Area teams ready to take the diamond in 2022
Several Lenawee County baseball teams have aspirations of league championships and long state tournament runs this season.
Onsted returns a ton of pitching talent, Blissfield has several key pieces back from a 35-win team and Hudson is loaded with seniors.
Blissfield (Eric Schmidt), Morenci (Steve Hartman) and Lenawee Christian (Jason Reed) are new coaches in the county. Schmidt is off to a 1-0 start after the Royals won its season opener.
Here’s a look at the county’s baseball teams and prospects for the season:
Head coach: Richard Gramm, 12th season
Top players: Brody Gramm (.345 with 19 RBIs last season), Nicholas Trumble (.348), Kobe Farrow (.342), Zac Conley (.286).
Other players to watch: Drew Spink, Jaxen Sword.
Pitching: Gramm comes into the season as the No. 1 hurler.
Outlook: Addison has some solid pieces returning from last season to build around.
Coach says: “We will be starting only three seniors so we will be fairly young. We are looking to be competitive.”
Head coach: Kyle Johnson, second season
Top players: Seniors Brendon Howard (.294 last season), Preston Tuzinsky; juniors Gunner Lansdell, Van Skeels, Logan Hughes; Sophomores Chad Dayharsh, Tristan Hayes, Maverick Slavin, D.J. Ott, Sean Parker.
Pitching: Parker was the team’s top pitcher last season (3-3, 3.51 ERA). “We expect Sean to continue to pitch effectively and manage the game when on the mound,” Johnson said.
Outlook: The Maples veterans will be joined by four freshmen on the varsity – Joelden Griffin (P), Thomas Dayharsh (OF, RP), Solomon Hiatt (2B/SS) and Tyler Bruggerman (OF, P).
Coach says: “Despite being a young team, I expect our team to compete this year. We have many players who have been around the game their entire lives and who are comfortable playing with each other. I expect us to learn from mistakes early in the year and be competitive throughout the season.”
Coach: Eric Schmidt, first season
2021: 35-7, won LCAA, district
Top players: Brendan Holland (P, OF), Henry Smith (1B), Chase Collyer (P-OF), Owen Pixley (DH), Ty Cantrell (CF), Gabe Jones (C-P), Ethan Stines (SS).
Pitching: Holland (6-3, 2.01 ERA, 60 strikeouts last season) has already had an impressive win on the mound this season, beating Whiteford in the opener. “As a lefty he has great movement on his pitches which makes it challenging for batters to get comfortable against him,” Schmidt said.
Outlook: Schmidt will start an all new infield but has most of the outfield back and some talented newcomers.
Coach says: “I think the team really gained some valuable experience last year making the postseason run. Allowing some of the younger players to come along for the post season run allowed them to get a taste of what that success feels like. I am really excited to see what this team can do this season.”
Head coach: Andy Clark, ninth season (2004-10, 2020-Present)
Top players: Mason Mueller (SS-P), Nico Johnson (OF-P), Gavin Schroen (OF-P), Hunter Wynn (1B), Noah McRobert (C-P), Brayden Shiels (OF), Connor Tripp (OF), Logan Smith (OF). Pitching: Johnson had some big moments on the mound last season (2-1, 3.00 ERA). “He does a good job of keeping batters off balance with a good fastball,” Clark said.
Outlook: Mueller hit .423 and Johnson .368 last season. Mueller also pitches, as does Schroen.
Coach says: "If we can learn and accept our rolls on the team, I believe we will be competing throughout the season both in our conference and our district.”
Head coach: Joe Gilles, fourth season
Top players: Seniors Derek Tomalak, Ethan Herrington, Kyle Wenk; Juniors Ben Kennedy, Ryan Tschirhart.
Outlook: Tomalak hit 2.70 with 28 RBIs and 11 stolen bases last season; Kennedy hit .393 with a home run and 26 RBIs.
Pitching: Expect Tschirhart to be the team’s top pitcher.
