Prep Baseball Report

Division 4 Team Of The Week: 3rd Edition - Inland Lakes

Bruce Hefflinger
Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 4 Team Of The Week: 3rd Edition - Inland Lakes

INDIAN RIVER - A three-win Saturday that included two victories over state-ranked teams kept Inland Lakes unbeaten on the season and with it the honor of being named the Prep Baseball Division 4 Team of the Week.

“We knew we had a solid team,” explained 11th-year head coach Josh Vieau, whose Bulldogs defeated East Jordan 11-1, Charlevoix 5-1 and Manistique 3-1 on Saturday after beating Forest Area 14-1 and 8-0 earlier in the week. “The most impressive thing has been team chemistry. We’ve got each other’s back. When one makes a mistake someone is there to pick him up. It’s a good group to be around. It’s one of the most fun teams I’ve had.”

The win over Division 3 14th-rated Charlevoix was the biggest of the week according to Vieau, who used his top two pitchers, Connor Wallace and Aidan Fenstermaker, in the game before sophomore lefty Wyatt Hanel came in to close out the victory, avenging one of two losses the Bulldogs had last season.

Wallace, a senior southpaw committed to Grand Rapids CC, is now 6-0 on the season, not allowing an earned run in 23 innings, giving up eight hits and eight walks with 53 strikeouts. Fenstermaker, a junior who also plays catcher and center field, is 4-0 with a 0.396 ERA, surrendering two hits and 10 free passes in 17 innings with 35 Ks.

Jake Willey hit a two-run double in the fourth to key the victory, completing a big week for the senior who hit for the cycle in one Forest Area game and had a home run in the second before going 2-2 against East Jordan, the 13th-rated D-4 team in the state.

Sophomore Ty Kolly, a 2B/C, and Fenstermaker were both 2-3 in the win over Charlevoix, with Kolly also going 2-3 in one of the Forest Area wins.

“We knew we’d have decent pitching but our hitting has been a surprise,” Vieau said. “We’re hitting well and getting bunts down which is big for us. And Jake is having a great season.”

Willey has driven in 12 runs with a .423 average, striking out just six times.”

Youth is also playing an important role with freshmen Elijah Perkins and Collin Maves along with sophomore Garrett Shovan throwing on Saturday.

“It was a tournament and we’re fortunate to have enough good arms,” pointed out Vieau, whose Bulldogs are ranked sixth in Michigan in D-4.

A matchup with Gaylord St. Marys is slated today with Alpena on the schedule Thursday and Bellaire Friday.

“We just need to continue to grind it out,” explained Vieau. “Last year we were 31-2, losing to Charlevoix and in the regionals. We’ve got to not let highs get too high and lows get too low. This is a fun team to coach and a good group to be around.”

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