Prep Baseball Report

Division 1 Team Of The Week: 1st Edition - Forest Hills Central

Bruce Hefflinger
Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 1 Team Of The Week: 1st Edition - Forest Hills Central

FOREST HILLS - The Rangers of Forest Hills Central survived three close games to win the Hudsonville Invite over the weekend and with it the honor of being selected Prep Baseball Division 1 Team of the Week.

“Staying healthy, putting the ball in play, making routine plays and throwing strikes are the keys,” noted seventh-year head coach Todd Hartman, who is in his 23rd year of coaching baseball to go along with 25 years as a football coach. “We’re doing well at all of that right now.”

Contributions from a variety of players has helped the cause for Central, which defeated Unity Christian 4-3 and Hudsonville 10-8 before topping 18th-ranked Jenison 4-1 to win the Invite. Earlier in the week there was a 12-11 win over Grand Rapids Christian and another contest suspended in the bottom of the third with Central leading GRC 4-2.

“We’re pretty athletic,” Hartman related about what has stood out about a 7-1 start to the season for the 17th-rated D-1 team in the state prior to Monday’s split with Forest Hills Northern, a 10-2 loss and 14-4 win. “This group has had success in their high school career at all sports. We have a lot of multi-sport athletes, six that played football on the state championship team and some on the basketball team that made it to the regional final.

“They’re competitors. They’re always trying to compete. They’ve had success and they know what it takes to win.”

Junior Brady Osterhouse was 3-3 at the plate versus Hudsonville, J.T Hartman had a home run and senior Alex Brown was 2-4, including a hit in the sixth to put the Rangers in the lead. Hartman, a senior and the son of the head coach, is a OF/1B/LHP who is headed to Davenport on a football scholarship.

On the season, Osterhouse leads the squad with a .600 batting average while Ty Hudkins, a senior center fielder committed to Purdue for football, is at .500. Thomas Paplawski, a junior, is hitting .409 and Josh Tellier, a senior, .318, including two doubles.

Mason McDonald allowed one run in six innings to beat Jenison and improve to 2-0 on the season. Fellow senior Matthew Seurynck is also 2-0, while Jacob Robertson, a senior who also plays middle infield, has a save. Trevor Williams, the 16th-rated 2024 catcher in Michigan and a Kalamazoo CC commit, is the third starter for Central while junior Joel Ford is a middle reliever.

In addition to Tellier, the seventh-ranked senior third baseman in Michigan who hits in the three-hole, Hartman points to the other player on the left side of the infield, junior shortstop Max Holser, as another key player for the state’s No. 20 team in the Prep Baseball Power Ratings.

“We’re a senior-dominated team with 10 seniors and seven juniors,” Hartman said. “I’m surprised the way some of the juniors have stepped up and made competition, in the process earning spots. We’re getting contributions from both classes and they’re gelling together.”

Another game with Forest Hills Northern is on tap today with a doubleheader against West Ottawa slated Friday for the Rangers, which won their conference two years ago before finishing third last season.

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