones. Stavischeck is also back after missing his junior season with an injury,
Last season: 19-11, 10-4 (2nd)
Coach: Phil Magsig (23rd season)
Top returning players: Trevor Perry (sr.) P/C, AJ Matusz (jr.) OF/P, Brandon Persico (sr.) DH/OF, Luke Stagg (jr.) OF/1B/P.
Other contributors: Brendan Cone (jr.) IF/P, Billy Brehm (jr.) IF/P, Nathan Dane (sr.) IF/P, Jason Pridgeon (so.) OF/P
Outlook: Matusz is a returning all-league performer from last year’s Chief squad that finished as the CAAC Blue runner-up. Magsig said his team has very good talent and chemistry already established and he is looking forward to Okemos being competitive this spring.
Last season: 1-12-1 (8th)
Coaches’ predictions: 1. DeWitt, 2. Haslett, 3. St. Johns, 4. Mason, 5. Owosso, 6. Waverly
Top players: Avery Maurer (St. Johns), Adam Proctor (St. Johns), JD Ross (DeWItt), Hunter Ruhstorfer (Haslett), Luke Sleeper (Haslett), Donovan Tarn (DeWitt), Nick Vondra (Mason)
Last season: 26-13-1, 9-1 (1st)
Coach: Alan Shankel (7th season)
Top returning players: Donovan Tarn (sr.) P/3B, Trevor Kapp (sr.) P/1B, Will Nagel (jr.) P/2B, JD Ross (jr.) P/C, Michael Stygles (jr.) P/OF, Mark Connelly (so.) SS.
Other contributors: Noah Koenigsknecht (so.) OF, Nolan Knauf (so.) P/IF.
Outlook: The Panthers have six starters returning from a young team that captured district and regional titles last season. Shankel said DeWitt’s young talent must take the next step in order for the Panthers to have another successful season.
Last season: 21-14, 5-4 (T-3rd)
Coach: Jeff Woodworth (18th season)
Top returning players: Hunter Ruhstorfer (sr.) OF/P, Luke Sleeper (sr.) 1B/P, Cullen Turner (sr.) IF/C, Jack Rosenbrook (sr.) C, Reece Watrich (sr.) OF, Hayden Cross (jr.) IF/P, Matt Stephon (jr.) IF/P, Hayden Garrett (so.) IF/P
Other contributors: Drew Conlin (sr.) P, Brock Pringle (sr.) P
Outlook: Ruhstorfer and Sleeper, who is headed to Stanford, were all-league and all-district performers last year and are among seven returning starters from last year for the Vikings. Haslett will rely on pitching and defense to win games.
Last season: 20-13, 5-4 (T-3rd)
Coach: Scott Berman (3rd season)
Top returning players: Nick Vondra (sr.) SS, Tyler Porter (sr.) P/RF, Chase Johnston (sr.) C
Other contributors: Brandon Showers (jr.) CF, Austin Willard (so.) P/3B, Tyler Fanson (jr.) 1B, Jackson Palmer (jr.) P/1B, Trent Stuewe (fr.) P/IF
Outlook: The Bulldogs graduated eight key pieces from a team that reached the Diamond Classic semis. Berman is excited about the youthful enthusiasm and potential of his team.
Last season: 2-8 (5th)
Coach: Jeff Klapko (3rd season)
Top returning players: Jordan Klapko (so.) C/OF, Jesse Giraud (jr.) P/3B, Jake Ackley (jr.) SS, Drake Nover (jr.) 2B, Nathan Nicevski (jr.) OF.
Outlook: Jordan Klapko and Ackley are returning all-league players for Owosso, which has a young team that is looking to be competitive.
Last season: 23-13, 7-3 (2nd)
Coach: Jake Parker (6th season)
Top returning players: Avery Maurer (sr.) P/C, Adam Proctor (jr.) C, Addison Swarthout (sr.) 1B, Brett Smith (sr.) P, Brandon Huhn (jr.) P/IF, Alex Hudak (sr.) UT, Brendan Kiel (sr.) 2B.
Other contributors: Caleb Paksi (jr.) P/IF/OF, Parker Ackerman (jr.) IF/P, Dace Ferden (jr.) P/OF
Outlook: The Redwings expect to be strong again offensively with all-league performers Maurer, Proctor and Swarthout leading the way. Pitching is a question mark with St. Johns being without its top three starters from last season.
