Prep Baseball Report

2024 Spring Team Preview: Lake Orion Dragons

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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With 2023 now in the past, PBR Michigan is eagerly anticipating bringing the state the best high school coverage that can be found anywhere in 2024. Starting in February, we began releasing team previews for squads across the state. Ahead, we will have Preseason All-State Teams as well as the Preseason State Rankings coming your way.

To view the full list of 2024 Team Previews that we have already completed, please click here.

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2024 Spring Team Preview: Lake Orion Dragons

LAKE ORION - It won’t take Andy Schramek long to pick up his 600th coaching win at Lake Orion.

The head coach of the Dragons since 1999 currently stands 599-240 following a 29-17 campaign that included district wins over West Bloomfield and two-time defending state champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. After defeating Lakeland in the regional semifinals, Lake Orion lost to Macomb Dakota in the Division I regional finals.

Schramek, who led the Dragons to the state championship in 2007 and has reached the quarterfinals five times during his tenure, is expecting continued success ahead.

“We try to develop multi-dimensional offensive players that can compete in any type of game against any pitcher,” Schramek said about the philosophy of the program. “Defensively, we try to make the routine play and turn fly balls in the air into outs. We try to pressure opposing defenses and run.

“We want our pitchers to attack the zone and use the defense,” Schramek continued. “We do have several talented pitchers who can strike hitters out this coming season.”

It starts with Duke commit Kael Gahan, the 42nd-ranked 2024 left-handed pitcher in the nation who is rated second in the state among senior southpaws. Gahan was 7-1 with a 0.733 ERA last year, fanning 107 in 57.1 innings.

Evan Dempsey, a Spring Arbor recruit, threw 28 innings and was 2-1 a year ago while junior Sam Beemer, the 16th-ranked 2025 RHP in Michigan who has offers from Big 10 schools, did not allow an earned run in his two innings pitched, striking out four.

“We have pitching depth and it’s high level,” noted Schramek. “Pitching should be a battle for the most important innings.” 

But there is more that makes Lake Orion a contender with the chance to make waves this season.

“Our top five hitters should be productive,” Schramek said.

However, there are concerns that must be addressed.

“Experience in the middle infield is missing,” Schramek pointed out. “We need to find some players to fill in there, but we do have options.”

Alma commit Joey Hogan, Lansing CC signee Korbin Smith, Ryan McCartan and Carson Womack are among those that saw action last year. Womack hit .321 with 23 RBIs, McCartan batted .306 with 15 runs scored and 14 RBIs.

Returning juniors include Brandon Nepjuk, Charlie Crissman, Tristan Hill and Travis Acker. Nepjuk hit .259 with 18 RBIs and 12 runs scored, Crissman carried a .333 average, Hill batted .220 with 11 runs scored and 11 driven in while Acker brought home 17 and scored 14 while averaging .214.
Gahan will also bring experience with the bat after hitting .222 as a junior.

“I think we have a great opportunity to be very good this year,” Schramek said. “If we commit to doing things the right way all the time, I like our chances.”

2024 Spring Team Preview: Lake Orion Dragons

Team Name: Lake Orion Dragons
Head Coach: Andy Schramek
Division: 1
2023 Record: 25-17
2023 Tourney Finish: Regional Semifinals loss to Dakota
Returning Starters/Pitchers: 5/3

Coach Outlook: "We need to play to a standard at every game."

2024 Team Strengths:

  • Pitching
  • Leadership
  • Experience

Top Returning Players:

  • Brandon Nepjuk, JR.
  • Carson Womack, SR
  • Evan Dempsey, Sr
  • Jack Hegerberg, Sr
  • Joe Hogan, Sr
  • Kael Gahan, Sr
  • Korbin Smith, Sr
  • Kyle Purdy, Sr
  • Matt Freijy Sr
  • Max Timph, Sr
  • Ryan McCartan, Sr
  • Travis Acker, Jr
  • Tristan Hill, Jr

Class of 2024 Prospects To Keep Eye On:

  • Kael Gahan (Video Below)
  • Ryan McCartan
  • Carson Womack

Class of 2025 Prospects To Keep Eye On:

  • Travis Acker
  • Brandon Nepjuk
  • Tristan Hill
  • Sam Beemer, JR

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