All-time trio of athletes powers Blissfield to success

·8 min read

Jun. 11—BLISSFIELD — Whether it happens Saturday or the next week, Blissfield High School will be saying farewell to the best trio of three-sport athletes from one class the Royals have ever had.

In case there's an argument on that declaration, no less of an authority than Blissfield's 53rd-year baseball coach Larry Tuttle backed that assessment of seniors Gavin Ganun, Zack Horky, and Ty Wyman.

The threesome has paved the way for Blissfield's football, basketball, and baseball teams.

"We have a great bond together," Ganun said of his pals, who first played baseball together at age 7. "We all enjoy hanging out, and it's just fun. On or off the field, we're always together.

"This year has been unique for us. We won the league in all three sports, and that hasn't happened many times in school history. So, it's definitely been a special year."

The athletic ties have created a symbiotic relationship.

"They always know what I'm going to do, and I know what they're going to do," Horky said of Ganun and Wyman, "whether it's on the football field, the court, or the diamond. We just know what each other is going to do, because we've been together so long."

Added Wyman: "When we came to high school, all three of us had a goal to just win, win, win. Now that it's almost over, you've just got to really embrace it all, remember what you did, and be happy with everything that happened."

The success of the trio did not come easy.

"The thing that impresses you the most about them is their work ethic," Tuttle said. "They work at all three sports. They are the best and most complete group that we've ever had here as far as all three of them doing all three sports."

The trio this season helped Tuttle (1,332-429-5 career record) reclaim his title as the all-time wins leader in Michigan prep baseball history.

"Gavin is one of the hardest working athletes that I've ever dealt with, and he's knowledgeable," Tuttle said. "Not only is he good physically, but he's outstanding mentally, as well.

"Zack is an all-around athlete who plays everything to his maximum ability. He also has a great knowledge of the game. Ty plays all three sports just as hard. That's what's made all of these kids so special.

"They leave everything on the field, whether it's practice or in a game. You're going to get their best effort every time out."

ACADEMICS: Not only did this threesome compete on a high level in sports, but each ranked in the top 10 of their class academically when they graduated May 28.

Ganun, who carried a 4.25 grade-point average, was the school's valedictorian, Horky (4.05) ranked sixth, and Wyman (4.00) ranked eighth.

During his valedictory speech at the school's football stadium, Ganun talked of the memories his 2021 classmates had shared, and something else he and his two best friends knew a lot about — "striving for greatness."

Ganun and Horky will each play baseball on scholarship at Bowling Green State University next year. Ganun will be a pre-med major, and Horky will seek a degree in finance.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Ganun said of BGSU, where he will room with Horky. "I think it's going to be fun, and a great experience for both of us."

BASEBALL: The trio has led the Royals baseball team to a 35-6 overall record thus far, including a 13-1 first-place mark in the Lenawee County Athletic Association.

After beating Manchester 13-3 in a Division 3 regional semifinal on Wednesday, sixth-ranked Blissfield has advanced to face second-ranked Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (27-5) in a regional final on Saturday. That game, which will likely be moved from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is set for Liggett's home field.

Liggett has won five state titles, the last in D-3 in 2016, and has been runner-up three times, the last in 2019.

If the Royals pull the upset, they would meet the winner of other regional final — ninth-ranked Jackson Lumen Christi or unranked Riverview Gabriel Richard — in a state quarterfinal at Liggett at approximately 3 p.m. Saturday.

The state semifinals and finals are scheduled for June 18 and 19 at Michigan State University.

Tuttle, who turned 77 on June 6, has guided seven previous Blissfield teams to state championships, the last three coming in D-3 in 2000, 2002, and 2003.

This group of Royals does not have an overabundance of top-level pitching, like most of their past state championship teams have enjoyed. But, with the terrific trio in the lineup, they have a shot.

Ganun, a center fielder and pitcher, and Horky, a superb catcher, have highlighted Blissfield's offensive production with nearly equal success at the plate this season.