Last season: 6-28, 0-10 (6th)
Coach: Pete Sherry (6th season)
Top returning players: Joe Schwartz (sr.) SS/P, Lucas Leak (jr.) 1B/P, Jared Andrews (sr.) OF/P, Travis Wesley (sr.) C/OF
Other contributors: Gary Puente (jr.) C/P, AJ Puente (jr.) 3B/P
Outlook: The Warriors return a majority of their roster from last spring and that includes a trio of third-year honorable mention all-league players in Schwartz, Andrews and Wesley. Sherry, who is in his first year back as coach after leading the Warriors from 1998-2002, hopes to restore some pride in the program.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Fowlerville, 2. Lansing Catholic, 3. Portland, 4. Eaton Rapids, T-5. Ionia, T-5. Williamston
Top players: Riley Creamer (Lansing Catholic), Eric Fritz (Fowlerville), Nic Olson (Lansing Catholic), Trevor Trierweiler (Portland)
Last season: 28-9
Coach: Rick Acker (3rd season)
Top returning players: Vann Acker (sr.) SS/P, Tyler Oberlin-Scott (sr.) C, Lewis Beals (so.) CF/P, Mitchell Gum (sr.) 1B
Other contributors: Cameron Wilson (fr.) 2B/3b, Ryan Walker (so.), Drew Shafer (jr.) OF, Jacob Osypczak (jr.) 2B/SS
Outlook: Three all-league performers return in Vann Acker, Oberlin-Scott and Beals, but the Greyhounds have major holes to fill after graduating several key components from an offense that helped Eaton Rapids to 50 victories over the last two years.
Last season: 22-8 (1st)
Coach: Mike Hanna (11th season)
Top returning players: Alex Montrose (sr.) OF, Adam Joliff (sr.) C, Clay Boak (sr.) IF, Connor Matlock (sr.) P/IF, Eric Fritz (jr.) P/OF, Josh Nabozny (jr.) IF, Michael LaPlante (jr.) OF, Wyatt Thomas (jr.) OF, Mitchell Hubert (jr.) OF
Other contributors: Nate Leonard (jr.) IF/P, Nick Semke (jr.) IF/P, Bryce Bertl (jr.) IF
Outlook: The Gladiators have 11 players returning from last year’s team that captured CAAC White and district titles and also reached the semifinals of the Diamond Classic. Hanna hopes Fowlerville can build on last year’s success.
Last season: 19-13, 3-7 (5th)
Coach: Jason Lundstrom (13th season)
Top returning players: Josh Magley (sr.) IF/P, Paul Corner (sr.) OF, Austin Nummer (sr.) OF/P, Shane Lehman (sr.) IF, Andrew Fox (jr.) IF/P, Alec White (soph.) P/IF
Other contributors: Brian Hamilton (jr.) P/IF, Cam Sanicki (jr.) P/OF
Outlook: The Bulldogs lost a strong group of seniors, but have six players returning that were a major part of last year’s squad. Lundstrom has depth with pitching with 10 players capable of stepping on the mound.
Last season: 24-15, 7-3
Coach: Andrew Smith (4th season)
Top returning players: Riley Creamer (sr.) SS/P, Nic Olson (sr.) IF/P, Max Zemke (sr.) C, Evan Hanes (sr.) RF
Other contributors:Jackson Wilcox (jr.) CF, Jacob Ramont (jr.) SS/IF, Chuck Plaehn (jr.) IF/P, Drew Goeddeke (jr.) 1B/P
Outlook: The Cougars have an experienced and talented core with Creamer, Olson and Zemke each being key contributors on last year’s team that captured district and regional titles. Lansing Catholic also has a promising junior class and will try to challenge Fowlerville and Portland as it tries to capture its first league crown since 2013.
Last season: 17-12 (2nd)
Coach: Chris Trierweiler (2nd season)
Top returning players: Noah Hengesbach (sr.) C/P, Trevor Trierweiler (sr.) OF/P, Bryant Pettit (sr.) IF/P, Cory Gesterblum (sr.) IF, Jared Schrauben (sr.) IF/P, Andy Laidlaw (sr.) C, Austin Allison (so.) OF/P, Treyvin Groesser (jr.) OF/P, Brandon Roecker (sr.) OF, Haydin Brandt (jr.) OF/P, Mark Brooks (sr.) IF
Other contributors: Brett Pung (jr.) OF/P
Outlook: Trierweiler believes the Raiders have a strong experienced team with solid depth on the field and pitching. Portland has six returning players that earned all-league and all-district honors a year ago. The Raiders are shooting for a league title and a deep postseason run.
