Edison, Buchanan Clutch When It Counts Most to Earn Saturday Return

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

June 17, 2022

Even Detroit Edison coach Mark Brown couldn’t really believe it afterwards.

If you would have told Brown before a Division 3 Semifinal against Pewamo-Westphalia that his team would have gotten four hits, committed three errors and his four seniors would’ve gone 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts, he wouldn’t have thought they would be coming back to McLane Stadium on Saturday.

“I would not have believed that,” Brown said. “Especially against a good team like Pewamo-Westphalia. I would not have thought that.”

But somehow, some way, Edison got it done, advancing to its first championship game with a 3-2 win over the Pirates.

The Pioneers (25-12) prevailed through a combination of clutch pitching, clutch hitting and taking advantage of P-W miscues.

Sophomore starter Marwynn Matthews grinded through six innings of work, allowing just two runs and pitching out of jams.

Pewamo-Westphalia loaded the bases in the third inning, but Matthews got out of it with a strikeout. He also stranded a runner at third base in the fourth inning and another at second base in the fifth inning before pitching a 1-2-3 sixth.

“I feel it was a great choice to put me on the mound,” Matthews said. “I felt like nobody could do it better than me. I was trying to work on the outside corners, inside, change-ups low in the dirt and curve balls. Just a mixture of things.”

At 99 pitches to start the top of the seventh, Matthews was pulled in favor of senior Greg Pace, who got the first two outs before a hit batter, wild pitch and walk put runners at first and third.

But Pace induced a weak groundout to first to end the game. 

“I’m just trying to throw strikes at that point,” Pace said. “It was a relief. I knew I could trust anybody the ball was hit at.”

Matthews also had two hits to lead the limited offensive production for Edison. 

Senior Tanner Wirth and junior Trent Channell each had two hits to lead Pewamo-Westphalia (23-11-2), which also committed three critical errors and a couple of baserunning mistakes that halted rallies. 

“Sometimes the results don’t necessarily match the results,” Pewamo-Westphalia head coach Curt Nurenberg said. “But you keep on pushing on and moving on. I thought they did a great job.” 

Edison opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning with two runs. After Matthews reached on an infield single, he stole second and took third when the throw went into centerfield. Matthews then scored on an infield error. 

Following a wild pitch that put another runner in scoring position, Edison took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single with two outs by sophomore Deshaun Williams. 

The Pirates cut Edison’s lead to 2-1 in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Channell, but Matthews stranded the potential tying run on third base. 

Edison then got the run back in its half of the fourth on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore Kole Waterman, again with two outs. 

After putting runners on second and first with one out in the fifth inning, Pewamo-Westphalia made it 3-2 on a fielder’s choice groundout when a throw to first to complete a double play got by the Edison first baseman.

Click for the full box score.

Buchanan 6, Standish-Sterling 1 (8 innings)

Up until Buchanan senior Matt Hoover stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth inning, it had been a pile of frustration for the Bucks in the second Division 3 Semifinal.

Buchanan had gone 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position when Hoover took his turn with a runner on second base and one out in a 1-1 game.

“All week, I was hitting high curve balls off the machine over and over again, just seeing the spin at the top of the zone, not trying to do too much and put it in right-center” Hoover said. “I did that all week, and finally got my one in the right spot.”

Buchanan baseballIndeed, just as he did in batting practice, Hoover laced an RBI single to right-center to score junior teammate Cade Preissing and give Buchanan a 2-1 lead.

As it turned out, it also burst a dam for the Bucks, who went on to score five runs total in the inning and earn a return trip to McLane.

The win also earned some redemption for Buchanan (28-4), which was shut out in a Semifinal last year by Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. 

“Our kids have been on a quest from Day 1,” Buchanan coach Jim Brawley said. “They’ve only wanted to get back here. Last weekend, we didn’t even care about the Regional trophy. Their goal was to get to the championship game.”

Following Hoover’s hit, senior Macoy West sent a two-run triple to center and sophomore Nick Finn added an RBI single to give Buchanan a 5-1 lead. A sixth run scored on a wild pitch. 

With Hoover, the team’s ace, at 25 pitches after coming on to relieve starter Drew Glavin in the sixth inning, Buchanan elected to re-insert Glavin in the eighth to finish the game and preserve Hoover for the Final. 

The matchup was a pitchers’ duel between Standish-Sterling senior Chase Raymond and Glavin for the first five innings, with neither allowing a run. 

Raymond pitched a scoreless sixth, and then Standish-Sterling broke the tie in its half of the inning. 

With one out, Raymond dumped a blooper over the second baseman’s head to score senior teammate Cole Prout and give Standish-Sterling a 1-0 lead. 

Buchanan answered in the top of the seventh, putting runners on second and third with nobody out after a single by senior Murphy Wegner and a double by West. The Bucks tied the game at 1-1 when Wegner was safe at home on a fielder’s choice groundout.

However, it could’ve been a lot worse for Standish-Sterling.

