D4 Finalists Ride Pitching to Saturday

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

June 17, 2016

EAST LANSING – No one knows better how good of a pitcher Andrew Manier is than Sterling Heights Parkway Christian catcher Alex Julio.

“He was something special today,” Julio said. “He’s a good pitcher, and has been. But today he was special.”

Manier didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the fourth inning, and the senior lefthander went the distance as Parkway Christian defeated reigning runner-up Centreville, 5-1, in a Division 4 Semifinal on Friday at McLane Stadium on Michigan State University’s campus.

The Eagles (22-11-1) will return to the Final for the first time since 2009 and play Portland St. Patrick (34-7) for the championship at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Neither school has won an MHSAA title in the sport.

Manier was never in serious trouble Friday. Parkway Christian scored four runs in the top of the first inning, and Manier did the rest. He walked two and struck out four, and the only inning he allowed two batters to reach base safely was the seventh when Centreville scored its run.

“In a big game like this you have to step up, calm your nerves,” Manier said. “I had two walks but I had great fielding behind me. The curve was working well. You have to keep the hitters off balance. I love the responsibility.”

The first inning gave Parkway Christian the 4-0 lead and momentum. Montana Essian executed a suicide squeeze that scored Manier, who doubled, for the first run. Julio followed with an RBI single and Jacob Bambrick had a two-run single.

Julio had another RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

Collin Kirby had an RBI single for Centreville (28-4).

The Bulldogs started Coletin Gascho on the mound but he lasted just one inning. Coach Mike Webster went with Alex Meyer for the final six.

Webster said Manier was one of the best pitchers his team had faced this season.

“He’s definitely top three,” Webster said. “He’s a competitive kid. That was the most talented team we’ve faced all year.”

Parkway Christian coach Rick Koch said this Semifinal victory was something that had been building for the past three years. The Eagles lost in the Quarterfinals in 2014 and reached a Regional Final last season.

“We thought we had the potential all three years,” he said. “We play for one run per inning. We know our pitching is solid. It is nice to get those four (runs). It helps to get the butterflies out.”

Click for the full box score.

Portland St. Patrick 2, Gaylord St. Mary 0

St. Patrick coach Bryan Scheurer went against conventional thinking and went with a freshman, and not his senior ace, in Friday’s Semifinal against Gaylord St. Mary.

Nathan Lehnert made his second cousin look like a genius, as Lehnert went six innings and allowed five hits, all singles, and walked only two.

St. Patrick will go for its first title after finishing runner-up (in Class D) in 1971, 1973 and 1993.

And Scheurer will start Travis Moyer against Parkway Christian. The Eagles are also expected to go with their ace, Riley McManus, in the final.

Moyer relieved Lehnert, walked the first batter and retired the next three in order.

“All he’s done as a freshman is to go 8-0 with an ERA of 1.00,” Scheurer said of Lehnert. “Some people say that was taking a risk. I don’t see it that way. To bring Travis back twice after three days’ rest was too much.”

Moyer went seven innings last Saturday in Regionals, then came back Tuesday and pitched seven innings in a 3-2 Quarterfinal victory over reigning Division 4 champion Muskegon Catholic Central.

“I talked to Travis and he said he was sore,” Scheurer said. “He said he’d go, but I looked at his body language.”

Dan Mackowiak’s bunt single scored Brendan Schrauben to give St. Patrick a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

St. Mary (31-6) loaded the bases with one out in the second before Lehnert struck out John Paul Zeilinski and got Ethan Szymanski to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.

The Snowbirds also loaded the bases the next inning but couldn’t come through with a two-out hit. Adam Nowicki reached base on an error to start the inning, and when Mackowiak made a diving catch of Nicholas Torsky’s line drive in the next at-bat, the momentum stayed with the Shamrocks.

St. Patrick added a run in the fifth, and St. Mary left the bases loaded again in the sixth to end Lehnert’s day.

“We just went at it as any other game,” Lehnert said. “Our game is revolved around small ball.

“Nervous? Yes. When we started to make plays, I wasn’t so nervous.”

Torsky pitched well for St. Mary as he also gave up five singles and he walked three.

“We hit some hard balls,” St. Mary coach Matt Nowicki said. “And they made some great plays. That’s baseball.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Parkway Christian’s Andrew Manier prepares to unload a pitch during Friday’s Semifinal win over Centreville. (Middle) St. Patrick’s Nathan Lehnert makes his way toward the plate while pitching the Shamrocks to the Division 4 Final.

Record-Setter Prout Helps Pace Standish-Sterling's 2022 Semifinals Run

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 27, 2023

Standish-Sterling’s run to the 2022 Division 3 Semifinals was driven in part by a record-setting offense, including a pair of senior standouts who posted single-season and career highlights.

The Panthers made the team record book in four categories, topped by a record 28 triples over 42 games. They also were added for 371 RBI (fourth all-time), 425 runs (12th) and 414 hits.

Cole Prout tied the MHSAA record for runs scored in one season with 84 and set the record with 27 career triples over three seasons (with 2020 canceled due to COVID-19). His 13 triples in 2022 tied for third on that list, while Chase Raymond’s 10 tied for 11th. Prout also tied for 12th all-time with 182 career runs, while Raymond is eighth on the single-season RBI list with 77 over 42 games in 2022 and earned a career RBI entry with 140.

