Division 3 Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Watervliet

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 3 Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Watervliet

WATERVLIET - Four wins by a combined score of 58-1 has Watervliet now at 13-1 on the season and recipients of the honor of being named the Prep Baseball Report Division 3 Team of the Week.

“Going into the season we knew we would be young but experienced returning a number of underclassmen from last year's team,” noted head coach Josh Tremblay. “That experience is paying off as we are off to a good start. Our pitching has been really good and when you're playing great defense and hitting the ball good things happen.”

Tyson Williams, a 6-5 195-pound senior right-hander, had a perfect game to highlight last week’s play, which included 16-0 and 18-1 wins over Fennville along with 14-0 and 10-0 blowouts of Dowagiac.

“Overall our pitching has been above what we expected,” admitted the head coach of Michigan’s fifth-ranked Division 3 team in the state, whose squad has now won 12 in a row including seven shutouts in the last eight games. “We have had nine different guys take the mound and six of them record wins. Tyson Williams has been really good this year as well as a number of underclassmen stepping in including a freshman, Caleb Jewell, who we have been bringing up from our JV team to pitch in conference games.”

To date, the Panthers are 6-0 in the SAC Lakeshore with conference doubleheaders against Bridgman and South Haven ahead this week.

“We play a couple of tough scrappy teams and that should give us a pretty good look at where we’re at,” noted Tremblay. “Our pitching and defense has been really good so far. We expected to be good there but the guys have really stepped it up in both areas.”

The hitting has also been solid, with a team batting average of .387 to go along with 104 stolen bases.

Junior Chase Tremblay, the head coach’s son, is batting .514 with 23 runs, 13 RBIs and 14 stolen bases with Wyatt Epple, the 147th-ranked 2024 in Michigan, hitting .512 with 22 runs, 21 RBIs and nine steals.

Senior outfielder Tristan Steltner has 14 hits, scored 13 runs, drove in 12 and stole 12 bases, with one of the biggest hits of the season thus far, a walk-off double against cross-town rival Coloma. Alex Hicks, the 10th-rated junior second baseman in Michigan, also has 14 hits to go along with 11 runs, 14 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Williams has 14 hits, 19 runs, 11 RBIs and 22 steals with sophomore catcher Owen Epple adding 13 hits while driving in 15.

“When your pitchers are throwing strikes (103 K/27 BB), your defense is making plays behind them (.983 fielding percentage) and you're putting the ball in play, good things are going to happen,” explained Tremblay, whose Panthers have outpointed opponents 146-18 to date. “We will look to continue to improve in all of these areas and be a complete team in all phases of the game.”

A year ago Watervliet advanced to the regional semifinals before falling 3-1 to Grand Rapids Covenant and the veteran mentor is hoping this year is even better.

“I was also fortunate enough to get my 400th career win earlier this season, so it was extra special doing it while my son was a part of the team,” Tremblay concluded. “Now we are looking to build on our playoff run from last season and finish out the year against some tough teams that should help get us ready.”