By: John Raffel
Brett Upton gets job done for Beal City
Beal City had a lot of special players on its Division 4 state championship baseball tea, this season
Front and center is senior pitcher Brett Upton.
In the 10-0 state championship win over Unionville-Sebewaing, Upton allowed one hit and two walks while striking out eight batters.
Upton played varsity four seasons, including the last two for coach Steve Pickens. But 2018 was Upton’s best season of the two.
“He was a little more mature this year and stayed focused,” Pickens said. “Especially the last half of this season; he really turned on the jets for us and made sure when it was his turn to pitch, he was ready to pitch.”
Upton was 8-2 this season, losing only to Bay City Western, ranked No. 1 in Division 1 in the postseason season poll and to Bay City John Glenn.
“He works at it,” Pickens said. “He works at his game. He plays summer ball, year round. He’s been a three-sport athlete going through. He really concentrates on baseball. He enjoys it. He was determined this year.”
Upton’s strength was his fastball.
“This last year, he located it better,” Pickens said. “He had a curveball as well but didn’t fall in love with it like he did in prior years. He knew he could throw the ball by them. During the tournament run, he had a change-up, which was a key. It tailed away from the hitters and kept them off balanced.”
The championship game was Upton’s best performance, as far as Pickens was concerned.
His position was mostly third base if he wasn’t pitching.
“Upton was batting in the .400s but faced select pitching in the tournament which dropped his average somewhat, Pickens said.
He was among the team top three hitters.
Upton will be playing for Mott Community College.