Division 4 Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Waterford Our Lady Of The Lakes

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 4 Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Waterford Our Lady Of The Lakes

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP - It was the year before Covid that the baseball program at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes nearly folded. Times have certainly improved for the Prep Baseball Report Division 4 Team of the Week.

“We didn’t have the bodies,” reflected head coach Dan Webster. “I had to go into the school and recruit players. We were able to field a team and now just a few years later our numbers are good.”

So is the 2023 team which is off to a 5-0 start to the season with four wins this past week, including two over Division 2 Cranbrook, 8-0 and 10-2. There was also a 24-7 beatdown of Jewish Academy before closing the week with a 4-1 triumph over Oakland Christian on Saturday.

“We have eight returning starters from a district championship team,” noted Webster, whose Lakers finished last season 17-14, losing to Royal Oak Shrine Catholic 7-2 in the regional quarterfinals. “We weren’t good at the start last year but we got better.

“It doesn’t happen very much, but we’ve picked up where we left off last year,” Webster added. “The kids were excited about the season after last year. They’re baseball players, they’re really enthusiastic, they work hard and they have goals.”

A big one is to finish in the top two of the smallest division in the Catholic League which would mean a semifinal matchup at Comerica Park against a qualifying team one division higher. The finals are played at the site of the old Tiger Stadium.

“Our goal is to finish first or second,” Webster said.

The prospects for that happening have started out well heading into a six-game week that includes league doubleheaders on Tuesday at Bishop Foley and Saturday with Ann Arbor Greenhills. A non-league twinbill is sandwiched in on Wednesday with Washtenaw Christian Academy.

“Pitching is our strong suit, we have 10 that can pitch,” pointed out Webster, a 20-year head coach in his third stint in charge of the program at Waterford. “For our level we have a few top-notch pitchers. They can also play multiple positions, so our versatility really helps.”

Leadoff hitter Joe Davies is “the engine that makes it happen,” according to Webster, with the senior batting .417 with 10 runs scored.

A pair of juniors are other key cogs in the lineup with Aiden Gauthier batting .500 with eight RBIs hitting in the two-hole and Grant Summers averaging .417 in the three-hole. Senior shortstop Dylan Dropps bats cleanup and carries a .385 average with five RBIs and five walks.

Summers is the number one pitcher with a 3-0 record, allowing just one earned run and eight hits in 13 innings with 24 strikeouts. Sophomore Abe Iacovides is the number two hurler at 1-0 with six Ks in six innings of three-hit ball, permitting just one earned run.

Gauthier has pitched in four games with eight innings on the hill, giving up one hit while striking out 11. Dropps adds depth to the staff of the 18th-ranked Division 4 team in Michigan.

“The key for us is pitching, that’s baseball,” Webster said. “We need to not walk kids, make them earn runs and play good defense. We have to manufacture runs and take advantage of our opportunities.”

The Lakers did just that in the 4-1 win over Oakland Christian. Deadlocked at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, freshman Alex Lampe entered the lineup because of an injury and hit a bases-loaded infield single to break the tie. Gauthier followed with a two-run single, with what proved to be the only two hits of the game for Our Lady.

“We had two hits and they had three,” Webster related. “We hit the ball better than them, but we hit a lot right at them.”

Gauthier, a second baseman/pitcher/catcher; Summers, a pitcher/first baseman/catcher; Davies; Dropps, a shortstop/pitcher; and Iacovides, a pitcher/third baseman/first baseman, are also getting some help from youth.

“We have eight freshmen,” noted Webster, a big number for the smallest school in the league. “It’s nice to get them playing time at the varsity level when games are in control.”

With a program that nearly folded due to low numbers just a few years back, nice is an understatement.