Horky is hitting a team-high .453 (63-for-139), with 52 runs scored, 20 doubles, nine home runs, and 59 runs batted in. Ganun is a point behind at .452 (61-for-135), with 79 runs scored, 20 doubles, 10 homers, and 42 RBIs.

"It helps that we have all of this competition on our own team," Ganun said. "We're always competing to be better than each other. It's good motivation."

As for Wyman, a shortstop and pitcher, he is hitting .349 (45-for-129) with 31 runs, four doubles, four homers and 51 RBIs.

All three players were voted first team All-LCAA this season.

Ganun's 79 runs broke the previous school record of 64, and his home run total is two behind Mike Melvin's record of 12 from 2001. His and Horky's single-season hit totals now rank first and second in program history, and Horky's RBI mark is just two behind Melvin's season-record 61 from 2002.

Had they not missed their 2020 junior season to the coronavirus pandemic, Tuttle believes they each may had a shot at approaching Derek Feldkamp's record of 31 career homers (1999-2002).

On the mound, both Wyman and Ganun have pitched 55 1/3 innings this season. Wyman is 9-0 with a 1.39 earned-run average, and Ganun is 9-1 with a 1.27 ERA.

Winning the LCAA baseball title this year completed a trio of league titles for the trio.

FOOTBALL: Blissfield was 8-1 overall (6-0 LCAA) during the pandemic-abbreviated football season, losing 16-13 on a last-minute field goal to league foe and eventual state runner-up Clinton in the third round of the Michigan Division 6 playoffs.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Ganun, a second team all-state quarterback, was 137 of 207 passing for 2,149 yards and 29 touchdowns. He closed his four-year QB career 416 of 762 for 6,491 yards and 75 TD passes.

The 6-3, 215-pound Horky an all-state receiver as well as a defensive back, caught 47 passes for 939 yards and 18 TDs, and closed his three-year varsity football career with 132 catches for 2,286 yards and 35 TDs.

Wyman, also a receiver, had 40 receptions for 566 yards in 2020.

"You see teams that have a lot of talent, but the team chemistry is not there," Horky said. "The fact that we've been playing together so long, that team chemistry is automatically there. We can just play loose."

BASKETBALL: The basketball season was also delayed and shortened by the pandemic but, led by the terrific trio, the Royals ended 13-3 overall and a first-place 11-1 in the LCAA, reaching the D-3 regional semifinals.

Wyman averaged 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and closed his four-year career with 1,367 points. Horky contributed 16.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, and Ganun added 10.4 points and 4.8 boards this past seaosn.

Wyman, who said his college basketball pursuits were hindered by the pandemic, which restricted recruiting opportunities and allowed additional seasons for last year's college players, indicated that he will attempt to join a college program this fall as a walk-on.

In the prior basketball (2019-20) season, Blissfield ended 19-2 with the state playoffs halted by the pandemic during the district stage of play.

Wyman praised coaches Gary Sullivan (basketball), Ron Estes (football), and Tuttle.

"All of our coaches are good role models and good leaders. They all had a common goal, which was just to win.

"It's surreal what coach Tuttle has done, and breaking the record for most wins. Now, we're making a little run in the tournament, so this would be the best way to go out."

HONORS: Horky has been selected to play for the East team in the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association's East-West all-star game at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield on June 26.

Two nights later, Horky will join Ganun to play on the West squad in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association's 40th East-West all-star classic, set for Comerica Park in Detroit on June 28.

But putting the final touches on their Blissfield careers is the only focus right now.

"I want to end our high school career on a win, which means obviously going the distance," Horky said. "That's the goal for all of us — to go out with a bang."

Whether or not the exit comes with with a bang, the bond is already secure.

"We'll break apart here," Wyman said of graduating, "but I feel like we have a relationship that will last forever. We will stay in touch with each other, and we will be rooting for each other wherever we go."

First Published June 11, 2021, 10:00am

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