The 2021 baseball team has been weathering the COVID-19-pandemic for one year now and it has been very stressful for our team. The 2020 team only got in 12 games before ending the season. The fall ball schedule was depleted to two games instead of the normal 20 games played in the fall. We started workouts this winter for this season two weeks later than normal and not able to have a spring trip, which is how we started our season in the last 16 years. But we are fortunate to compete this year and will make the best of it while staying safe and following such provisions and processes.
The 2021 team will have more position/pitchers than on a normal year, and the roster size will be much less than in previous years. Our pitching staff will have three returning starters with Alex Billo (Winter Haven, Fl.), Justin Gelso (Ida) and Riley Vermander (Chesterfield). We will also have left-handers Brendan Moran (Marysville), Jacob Vrooman (Farmington), and Caleb Overlock (Winter Haven, Fl.) returning to give more experience with our staff. Other transfer position pitchers will be right-hander, Noah Stants (Walled Lake), left-hander Dawson Groch (Cedar Park, TX.), and returning late-inning position pitchers Devon Nettles (Richmond) and Cullen Hurley (Jackson). The freshman pitchers who will help are Jack Elkins (Walled Lake), Ben Cardella (Macomb), Joe Kane (Tecumseh), Sean Belfour (Hanover Horton) and Nick Farkas (Parma). Pitching Coach Gary Goodwin expects good things out of our staff which should be one of our strengths going into the season.
Defensively, we return two strong catchers in Dominic Vandoorne (Grosse Pointe) and Matt Scally (Waterford) along with freshman Ben Cardella (Macomb). The infield will be strong up the middle with returners Devon Nettles (Richmond), Max Stevenson (Macomb) and Cameron Schroeder (Saginaw). At third, we will have Cullen Hurley (Jackson) and Nick Farkas (Western) and at first base, we will be strong with Teddy Wagoner (Toledo), Austin Santure (Coldwater) and Noah Stants (Walled Lake). Our outfield will be led by returners Connor Davis (Winter Haven, FL.), Levi Peck (Adrian), transfer Dawson Groch (Cedar Park, TX.) and freshman Michael Tchavdarov (Warren) and Luke Williams (Ida).
Offensively, we return Max Stevenson (Macomb), Devon Nettles (Richmond), Dom Vandoorne (Grosse Pointe), Connor Davis (Winter Haven, FL), Cullen Hurley (Jackson), Levi Peck (Adrian), and Matt Scally (Waterford). We will add depth to the line-up with some speed and power from center fielder Dawson Groch (Cedar Park, TX) and Michael Tchavdarov (Warren) both hitting from the left side. We will be much more mature offensively and should be able to do a lot of different strategies in scoring runs with the versatility in the day-to-day line-up.
In our last full season of competition in 2019, we finished second with an overall record of 37-17 and qualifying for the postseason. This year we hope to win our conference and be one of the top seeds while moving on to the postseason. Again, this year we plan to have memorable experiences, move players on to the next level and remain one of the best teams in the state!