By: John Raffel
Beal City seeks another championship season
Steve Pickens. head coach at Beal City this is my 3rd year here
Boys Varsity baseball
- Highlights from last season
Wow what can I say…..WE WERE STATE CHAMPS IN DIV 4
Our Season was a progressive one. We knew we had a good base of
Young men we just needed to put together all the pieces in the right place.
We started out by playing a pretty tough schedule that included teams in division 1, 2, 3.
We wanted to challenge our kids by seeing good pitching, hitting and fielding and allow them to
See where they would match up in the Central Michigan area.
Mother nature put her hand in things that resulted in the loss of 10 games not played early, but,
We managed to finish the season on the plus side going 12 -0 in the highland conference , 7 straight wins on our
Way to the state championship and 23 -8 overall for the year.
The boys matured well, Pitching got stronger, defense jelled, the bats were bombing and the team
Came together doing the little things that won ballgames. In the run in the state tournament we
Scored 66 runs an only gave up 5 in seven games. Timely hitting by seniors Kollin Sharrar, Aaron Schafer, and
Lucas Schumacher weighed big in success of becoming State Champs. But It was truly and team effort in all faucets of the game.
As I noted Pitching was one of our biggest keys. Seniors Brent Upton, Ryan Schafer and Jr. Keegon
Haynes lead the way. Upton threw 3 shutouts games with a 2 inning 5 strike out relief appearance
In the semi’s, to halt a rally by then # 4 ranked Gaylord St. Mary’s…He then went on to throw a 1 hitter
In a 6 inning mercy rule game in the finals against U.S.A.
After graduating 7 seniors from last year’s team we still have a very good core of returnees.
Keegon Haynes, Colby Berryhill and Nate Wilson have been varsity players for the last 3 years.
Seniors Austin Case, Adam Pung, Jr. Ty Schafer along with two returning sophomores Cameron Lynch and
Aiden Mindell round out the returners. All have significant playing time at the varsity level.
Key players for this year:
Keegon Haynes, Sr. 3 year starter, Pitcher, infielder, outfielder. #3 hitter in the lineup, Ace of the staff, plays anywhere.
Expecting another big year from him with the bat as well as a dominating role on the mound.
Colby Berryhill, Sr. 3 year starter, Catcher, outfielder, second baseman. Lead-off hitter with good speed on the base paths.
Expecting another good year with the bat and a leader on and off the field
Nate Wilson, Sr. 3 year starter, SS, Pitcher.
Expecting a solid defensive year at SS and more innings on the mound. Nate came on strong in the tournament last year with the Bat.
Hitting 476 with 9 RBI’s in 7 games…look for him to have a breakout year with the bat
Cameron Lynch, Soph. Catcher, outfielder. Injured early on last season finished the season starting catcher for regionals, quarterfinals, semi’s and finals
Expecting Cam to be a solid force behind the dish….handle the staff like he did the second half of the season last year.
He is a consistent hitter and looking for more power in the bat this year.
Austin Case, Sr., 2 year starter. Pitcher, first base, outfield.
Expecting Austin to be able to throw more innings at a higher level, and to be more confident in his secondary and third pitches
He has power in the bat but needs to be a little more consistent putting the ball in play
Adam Pung, Sr. 2 year player. Third Base Outfield. Mr. Hustle, team leader
Expecting Adam to lock down the third base position and keep up the improvement with the bat….He can hit for power and already
Shows sign of being that everyday player we need.
Ty Schafer, Jr. Pitcher, infielder. Brought up last year late season to Varsity after sharing most of the pitching duties on JV
Expecting Ty to resume good command of his pitches and play a solid defensive game in the field….
Aiden Mindel, Soph. Catcher, Pitcher, Outfielder . Brought up late season to varsity after sharing the pitching duties along with catching on JV
Expecting Aiden to be consistent with the bat at the varsity level and to be an important member of the pitching staff.
Jordan Childs, Sr., Returned to the program this year after sitting out last year. Solid glove good speed.
Expecting Jordan to develop into a stronger fielder and gain a little more consistency with the bat.
Wade Wilson, Fresh. Pitcher, outfielder
Expecting Wade to step right in the rotation of the pitching staff and to be a power source at the plate. He comes to varsity with
Good skills and a good knowledge of game… power in his bat and has above average speed.
Konnor Wilson, Fresh. Pitcher , infielder
Expecting Konner to step into the pitching rotation of the pitching staff and be a reliable defensive infielder, and catch up to varsity pitching with his bat
Brayden Haynes, Fresh. Pitcher, first base
Expecting Brayden step up into the pitching rotation of the pitching staff, be consistent on defense and catch up to the varsity level pitching with is bat
Brendon Martin, Fresh. Pitcher, Infielder, outfielder first base
Expecting Brenden to step up into the pitching rotation of the pitching staff, to gain much needed strength to help his hitting & pitching
4.4 What expectations do you have of your team.
I expect my team to have some fun while being very competitive every game….Yes a state champion repeat would be great. Yes I do feel
We could get there again, but it depends on the commitment of the kids. How much they put into their development to make themselves better as well as the
Time and work put in to making the team better.
We have a good core of returners back this year….quality JV players added to the varsity roster this year as well as a good group of Freshmen pushing
To make the field . I think the experience of playing and becoming state champs last year adds to the confidence of the kids. They know what it is like to get there and they know what has to be done to be successful.
Returning Pitchers Keegan Haynes, Austin Case an Nate Wilson with additions of Ty Schafer, Corey Mindel and a group of four freshmen that will probably work their way into some key roles in the rotation real quick like. With the new pitch count rules it always helps to have a good number of arms. Especially when mother nature rains (or snows) on your game days dictating a scrunched together season in order to get your games in.
Even though we lost our number 2, 3 and 4 hitters in last year’s line-up, we have returner to fill those slots right away.
Defensively we need to replace departed starters at first, second, third and centerfield. The good thing is there were comparable replacements already
playing those positions last year to step right in.
6.6 things needed to work on .
We just need to play…..to have a better understanding of how these guys will react to game situations …some of these kids will assume new positions and have a little more responsibility on their shoulders. It is so hard right now to determine just how good you are going to be when your confined to the gym so early in the season….
The highland conference is getting better and better every year…..there are a lot of very good coaches doing some very good things to make their programs stronger and more competitive. I see a very competitive league unfolding this year. Manton, Evart, Pine River, Lake City and McBain /McBain Christian combined are all division 3 schools. Beal City is the only remaining div 4 team for baseball .. Marion has changed conferences this year and Houghton Lake and Roscommon will be joining the highland conference next year.
Beal City has won the conference title for several year including a successful 12-0 record last year…
Our goal every year is to win the conference….I see us towards the top and even on top again this year if all goes right…..