Division 3 Team Of The Week: Week 6 - New Lothrop

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


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Division 3 Team Of The Week: Week 6 - New Lothrop

NEW LOTHROP - So how good has Brady Birchmeier been for the New Lothrop baseball team this season?

“We were way up and didn’t have anybody to sub so I told him not to hit it out and bat left-handed,” veteran head coach Ben Almasy reflected back to last week’s win over Montrose. “He’s been working on it but doesn’t really bat left-handed, he’s only done it twice this year.”

Birchmeier proceeded to hit it over the fence for his eighth home run of the year in helping New Lothrop to its 16 victory in 17 games this year and with it accolades as the Prep Baseball Report Division 3 Team of the Week.

“He’s been huge for us,” Almasy said of the Bowling Green commit who has now driven in more than 30 runs this season.

The two-hole hitter, who is ranked 14th in Michigan’s 2022 class, is aided by two other seniors, Cannon Cromwell and Jordan Bellmer, in helping the seventh-rated D-3 team in Michigan get off to a strong start.

“With so many new guys, those three seniors have held us together,” Almasy said.

Cromwell is the staff ace with a 4-0 record while also playing shortstop. Bellmer, who bats behind Birchmeier in the lineup, is hitting .400 while providing speed on the base paths. Bellmer and Birchmeier have also given solid innings in relief.

“These seniors have done everything for us on the mound and hitting to allow us to have a good start,” noted Almasy, whose biggest wins of the year were a sweep of Fowlerville, with the lone loss to unbeaten Goodrich 5-4, the 11th-rated D-2 team in the state.

“That loss to Goodrich did more for us than a lot of our wins,” pointed out Almasy, who has more than 500 wins in his coaching career.

A pair of juniors have been big thus far for New Lothrop in leadoff hitter Ty Kohlmann, an all-state basketball player who plays outfield, and catcher Grayson Orr, a five-hole batter who provides power in the lineup after missing last season with an injury.

“We lost four really good ones from last season so I’m surprised we’ve been able to get off to such a fast start,” noted Almasy, whose Hornets were 34-6 a year ago. “I was kind of expecting we’d drop more games playing bigger schools that usually out depth us, but the kids have worked hard and are getting better.

“We haven’t faced some of the better teams yet, so I’ll be curious to see how we do against top-end pitching,” added Almasy. “We’ve only faced a couple mid-80s guys so far.”

With three highly-ranked teams in the district in Hemlock, Chesaning and new Lothrop, the seventh-year head coach realizes the task ahead will not be easy if the Hornets are to make a long tournament run.

“The younger guys are going to have to get on base, find a way to get on against the top-end pitching,” Almasy said of keys to success. “We have such good players at the top of our lineup, we’ll get runs if the other guys get on. But can we grow up fast enough to hit the better pitching?”

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