Prout plays now at Central Michigan, and Raymond is playing at Saginaw Valley State.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA baseball record book:

Alden Stefanovski played a major role in Whitmore Lake reaching the 2022 Division 4 Semifinals. The senior also made the record book with 20 doubles over 33 games, the first from his school to earn a listing. He was joined in 2023 in the records by senior Alex Di Dio, who hit nine triples over 29 games and also three home runs in one game April 13 against Adrian Madison. Di Dio also was added for 13 triples and a .460 average for his three-season career, and he’s continuing at Kalamazoo College.

Trenton senior Jason Marshall was nearly unstoppable on the base paths during the 2022 season – and perfect stealing on them. He made the record book with 49 steals in 49 attempts, and also for seven triples over 35 games. He’s playing football at Eastern Michigan.

Trent Hagenbach finished his Saginaw Valley Lutheran career in 2022 tied for 11th on the career triples list with 16 despite not having a 2020 season and hitting all of them over the final two. He also made the records for his seven as a junior and nine as a senior.

Dansville had 10 pitchers contribute to its 388 strikeouts over 38 games during the 2022 season, a total which placed the Aggies second all-time. Tucker Mosley paced the team with 137 strikeouts.

Parchment’s Aaron Jasiak finished his three-season varsity career with seven record book entries, including one of the most impressive winning streaks all-time. He won all 26 pitching starts over his career, which didn’t start until his sophomore season because of the COVID-related cancelation of 2020. His winning streak is the seventh longest in MHSAA history, and his 0.87 ERA ranks 11th. He also made career lists with 163 runs scored, 112 stolen bases and a .460 batting average over 103 games, and his 60 steals over 38 games this spring rank 10th. He’s continuing at Hillsdale College.

Bay City Western finished 42-2 in winning the Division 1 championship in 2013, ranking sixth for most wins in a baseball season. The Warriors also tied the record with 21 shutouts, and their 1.02 ERA ranks fifth all-time.

Grandville Calvin Christian senior Blake Pettijohn struck out 20 batters in a 7-0 win over Belding on May 11, which tied for seventh-most for a seven-inning game. He’s continuing at Hope College.

Grant’s Oakley Obenauf made the single-season stolen bases list in the spring with 45 over 29 games – and was a major contributor as his team made the single-game list multiple times. He had a combined eight steals over two games as Grant swiped 13 and 11 bases during halves of a doubleheader May 11. Obenauf is a senior this school year.

Paw Paw reached the team record book this past spring after being hit by 50 pitches over 30 games. Seven players were hit by at least five pitches, with the team leader totaling 10.

Lansing Eastern earned its first record book entries from a pair of graduating seniors this spring. Dominic Wilson capped his three-season varsity career with 134 stolen bases, which rank 10th. He swiped a career-high 51 as a senior. Teammate Matthew Stevenson made the career batting average list at .472 despite getting only eight at bats as a sophomore because of an injury.

Benzie Central’s Wyatt Noffsinger enjoyed a memorable run to nearly finish off his high school career, throwing consecutive no-hitters against Buckley on May 24 and then Manton on June 3.

Okemos then-junior Caleb Bonemer earned his first record book entry with three home runs June 3 against Grand Ledge as his team clinched a Division 1 District title. Bonemer has committed to sign with Virginia.

After 45 years, Flint Southwestern’s Ruben Luna and Risto Nicevski were added for their accomplishments on the 1978 Class A championship team. Luna made the wins list with a record of 14-0 and the ERA list with a 0.71, and Nicevski made the ERA list with a 0.72. Both went on to play at Michigan State.

East Lansing’s Sam Busch enjoyed a career day on April 12, 2019, when he hit three home runs in consecutive at bats against Ionia. A junior that season, he’s now playing at Michigan State.

Powers North Central’s Adrian Mercier enjoyed a record-worthy junior season this spring. He hit .619 over 32 games, ranking 10th all-time for a single season.

Whitehall senior Cayden Ritchie chased and nearly caught the single-season stolen base record in 2021, when he tied for second with 72 steals over 36 games. He also made the single-game steals list five times, twice with a high of six.  

Aidan Liedeke capped his Brighton Charyl Stockwell career in the spring with some of the most impressive strikeout numbers in state history. Already listed for averaging 15.41 strikeouts per game as a junior in 2022, he averaged 14.92 Ks per game this spring to finish his three-season career at 15 strikeouts per game. He posted a 0.88 ERA in the spring as well to finish with a career 1.52. He’s playing at Kalamazoo College.

Killian Bies finished his Marshall three-season career in the spring among leaders all-time for getting hit by pitches. He already had tied for sixth as a sophomore in 2021 with 22 HBPs, and with 14 more both his junior and senior seasons he finished with 50 to rank fifth on that list. He’s continuing at Cornerstone.

PHOTO Standish-Sterling's Cole Prout (8) readies for a pitch during his team's 2022 Division 3 Semifinal.