Last season: 8-24, 0-10 (6th)
Coach: Terry Stanton (3rd season)
Top returning players: Will Kube (sr.) P/OF, Sam Vitale (sr.) P/IF, Austin Gauss (jr.) P/IF, Matt Diamond (sr.) OF, Abe Rueckert (sr.) OF
Other contributors: Max Rohn (jr.) IF/P, Trevor Savage (so.) OF
Outlook: The Hornetshave a young squad that Stanton expects to be competitive in the White.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Portland St. Patrick, 2. Fowler, 3. Bath, 4. Pewamo-Westphalia, 5. Potterville, 6. Laingsburg, 7. Saranac, 8. Dansville, 9. Fulton
Top players: Dane Armbrustmacher (Fowler), Schuyler Shirey (Bath), Macus Traver (Potterville), Zach Yarger (Potterville).
Last season: 20-12 (5th)
Coach: Brian Jensen (1st season)
Top returning players: Schuyler Shirey (sr.) C/P/1B, Drew Coulter (jr.) P/OF, Jarod Moffitt (sr.) C, Sean Wineland (sr.) P/3B.
Other contributors: Trey Normann (fr.) P/OF, Seth House (sr.) SS
Outlook: The Bees have a solid blend of juniors and seniors, which includes five starting pitchers that saw extensive innings last spring. Jensen said Bath will need large contributions from its junior class this spring.
Last season: 7-14, 3-10-2
Coach: Michael Sykes (2nd season)
Top returning players: Justin Young (sr.) 2B/P, Spencer Cook (sr.) OF/P, Ethan Korb (sr.) OF/P, Clay Soule (jr.) 1B/P, Niko Rincon (so.) OF, Carter Frantz (so.) SS/P, Chaase Salazar (so.) 3B/P
Other contributors: Anthony Mack (so.) OF, Josh Weldon (so.) 3B, Ben Sinnaeve (so.) C.
Outlook: The Aggies have seven returning starters and hope to double their win total from last spring. Korb, Cook and Young are in their third years on varsity and will be counted on to lead the way.
Last season: 21-10-1 (3rd)
Coach: Brian Goerge (3rd season)
Top returning players: Ryan Koenigsknecht (sr.) OF/P, Jamison Goerge (sr.) IF, Nick Schmitt (sr.) OF/P, Dallas Watts (jr.) 1B, Dane Armbrustmacher (so.) P/OF, Mason Pline (so.) P/IF
Other contributors: Jace Feldpausch (jr.) IF, Nolan Wieber (jr.) IF
Outlook: The Eagles are looking for newcomers to step up and fill key positions that were vacated due to graduation. Fowler does have some key components in returning in all-league performers Koenigsknecht, Goerge, Schmitt, Armbrustmacher and Pline.
Last season: 14-16 (5th)
Coach: Kyle Fox (3rd season)
Top returning players: Jordan Jones (jr.) SS/P, Hunter Blaski (jr.) P/3B, Levi Fraidenburg (sr.) 1B, Lucas Fraidenburg (jr.) C
Other contributors: Austin Elliott (jr.) C
Outlook: The Wolfpack are young in some key positions, but have good team speed and are improving each day according to Fox.
Last season: 22-8, 10-5
Coach: Mark Rademacher (32nd season)
Top returning players: Austin Lewis (sr.) C/P/IF, Drew Bengel (sr.) IF, Bryce Thelen (so.) IF, Josh Smith (jr.) C.
Other contributors: Devon Pung (jr.) IF/P, Nathan Smith (jr.) IF, Mason Schneider (jr.) IF/P
Outlook: Lewis is a returning all-league selection for what is a youthful Pirate team. Rademacher says his team has a lot of energy and will try to gain game experience quickly.
PORTLAND ST. PATRICK
Last season: 25-10, 13-3
Coach: Bryan Scheurer (12th season)
Top returning players: Travis Moyer (sr.) P/3B, Garrett Pline (sr.) P/CF, Nick Coyne (sr.) 1B, Brady Lehman (sr.) OF, Brendan Schrauben (jr.) C/IF, Graham Smith (jr.) P/OF, Noah Goodman (jr.) P/IF/OF.
Other contributors: Thomas Wernet (sr.) 2B/OF, Danny Mackowiak (so.) 2B, Hunter Barber (so.) OF, Brandon Scheurer (fr.) SS/P, Nathan Lehnert (fr.) OF/P
Outlook: The Shamrocks have seven returning starters, which includes all-league performers in Moyer, Schrauben, Smith and Pline. Scheurer believes St. Patrick can be extremely competitive in the CMAC and beyond if its pitchers remain healthy.