With runners again on second and third and nobody out, Raymond got out of the jam via a popup, fielder’s choice groundout and a strikeout to keep the game tied. 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Edison’s Kole Waterman powers into a pitch during his team’s Division 3 Semifinal win. (Middle) Buchanan celebrates its extra-inning victory in Friday’s final game.

Savoring Every Moment, Meyers Helping North Muskegon Extend Memorable Run

By Tom Kendra
Special for MHSAA.com

May 29, 2024

Ben Meyers is cherishing every second of his senior baseball season – because he has learned, on several occasions, how quickly everything can be taken away.

West MichiganMeyers is the leader of Division 3 top-ranked North Muskegon, which already has eclipsed the 30-win plateau heading into this weekend’s District tournament.

“I think we’re in a really good spot,” said Meyers after a rare loss, 3-1, on May 23 against neighboring rival Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

“We are playing some good teams before Districts to help get us ready. Everyone is trying to get ready and get focused to make a run.”

Meyers, who splits time between the critical positions of catcher and shortstop, is either first or second on the team in almost every statistical category – notably with a .425 batting average, 48 hits, 40 RBIs, 49 runs and a sparkling .980 fielding percentage.

His leadership skills are even more important as one of just four seniors for the young Norsemen, who start three juniors and four sophomores.

North Muskegon, which is 30-5 and 12-0 against West Michigan Conference opponents (NM has won 35 consecutive WMC games), opens District play against Kent City on Saturday at Montague.

Meyers was in a similar leadership role for the North Muskegon football team this fall, before breaking his fibula on the second play from scrimmage during the third game of the season against Mason County Central.

Meyers worked tirelessly, and his team kept winning, giving him the chance to get back on the field for the Division 7 Regional Final against Pewamo-Westphalia, where he started on defense and made a slew of tackles and even recovered a fumble – before the unthinkable happened in the third quarter.

The outside linebacker bit on a play-action pass and when he planted his foot, he heard a familiar pop from the same leg and knew immediately his football comeback was over.

North Muskegon won a thriller over P-W that day, but Meyers was sidelined and unable to help his team the following week as its playoff run ended with a 32-21 loss to Menominee in the Division 7 Semifinals.

Meyers, playing shortstop, throws to first base. “Right when that second injury happened, I knew that basketball was done, too, but I was determined to get healthy and make the most of baseball season,” explained Meyers, whose junior brother, Charlie Meyers, is also a standout three-sport athlete. “It’s made me extra focused, for sure. I know I can’t take a single game or a single play for granted.”

Meyers missed his entire senior basketball season – another memorable campaign as NM followed up an undefeated football regular season with a 20-0 basketball regular season, before falling to P-W in a Division 3 Regional Semifinal.

Now healthy, Meyers – who has committed to play baseball at Davenport University in Grand Rapids – would love to cap off an already record-breaking year for North Muskegon sports with a run to the Baseball Finals at Michigan State University’s McLane Stadium. NM advanced to the Regional Finals last spring before losing to Lansing Catholic.

Garret Moyer, in his third year as North Muskegon’s head coach, normally pencils Meyers into the third spot in the batting order, but has at times slotted him first or second because of his versatility.

“As good of a player as Ben is, he is an even better teammate,” said Moyer, who is assisted by Collin Houseman and Ryan Mieler. “He is team-first in everything he does. Everybody in our program looks up to him.”

Meyers is especially adept at handling NM’s deep pitching staff. The Norse have a pair of aces in senior Ryan Delora (committed to Lansing Community College) and sophomore Logan Slimko, but also a slew of capable arms behind them – notably Jaxon Bean, Ace Anderson and Kylan Nielsen.

While Meyers is moving up the all-time state rankings in career hits and RBIs, perhaps his most impressive skill is stealing bases. Meyers has a team-high 34 stolen bases this season and more than 100 for his career – an unheard-of number for a catcher.

“I’m not that fast, but my secret is knowing how to get a good jump,” said Meyers, who noted that playing catcher helps him with that.

The son of Dan Meyers and Katie Brewer, he also finds time to work as a field technician at Trace Analytical and carries a 3.97 GPA. He plans to major in supply chain management at Davenport.

North Muskegon’s outstanding season is being played out against the backdrop of a small-town turf war between the school’s soccer and baseball programs. NM’s James B. Johnson Baseball Field (affectionately known as “The Shipyard”) was razed this offseason in favor of new soccer fields, with final plans for a new baseball stadium still in the works.

In the meantime, the Norsemen have played all of their 35 games on the road, utilizing Muskegon Community College, historic Marsh Field, Fruitland Field, Softball World and other locations for games and practices.

Meyers acknowledges that the loss of their home field was a big issue for much of the season but, at this point, the team is focused on other things – namely, having fun playing as many games as possible together.

And he said the team is now using the lack of a home field as a mental motivator.

“We’ve been driving all over for practices and games for a couple of months now,” said Meyers. “We’re used to it. I mean, what team is more ready for the state tournament and all of the travel than us?”

Tom KendraTom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS (Top) North Muskegon’s Ben Meyers talks with one of his coaches while standing on third base. (Middle) Meyers, playing shortstop, throws to first base. (Photos courtesy of the Local Sports Journal.)