Going out in Stiles

April 18, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Not to call it effortless, but pitching has been a pretty smooth part of Nick Stiles’ high school career.

He holds multiple school Bath records, including for single-season and career strikeouts, and his career ERA is under 1.00.

But the school record he’s on the cusp of holding alone will mean the most.

Stiles, a senior, is tied with former Bees all-stater Brennan Powers with 33 career wins. That means a few things – Stiles has been resilient, beaten some pretty good teams in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, and gotten help from teammates behind him defensively and at the plate.

“It’s a pretty cool deal. It will be pretty nice to be able to be remembered at the high school for something,” Stiles said. “It’s easy to pitch in high school. It’s not always easy to win.”

Stiles dialed his fastball up to 90 miles per hour last season, and that remains his go-to pitch. He’s been playing baseball since he was 6, and always was a hard thrower for his age. But he learned how to pitch instead of just throw on his 14-and-under summer team, and was a major part of the Bees’ Division 3 Semifinal run in 2010. Bath fell in that round 3-0 to eventual champion Shepherd, on what was Stiles’ 16th birthday.

“That year, we weren’t really expected to do anything as far as win that many games,” Stiles said. “I guess I got something out of it; just play every game like it’s the last one of the season.”

He hopes to take the Bees to the last game of this season to finish his high school career. It could also mark the end of his baseball career – although he has some college interest, Stiles also is his school’s valedictorian and might end up at Michigan State as a student only.

“It would be nice to go back to Battle Creek to play for a state championship, obviously,” Stiles said. “If it works out, it does. If not, I enjoyed my time.” 

Click to read more about Stiles and this week's other High 5s honorees.

PHOTO: Stiles started in center field and come on to pitch in relief during Bath's 2010 Semifinal against Shepherd.

For Coach: Powers Completes 1st Title Run for 42-Year Leader Dutkowski

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

June 15, 2024

EAST LANSING — On behalf of this current Flint Powers Catholic baseball team, Saturday’s message was loud and clear to past players, alumni and school officials:

We finally did it for Tom. 

Tom would be longtime head coach Tom Dutkowski, who after 42 years and 872 wins finally got to coach in a state championship game Saturday. 

Not only did Powers get there for Dutkowski, but the Chargers delivered win No. 873 and his long-awaited first title as coach with an 11-0 defeat of Spring Lake in the Division 2 Final at McLane Stadium. 

“We just made Flint Powers history, and to be a part of that is amazing,” Powers senior Fischer Hendershot said. “We have a lot of alumni and a lot of alumni on the coaching staff. To do it for the coaching staff, everyone here, everyone in Powers, every alumni and everyone who cares about us is a great feeling.” 

The Chargers’ Fischer Hendershot delivers a pitch.After accepting the championship trophy and raising into the air triumphantly, Dutkowski reflected on the journey and long wait.

It was the third title for Powers baseball, joining the 1974 and 1980 championships. Dutkowski was an assistant on the 1980 team. 

“I played in ’73 here, and my joke for that was that I taught the ’74 guys everything they knew and then they won a state championship the next year,” Dutkowski said. “We won it in ’80 with just a gritty team. My third year as a head coach we got to the final four in Class A, and I figured this was going to happen every three years. And then it was a 39-year drought in terms of that.”

The game ended after five innings via the run differential rule and capped off a fairly dominant season for Powers — or at least as dominant as a baseball team can be for a season.

The Chargers finished 37-6 and outscored opponents by a combined 57-13 during the MHSAA Tournament.

The only close call during the playoffs came in Friday’s Semifinal, when Powers blew a 3-0 lead to Trenton before prevailing in the bottom of the eighth inning, 4-3, on a walk-off single by senior Gavin Darling. 

“These guys, they never flinched and they never wavered,” Dutkowski said. “They developed into being a great team, not just individual talent.”

Powers wasted no time against Spring Lake, taking a 2-0 lead with one out in the top of the first inning on a two-run double to the gap in left-center by Darling. After a ground out, Darling scored on a Spring Lake throwing error to give Powers a 3-0 lead. 

Powers added another run in the second inning on a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-0. 

Teammates congratulate Michael Klein (6) as he returns to the dugout.In the third, Powers scored four runs to take an 8-0 lead on an RBI single by Hendershot, a walk with the bases loaded and a two-run single by freshman Connor Kelly. 

Powers then put three more runs on the board in the fourth inning to take an 11-0 lead. 

Hendershot was the winner on the mound, allowing two hits and striking out five in five innings of work. 

Spring Lake also was attempting to win its first Finals title, but had to settle for its third runner-up finish (to go with those from 1995 and 1978). 

The Lakers finished 32-10. 

“They are a good team, and this was their year,” Spring Lake head coach Bill Core said. “We just couldn’t keep them off of the bases, and our pitching wasn’t as sharp as it’s been. We gave them a couple of free passes, and they mixed in some good hitting. That’s a good team, and that’s why they’ve been ranked No. 1 in the state all year.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Flint Powers Catholic raises its championship trophy to complete the 2024 baseball season Saturday evening at McLane Stadium. (Middle) The Chargers’ Fischer Hendershot delivers a pitch. (Below) Teammates congratulate Michael Klein (6) as he returns to the dugout.