Division 1 Team Of The Week: Week 5 - Howell

Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/Scout


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Division 1 Team Of The Week: Week 5 - Howell

HOWELL - After a 2-1 beginning to the season playing three games in Ohio, Howell entered the week riding a 14-game winning streak.

Doubleheader sweeps of Hartland, 8-4 and 5-2, and North Farmington, 15-5 and 6-4, has the Prep Baseball Report Division 1 Team of the Week at 16-1 on the season prior to a loss to Northville on Monday.

“Our pitching and defense has definitely stood out,” Howell head coach Jason Ladd said. “We have a really good staff, we can throw seven or eight guys out there. We have a lot of arms in the program and we’re doing a nice job behind them.”

With a senior-heavy team, strong leadership has been vital to the success of the Highlanders so far in 2022.

“They’ve put a lot of time and effort in, some for four years, and it’s their turn to shine,” Ladd said of his senior class of 10. “A lot of things can happen in baseball and we’re finding a way. They’re a pleasure to coach. They’re all about unity, all pulling together. There are no ‘me’ guys.”

Twin brothers Justin and Jackson Militello are two of the leaders this season for Ladd’s squad. Both Eastern Michigan commits, Justin is the ace of the staff with a 4-0 record and 1.00 ERA while Jackson catches. Justin is the 43rd-rated senior in the state and Jackson 44th.

Junior Owen Elsey is hitting .450 batting leadoff while also playing right field for Howell with seniors Jacob Gresham and Aidan Brennan other big sticks. A Heidelberg commit, Gresham plays short and carries a .350-plus average with Brennan, a center fielder, hitting better than .400.

Junior David Zilch, a right-hander, joins Militello in the pitching rotation and is carrying a 1.50 ERA. Logan Leppek, another junior righty, has four saves with a 2.00 ERA with senior Philip Hampton not allowing a run in 15 innings on the mound.

“They throw a lot of strikes,” Ladd noted about his pitchers. “They have a strike-to-ball ratio of 8-to-1.”

A big doubleheader with Brighton is on tap Wednesday after the Highlanders suffered their second defeat of the season on Monday to Northville, while game two was called with the score at 3-3.

“The key for us the rest of the way is to continue to pitch and field and get some timely hits,” Ladd noted.

Senior Alex Austin has been big in that regard with two pinch hits to drive in three runs against Hartland, one of the hits when the game was tied at 4-4 en route to the 8-4 victory.

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