Coach says: “We have a great mix of veteran players and younger guys that will contribute this year. We will lean on our seniors for leadership and expect the underclassman to push them to be better every day.”
Opener: Clinton plays Ida April 12 to open the season.
Head coach: Jeremy Beal, 17th season
Top players: Ambrose Horwath (P/OF), Anthony Arredondo (P/SS), Ethan Harris (P/1B), Jackson Miller (C), Nick Kopin (P/INF), Payton Rogers (INF), Blake Tremaine (P/OF), Bronson Marry (OF), Kannon Marry (P/INF).
Pitching: Horwath (41 strikeouts last year), Arredondo (5-2 with 57 strikeouts last season), Harris, Evan Topps.
Outlook: Hudson should challenge for the LCAA title and will look to make a run in the Division 4 state tournament.
Coach says: “We have a great senior class, and we are counting on them to provide leadership and production.”
Head coach: Jason Reed, first season
2021: 14-8-1, lost in regional finals
Top players: Jacob Morton, Ashur Bryja, Blake Dragowski
Pitching: Morton is the team’s best pitcher.
Coach says: “Although inexperienced in comparison to last year we have the pieces to have another fantastic season. Development as the season progresses will be key.”
First game: The Cougars open April 12 at Sand Creek.
Head coach: Chris Dubbs, 12th season
Top players: Walker Claiborne, Miles Frank, Hayden Stover, Bronson Scott, Austn Daniels.
Pitching: Frank starts the season as the Trojans’ go-to pitcher.
Outlook: Madison dropped a 3-2 decision to Adrian to open the season. The game went eight innings, and the Trojans were missing three starters. “The positive takeaway is that some of our younger guys gained valuable game experience early in the season,” Dubbs said.
Coach says: “The guys with limited experience are the key to our success. If they are up to the challenge, we should have a quality season.”
Head coach: Steve Hartman, first season
Top players: Hartman declined to name anyone on his team or provide a roster, saying Morenci has 14 players “that work well together.”
Coach says: “We have a great group of veteran leaders with some fresh talent mixed in. Pitching looks solid. Players are stepping up where needed and everyone has been working really hard.”
Head coach: Matt Randall, 12th season at Onsted
To players: Seniors Lincoln Lapinski, Broc Schoemaker, Logan Hunt, Harrison Moore, Logan Klotz, Brody Giroux.
Pitching: Lipinski (5-2, 1.15 ERA last season) and Shoemaker, both who are headed to Adrian College, are projected to be the top Wildcat starters while Logan Hunt (4-1, 1.73 ERA with 52 strikeouts last year) will be the closer. He throws in the mid-80s. “He would be No. 1 on most high school teams,” Randall said.
Coach says: “I have never had a pitching staff this good and this deep. We have seven seniors. Their leadership will be the key to our success this year.”
Note: Onsted is off to a 3-0 start after sweeping Tecumseh and beating Britton Deerfield last week.
Head coach: Wayne Perry, 6th season
Top players: Seniors John Alexander, Geroge Hillard, Dylan Hague, Zach Higgins, Carter Hulett, Braedon Nichelson, Luke Quintero, Tommy Perkey and Blain Wheeler.
Outlook: Alexander hit .357 with 23 RBIs and 21 stolen bases last season. Hillard hit .325 and scored 26 runs.
Coach says: “We need to put the ball in play, play clean defensively, throw strikes and have a couple of players step up.”
Head coach: Tom Bullinger, 15th season
Top players: Seniors Seth Austin (3B), Matt Samborski (OF), Aden Schmidt; Junior Jacob Burns (SS/1B).
Pitching: Jobe Benschoter is the only Tecumseh pitcher with experience. He went 6-1 with a 1.51 ERA and 43 strikeouts last season.
Coach says: ‘We have a lot of inexperience, but we have competitors. We will look to get better each game, learn from mistakes we will make and try to be our best at the end of the year.”
Note: Tecumseh is 0-2 after losing a doubleheader to Onsted at Adrian College.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Lenawee County baseball programs ready for 2022 season