By: John Raffel
Chippewa Hills baseball team looking for momentum
Chippewa Hills' Brett Walcutt threw a no-hitter early in the season and the Warriors started out at 12-0. They appeared ready to make a major charge, but have slumped since then and were unable to defend their crowns in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division.
But the team will still be above .500 entering the districts, which they will host. Walcutt, while reflecting on his early season successes, remains upbeat about the rest of the season.
His junior baseball season was shortened after he broke his leg, but then Walcutt focused on having a solid senior season.
Walcutt pitched a no-hitter against Fremont and issued just three walks. It was his first career no-hitter.
"I threw a lot of strikes and let my defense make some great plays behind me," he said.
It's his fourth varsity season, and Walcutt appears on be on track for it to be his best. Getting ahead of hitters has been a strength for Walcutt on the mound. He's gotten better each season.
Walcutt broke his leg on his home diamond last season when he collided with the left fielder while trying to make a play.
"I knew right away, it didn't feel right," he said.
Walcutt was out about four weeks and returned very late in the season. He got back into 100 percent shape about four weeks later.
Walcutt batted more than .400 as a sophomore and indicated he's a smarter hitter this season.
"I just want to be a leader this year," he said.
He was honorable mention (freshman) and first team all-conference (sophomore) in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division as a sophomore.
Despite their recent struggles, the Warriors can do well in the postseason, as far as Walcutt is concerned.
"If we keep hitting the ball and throwing strikes, the sky's the limit," Walcutt said.
Both Chippewa Hills' track team won Central State Activities Association Gold Division titles, but more significantly, the Chippewa Hills girls coached by Sally Schafer, crossed the 100-mark for consecutive wins when they beat Evart and Pine River on April 4. A month later, they clinched their 15th straight conference title.
Hannah Todd, a sprinter, has been leading the Warrior attack. The boys have been led by German foreign exchange student Friedrich Zernicke.
Zernicke has been among the Warriors' top point producers and usually picks up a few first places.
The pole vault has been one of his best events. He took fourth at the Saginaw Valley State Indoor Invitational on March 23. In the following six meets, he was first place including on April 18 in a Central State Activities Association Gold meet when he had a personal record of 15 feet.
In the long jump, including at the SVSU meet, His personal record of 22-9 ½ also came in the CSAA gold meet.
Looking at the pole vault, Zernicke is looking at the school record which is 15-7. He also pole vaulted in Germany.
“I think I have gone higher in practice,” he said. “It's the mental thing, Obviously, you need to strengthen the whole body. Then you have to be mentally ready.”
Mount Pleasant softball
It's been a good season for coach Ted Mcintyre's Oilers. After 25 games, they were ranked as high as 10th in Division I polls and had a 23-2 overall record. At one stage of the season, the Oilers were hitting .379 as a team, led by Hannah Carlson, Oaklie Mogg, Allison Conway, Ellyn Ecker and Kate Saxton, with batting averages of .400 or higher. Carlson is a Miss Softball candidate and Mogg is another all-state candidate. In 15-0 and 8-3 wins over Gaylord, Mogg pitched a no-hitter and also had three hits, including a grand slam home run, and eight RBIs.
Beal City baseball
The Aggies are making a name for themselves in the Division 4 ranks. In the most recent state coaches baseball ratings in Division 4, the Aggies were 18-7-2 overall and ranked No. 9. In a showdown of Highland Conference powers on May 12, Beal City swept previously undefeated league foe Pine River 7-3 and 9-7. The Aggies are coached by Steve Pickens, who took over for Brad Antcliff. Under Antcliff, Beal City won two state titles.
Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart
The Irish have been making a bid for the MSAC baseball title despite being 11-10 overall. A 9-4 and 10-5 doubleheader sweep over Vestaburg on May 8 improved the Irish's league mark to 9-2 Joe Methner had a four-hitter and struck out 12 in the first game, for the Irish. Cross DeLau, Noah Schaffer and Carter Lowe were among the leading hitters for the winners.