Division 4 Team Of The Week: Week 7 - Beal City


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 7 - Beal City

MT. PLEASANT - After making five trips to the state finals in a 10-year span, Beal City has not made it the past two seasons.

At 16-1 on the year, including four wins last week, Beal City is looking like a strong bet to make a tournament run in 2022.     

“The team has been very focused and the guys have come to play each and every practice and game,” noted Steve Pickens, head coach of the Prep Baseball Report Division IV Team of the Week. “They have a goal to get back to the state finals this year and have been putting in the extra work to hopefully make that happen.

“The bats have been hot and the pitching super. We have outscored opponents 215-26.”

This past week Beal City defeated McBain 17-0 in four innings and 17-5 in five innings with Wade Wilson the game-one winner and Konnor Wilson collecting the victory in game two with Josh Wilson pitching in relief. Konnor Wilson had two home runs and five RBIs, Josh Wilson was 5-7 with five RBIs, Cayden Smith hit a home run and Brayden Haynes was 6-6 while driving in six during the two games.

On Saturday, Brendan Martin struck out eight and allowed just one earned run in a 5-3 win over Big Rapids before Beal City came back to win 12-1 in six innings in the second outing behind the pitching of Smith. The sophomore scattered four hits while fanning a dozen. Haynes was 4-8 with a double, triple and six RBIs in the two games with Kaiden Andrews producing three hits and scoring three runs.

Martin leads a strong pitching rotation with a 7-0 record, striking out 41 of 104 batters while posting a 0.525 ERA. Smith, used primarily in the closer role, has begun starting and owns two big wins against D-3 seventh-rated Standish Sterling (8-1 in five innings) and D-2 Big Rapids. The sophomore has faced 77 batters and fanned 33 with a 1.167 ERA. Konnor Wilson owns four wins with 13 strikeouts against 34 batters faced.

Andrews is batting .617 and Haynes .537 to lead a team that has an overall batting average of .432.

“I only have 10 players able to play on the roster with one junior out due to a football injury,” noted Pickens, who has six seniors and four sophomores on the team. “Five of  my guys have played on the varsity since they were freshmen and the four sophomores have stepped in to fill a couple of positions left over from last year’s graduation. They are a very fun group that works hard and catches on quickly.

“The biggest factor is experience,” added Pickens about keys to success. “They know what I teach and execute it day in and day out. They help train each other, a coach can only be working with a few in different areas, so the guys are always helping each other out.”

A busy week ahead includes games with Houghton Lake, Lake City, Fremont and Birch Run.

“We have been graciously ranked by the MHSAA members at number one in Division 4 pre-

season, dropped to number two after the fourth poll for one week and now are back on top and

remain as number one to date,” noted Pickens. “The guys are honored by the ranking but understand you still have to play the games to be number one in the end.

“I have three second-team all-state players (Andrews, Haynes, Martin ) and one first-team all-stater

(Wade Wilson) from last year playing for me this year that continue to perform at that level worthy of the recognition this year. It kind of makes it easier for a coach to expand their knowledge and get into more detail when you have great kids that want to play baseball and learn.”

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