By: Daniel Stickradt
BASEBALL: New Lothrop still has its sights set on the big prize
BY DAN STICKRADT
NEW LOTHROP — It’s safe to say that New Lothrop was living the dream on the baseball diamond last spring.
The Hornets put together a stellar 41-4 record on the diamond — one of the highest win totals ever recorded by a Michigan prep team — but the ending was a bit of a nightmare.
Ranked third heading into the tournament, New Lothrop lost in the Division 3 state title game to top-ranked Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett, 12-0, at Michigan State University. The dreams of glory dashed in under two hours in utter nightmarish fashion.
“And Liggett is (voluntarily) moving up to Division 1 this season — thank God,” joked New Lothrop coach Benjamin Almasy. “We didn’t have a good day to say the least. Nothing went right. And Liggett was an all-star team.
“We had a great run last season. We beat I think three ranked teams to get to the finals,” continued Almasy. “We had a tough road. Now, I know we won't win 41 games again this season — that was incredible. But I think we’ll still be pretty good. We have to replace three all-staters. We have a nice group coming back and some nice new younger kids.”
The cupboard is not bare for the Hornets, who began the season 5-1. The school had numerous cancellations in April, plus spring break.
“I think what we need now is just (consistent) games to sort it out,” said Almasy. “You don't just replace three all-staters. We’ve had to move some people around. I still like our team. We should be very competitive. We’re just waiting to get into a sort of rhythm and see what we can do.”
With Quintin Taylor, (Wayne State), Steve Garza (Cornell) and Cam Pope (Kalamazoo College) all gone to the college ranks to play various sports, New Lothrop has had had to shuffle the lineup as well as promote new players into positions and pitching staff.
Two All-State players are back amongst the six returning starters. Junior SS-P Nic Johnson and junior P-C-INF Zac Besant are back to lead the way. As a sophomore Besant finished 13-1 on the mound.
Senior 1B Carter Hemgesberg, senior 3B Max Wendling, sophomore OF-P Nathaniel Lane and junior OF Riley Hefner were also regulars in the starting lineup.
Sophomore 2B Kollin Lineau, junior OF Josh Corrin, senior 1B Tom Herrera, senior OF Kyle Breiler, junior newcomer Brice Linear (1B-OF) and junior OF-P Mason Ruddy will all see time on the field. Injured during football, Ruddy is just coming back, while Linear is new to the roster and should help.
“We do have some depth at some positions and a few guys that can throw strikes,” noted Almasy. “We have the potential to be good again.
“We have a lot of very good athletes,” continued Almasy. “We have football players, a few wrestlers, basketball players. Now we are getting into baseball mode. Few of our kids specialize. We have such tremendous community support here in New Lothrop — for all of the sports. It’s a great community to coach in and belong to.”
And New Lothrop is used to winning, around every corner.
“For the past decade, it’s been a great run here. Most of our sports are (quality) programs,” said Almasy.
New Lothrop used to winning. Something the Hornets baseball team plans on doing once again this spring.