Prep Baseball Report

Division 3 Team Of The Week: 4th Edition - Watervliet

Bruce Hefflinger
Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 3 Team Of The Week: 4th Edition - Watervliet

WATERVLIET - A sweep of defending state champion Bridgman highlighted a 7-0 week that included five double-digit victories for Watervliet, the Prep Baseball Division 3 Team of the Week.

“We knew that we wanted to win our conference and build on last year’s quarterfinal run as we return a number of guys that were a big part of that,” explained head coach Josh Tremblay, whose Panthers are now 15-2 on the season. “Our pitching and defense have been good and we have really started to hit the ball well top to bottom.”

While 11-1 and 7-2 wins over 12th-ranked Bridgman stood out this past week, Watervliet also took two from Fennville, 15-0 and 11-1, a pair from Michigan Lutheran, 6-1 and 10-0, along with an 11-0 blanking of Holland Black River.

“Our hitters are taking care of business as the pitching staff is getting outs,” pointed out Tremblay, whose squad has outscored the opposition 154-26 to date and are hitting .371 as a team.

Seniors Wyatt Epple, Alex Hicks and Aidan Bethea along with sophomore Caleb Jewell “have handled the majority of our starts this year,” according to Tremblay, with senior Chase Tremblay providing saves and the occasional spot start.

“Our starting pitchers have been really good for us this year with a very solid defense behind them,” noted the head coach of the fourth-rated team in the state in D-3, who was inducted into the MHSBCA Hall of Fame this past winter after 22 years of coaching. “We really preach throwing strikes and they have responded.”

Epple, the 34th-ranked senior outfielder in Michigan, is a Davenport commit, while Hicks, the eighth-rated 2024 second baseman in the state, is headed to Hope College.

“I think our experience, solid fundamentals and knowledge of the game have really paid off this year,” Tremblay said. “We have a lot of guys that have played a lot of baseball.”

It has proven beneficial in the SAC Lakeshore with a 6-0 record for the Panthers, which have finished undefeated in conference play the past three seasons. Two conference games with South Haven are scheduled this week along with a make-up date against crosstown rival Coloma next week to finish regular-season divisional play.

“We need to continue to play solid defense behind our pitchers,” concluded Tremblay, who picked up his 400th career coaching win last season. “We also need to continue to be tough outs at bat.”

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