Last season: 12-2 (1st)
Coach: Lance Beasley (3rd season)
Top returning players: Marcus Traver (sr.) P/IF, Zach Yarger (jr.) P/IF/C, Nick Lett (so.) C/P/OF, Brady Gnass (sr.) P/IF.
Outlook: Traver, Yarger and Lett are returning all-league performers for Potterville, which captured a regional title a year ago. Beasley said hard work and focus should help Potterville be again in the hunt for league and district titles.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Olivet, 2. Lakewood, 3. Maple Valley, 4. Lansing Christian, 5. Leslie, 6. Stockbridge, 7. Perry
Top players: Jacob Brighton (Maple Valley), Dylan Kemp (Lakewood), Andrew Miranda (Lansing Christian), Delbert Redfield (Olivet)
Last season: 14-19
Coach: Brad Tacey (1st season)
Top returning players: Dylan Kemp (sr.) P/OF, Austin Schmidt (jr.) C/P, Kyle Willette (jr.) SS/P, Bryce Innes (sr.) OF.
Other contributors: Chandler Adams (so.) IF/P, Alex Smith (jr.) P, Ryan Szczepaniak (jr.) P/1B
Outlook: The Vikings are focused on competing for a league title. Tacey said Lakewood has strong pitching in Kemp, Willette and Adams and wants to improve upon its 5-16 non-league record from last season.
Last season: 18-10 (2nd)
Coach: David Miranda (3rd season)
Top returning players: Andrew Miranda (jr.) OF/1B/P, Taylor Cusick (P/SS), Jon Hull (jr.) 2B/OF/P, Zach Harrison (jr.) 3B/OF.
Other contributors: Trent Kinnas (fr.) SS/2B/P.
Outlook: The Pilgrims were the surprise team in the GLAC a year ago and finished as the runner-up. Miranda said his team has a solid mix of older and younger players and he expects them to be competitive once again. If pitching comes around, Miranda believes Lansing Christian will have another successful spring.
Last season: 24-8 (1st)
Coach: Bryan Carpenter (15th season)
Top returning players: Jacob Brighton (jr.) SS/P, Payton Rourke (sr.) 1B, Jace Heinze (jr.) OF/P, Brock Weiler (sr.) OF/P.
Other contributors: Logan Valiquette (so.) C/SS/2B, Drew Allen (jr.) 2B.
Outlook: Carpenter expects his team will have the ability to score runs and play defense. Pitching depth is a question mark, but Carpenter believes the Lions can contend for another GLAC title if things come together in that area.
Coach: Bill Whitely (1st season)
Top returning players: Sam Hoag (sr.) P/OF, Troy Saxman (sr.) P/OF, Jordan Kring (sr.) 1B, Delbert Redfield (jr.) P/OF, Freddy Fuentes (jr.) C/OF, Wyatt DeGroot (jr.) 3B/P, Parker Smith (so.) C.
Other contributors: Nick Worthington (jr.) 2B, Kenton Moon (jr.) OF.
Outlook: Whitely has a very young team, but he expects Olivet to contend for the GLAC title.
Last season: 1-24
Coach: Daniel Craddock (1st season)
Top returning players: Stephen Dunlap (sr.) OF, Austin Edel (sr.) 3B/P, Treviin Gavenda (sr.) P/C, Danny Beebe (jr.) 2B/3B, Nick Burlingame (so.) 1B/P
Other contributors: Justin Efu (fr.) C/P
Outlook: After being competitive in a number of games last spring, Ashley wants to take the next step and get more wins this year. Craddock says the Bears have a lot more depth in all areas this year and believes limiting mistakes will be the key.
Last season: 14-18 (5th GAC Red)
Coach: Chuck Osika (3rd season)
Top returning players: Kaleb Toney (sr.) OF/P, Tyler Deese (sr.) OF
Other contributors: Domanic Smith (jr.) SS/P, Taylor Jackson (jr.) C.
Outlook: The Cavaliers will try to contend for their first league title since 2006 by mixing in talented young players with an experienced senior class.
Last season: 17-19 (7th TVC)
Coach: Mike Loynes (13th season)
Top returning players: Keaghan Sutlff (P/C/SS), Devon Kelley (sr.) OF, Michael Ryals (sr.) P/C/IF, Michael Beno (jr.) 3B/SS, Jericho Herblet (so.) 1B/2B.
Other contributors: Parker Bukautis (jr.) P/OF
Outlook: The Marauders will have a young team this spring. Loynes says success this year will depend on how quickly his team adjusts to the varsity level.