Division 3 Team Of The Week: Week 5 - North Muskedon

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 3 Team Of The Week: Week 5 - North Muskedon

NORTH MUSKEGON - The “willingness to be coached and get better” has most impressed North Muskegon head coach Garret Moyer when it comes to the 19-5-1 start to this season.

The Prep Baseball Report Division 3 Team of the Week swept Hart 16-4 and 10-0 and edged Whitehall 4-3 before knocking off a pair of D-1 teams, blanking Reeths-Puffer 6-0 and rolling past Mona Shores 12-2 to capture the Muskegon area tournament. The Norsemen now stand fourth in the state in the most recent PBR Division 3 ratings.

“With returning eight starters from the year before we were excited for the season to start,” explained Moyer, whose team owns wins over D1 Forest Hills Central and D2 Forest Hills Eastern so far this season. “There's been a lot of work put in the weight room in the off season to get stronger and we set high expectations to compete at the top of our conference and in tough non-league matchups.”

Pitching has been a stronghold of the Norsemen to date.

“We've had some guys really step up and have some great pitching performances this season,” Moyer pointed out. “Jaxon Bean threw a one-hitter to win a 2-1 ball game against Fremont that really helped us gain momentum going into tough non-league play. Logan Slimko (freshman) had a 12-K, no-walk performance versus Ravenna and Ryan Delora and Troy McManus have both pitched extremely well in our toughest matchups. They have a combined record of 10-2 this season.”

McManus, a senior left-hander, is 6-1 with a 1.167 ERA, fanning 52 and walking 13 while Delora, a junior righty, is 4-1 with 55 strikeouts and a 2.10 ERA.

McManus, a basketball commit to Rose Hulman who plays center field when not pitching, is also hitting .444 with nine doubles, 26 RBIs, 25 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.

Junior catcher Ben Meyers, who hit three grand slams as a sophomore, leads North Muskegon with a .494 batting average, producing six doubles, three triples, three home runs and 24 RBIs while stealing 26 bases and scoring 41 runs.

Senior Sam Gallo, a football commit to Alma, is batting .412 with seven doubles and a pair of homers while driving in 21.

Denny Belmonte, a senior shortstop standout on the Norsemen who will play football at Hope College next season, carries a .368 average with six doubles, one HR, 29 runs and a dozen stolen bases.

“Nothing has been too surprising about this team, I'm just proud of the kids for the way they have responded to adversity and have been competing at a high level,” noted Moyer, who has also had production from senior first baseman John Caliendo, a Cornerstone University signee, and senior outfielder Carson Moat, a Kalamazoo College football recruit.

“The key to continuing our success is to continually figure out ways to get better,” concluded Moyer, whose squad has doubleheaders with Holton and Shelby this week to complete play in the Western Michigan Conference where North Muskegon currently is on top of the standings with an 8-0 record. “We need to stay focused on the things we can control and continue to have intent in our approach at practice.”