Division 4 Team Of The Week: Week 1 And 2 - Royal Oak Shrine

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


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Division 4 Team Of The Week: Week 1 And 2 - Royal Oak Shrine

ROYAL OAK - Even with injuries an issue, head coach Dan Noble has been happy with what he has seen out of his Royal Oak Shrine ballclub with two consecutive weeks with four wins. Now 8-2 on the campaign, Shrine is the Prep Baseball Report Division 4 Team of the Week.

“This is the first time I can recall we’ve been dealing with injuries both to our pitching staff and to guys on the field so we’re using guys unknown,” related Noble, whose Knights dropped down from D-3 to D-4 this season. “We knew they were good baseball players and they’ve done a good job.”

Two wins over Oakland Christian, a 10-7 triumph over Troy and an 11-1 victory over Alpine highlighted a week that included a 7-5 loss to Algonac. The big week followed up two wins over rival Bishop Foley and victories over Detroit Country Day and Plymouth Christian to open the season, with a loss to the top team in the state, Orchard Lake St. Marys, the only blemish on the record prior to Algonac.

“We’ve gotten good starting pitching,” noted Noble, with senior southpaw Owen Pullis the leader at 2-1, giving up one run or less in every start except against Orchard Lake. Catcher/RHP Gus Simon is 4-0 with a 0.50 ERA as the number two hurler up until the Knights get healthy.

Those two have also been the leaders at the plate, with both averaging better than .400, Pullis with 11 RBIs and Simon nine. Shortstop Marty Hannon had a home run versus Orchard Lake.

“We’re doing a good job of getting on base, whether it’s walks or making the other teams make plays,” Noble explained.

There is more that Noble is pleased about to date.

“I’m very happy with our day-to-day approach,” Noble pointed out. “That’s the good thing about so many upperclassmen. They’re very focused, task-at-hand guys. They love baseball, love playing and are very business-like.”

With spring break ahead, Noble looks forward to the stop in action.

“We need to make sure we get everyone healthy,” admitted Noble, who has been without two of his top players in two-way standout Drew Comer and Stephen Ruhle, the 25th-rated senior right-handed pitcher in Michigan. “We’ve got shoulders and hamstrings and it’s early in the year. It’s a good time for a break with 10 days off. Hopefully, we’ll be more healthy once we’re back.”

But until then, Noble is happy with those that have had the chance to get on the field.

“The guys that have filled in are trying to prove they need to stay in the lineup while the guys that have been hurt are trying to prove they deserve to get back in the lineup,” explained Noble, who pointed to senior Aaron Smith and juniors Nate Toman, Luke Shrake and Jimmy Zink as players getting the job done when given an opportunity.

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