Plymouth Christian Academy, Beal City Match Shutouts To Advance in D4

By Tim Robinson
Special for

June 16, 2023

EAST LANSING — For Beal City and Plymouth Christian Academy, a fast start proved key to victory in Friday’s Division 4 Semifinals at McLane Stadium.

Plymouth Christian (34-7) earned its first Finals berth with an 8-0 win over Rudyard, while Beal City (30-8) reached the championship game for the second year in a row with an 8-0 win over Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep, 8-0.

The Eagles and Aggies will play for the Division 4 title at 5 p.m. Saturday.

In both games, the winning team scored the only run it would need in the first inning. 

For Plymouth Christian, it came on a triple by starting pitcher Jordan Scott.

“It was a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Scott said. ”You never know going into a game if you’re going to get a hit or not, and to get that first hit lifted that weight.”

Scott let his arm do the rest, scattering seven hits while striking out five with no walks. 

A Beal City hitter steps back to avoid an inside pitch.The Eagles also took advantage of four Rudyard errors and a passed ball that led to a run. 

“Errors kind of feed on each other sometimes,” Plymouth Christian coach Joe Bottorff said. “All of our batters are good base runners, even though it didn’t look like it at times. We have aggressive baserunners, and we can get around the bases. We’ve got good speed.”

The Eagles had a balanced attack, too, scattering 10 hits among seven players, led by Micah Lavigne, who had a double while going 3-for-4. 

After Scott gave PCA a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Eagles scored twice in the second and put the game out of reach with four runs in the fourth. 

Asked for a key to the Eagles’ success, Bottorff said “eight seniors,” before stopping to gather his emotions.

Aiden Bickel, who was the starting pitcher for Rudyard, had two hits for the Bulldogs. 

Rudyard (19-20) went into the game on a five-game winning streak, all of those victories coming during the postseason, and fell short in its bid to become the first team from the Upper Peninsula to play for a state title since Escanaba reached the 2006 Division 2 Final.

Click for the box score.

Beal City 8, Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep 0

For Beal City, the expectations – and results – have been very different. 

“Our goal every year is to play the last game of the season, in East Lansing, and we did that,” Aggies coach Brad Antcliff said. 

In fact, the Aggies are back in the Final for the second year in a row after falling to Riverview Gabriel Richard 4-3 in last season’s championship game. 

The Aggies’ Josh Wilson delivers a pitch during his shutout. Antcliff, who is in the first year of his second stint as Aggies coach, led the team to titles in 2009 and 2010 and got them back to the Final in 2013 and 2014.

Playing the first Division 4 Semifinal, Beal City (30-8) got off to an early start. With one out, Owen McKenny singled then scored on a double by Jack Fussman to give starting pitcher Josh Wilson the only run he would need.

The Aggies added two runs in the fourth inning on a single by Cayden Smith and a two-base error and put it out of reach when Smith doubled to drive in three runs in the sixth. Beal City added two more runs in the seventh.

Meanwhile, Hackett was handcuffed at the plate.

“All I needed to do was throw strikes,” said Wilson, who threw just 87 pitches in holding the Irish (24-15-1) to three hits while walking one and striking out five. “My teammates made great plays behind me. I just trusted my stuff, and my coaches trusted me.”

Click for the box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Plymouth Christian Academy’s Micah Lavigne lays out in pursuit of a drive to center field Thursday. (Middle) A Beal City hitter steps back to avoid an inside pitch. (Below) The Aggies’ Josh Wilson delivers a pitch during his shutout. (Photos by John Castine/Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.