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[Battle for Orion 2]Oakland County’s top 20 baseball teams in history

Time:2021-07-21 21:28:29

  With Orchard Lake St. Mary’s putting up one of the best baseball seasons in county and state history, here’s a look at 20 other Oakland County teams that were among the best in Michigan’s history.

  Birmingham Brother Rice (1992)?– Derek Fox had five hits at the plate and picked up the win on the mound in relief in a wild 15-11 extra-inning (9) victory over Lapeer East in the Class A state championship game in Battle Creek. Chris Smolky was the club’s ace. The title was legendary coach Ron Kalczynski’s first crown.

  Birmingham Brother Rice (1994)?– Coach Kal’s 1994 squad featured three sets of brothers, including his own two sons, Brian and Joey (as well as the Palazetti and Taggart boys). Marty Weymouth was the team’s workhorse toeing the slab, and sophomore Mike Pisani threw a complete-game masterpiece in the state finals to beat Southgate Anderson 15-3.

  Birmingham Brother Rice (2008)?– Senior captain Andy Lentz led a hard-nosed group of juniors and underclassmen to a title the year after future MLB All-Star D.J. LeMahieu left the program for LSU. Lentz went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI in an 8-0 blanking of Saline in the Division 1 state finals, Gatorade Player of the Year Pat MacKenzie furnished 3 hits and 3 RBI and sophomore hurler Matt Conway went the distance for the win on the hill.

  Birmingham Detroit Country Day (1995)?– Junior Josh Collins got the win in the Class B state championship game – a 7-3 dispatching of Spring Lake – while senior Pierre Cristache got credit for the save, pitching an inning of relief and working the ‘Jackets out of a late jam. Seniors Jason Carano (infield) and Jimmy Spadafore (outfield) were the team captains. Future Mr. Baseball Ryan Kyes was a sophomore on this team. DCD girls basketball coaching legend Frank Orlando coached the ‘Jackets baseball team for three decades and the ’95 squad was his crowning achievement in the dugout.

  Birmingham Seaholm (1988)?– Nicknamed the “Miracle Maples,” Seaholm was living on a prayer the whole playoffs, racking up comeback wins by the bundle, capped by an 11-9 thriller over future MLB pitcher Steve Avery and his Taylor Kennedy club in the state finals at Michigan State’s Kobs Field. Ron Sacket skippered the Maples that spring.

  Clarkston (1976)?– Anchored by future MLB Rookie of the Year Steve Howe’s arm, this Paul Tungate-led Wolves club is up there with some of the most fearsome that have ever hit the diamond in this state.

  Hazel Park (1976)?– There were a ton of superb Hazel Park baseball teams over the years, this particular group could have been the No. 1 of them all, losing a 2-1 heartbreaker to Howe and Clarkston in the showdown for a Class A state championship and Oakland County prep diamond bragging rights heading into the historic Bicentennial Summer of ‘76.

  Lake Orion (2007)?– In a pitching tussle of remarkable arms, Josh Deeg (Xavier) outdueled Farmington’s all-state ace and future MLB Draftee Harvey Martin and future NHL defenseman Cam Fowler in an all-time classic state championship game, going the distance for a complete-game 4-3 victory and the program’s first state crown.

  Madison Heights Bishop Foley (2011)?– Although were only playing Division 3 ball, the Buster Sunde-era Bishop Foley Ventures squads could stand toe-to-toe with any team in Oakland County diamond lore. The ’11 team kicked off the three-peat, going 39-3 on the season and knocking off Bridgeman 8-2 in the state title tilt at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.

  Madison Heights Bishop Foley (2012)?– Brett Sunde, Buster’s son and the Ventures’ all-state catcher, served as the heart and soul of his father’s team for the second straight year and ended his prep career with a second state-title ring in a row and a 2-run homer in the state championship game (8-2 defeat of Lansing Catholic). Sunde was drafted out of high school by the Oakland A’s and played in college at Western Michigan.

  Madison Heights Bishop Foley (2013)?– Garrett Schilling was the star of this Foley three-peat machine, which finished the campaign 35-2 and captured its third straight title, all of which Schilling played a major role on. Schilling played his college baseball at Xavier and is currently pitching in the Colorado Rockies minor-league system. He had 2 RBI in Foley’s 12-5 triumph over Grandville Calvin Christian in the state finals.

  Milford (1989)?– Captained by all-state catcher Jeff Irish – father of St. Mary’s first-baseman Ike Irish – the ’89 Mavericks fell 3-2 to Harper Woods Notre Dame in the Class A state finals.

  Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2015)?– The architect of St. Mary’s national powerhouse baseball program Matt Petry began constructing his diamond cutting dynasty winning his first crown with the ’15 team. Greg Loukinen (Gulf Coast College) posted a complete-game victory on the mound in the Division 2 state championship, as the Eaglets discarded Mt. Pleasant 4-1 in East Lansing at McLane Stadium. Pitcher Drake Titus (Army) and Harrison Salter (Michigan) headlined Petry’s ’15 lineup.

  Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2019)?– The seeds for the dominating ’21 squad were planted two years ago, when shortstop Alex Mooney (Duke signee, MLB Draft prospect), third baseman Jack Crighton (Michigan commit), pitcher Brock Porter (Clemson commit) were underclassmen. Dillon Kark (Michigan State) hit leadoff. Mooney slapped three hits and Porter plucked the win from the hill in the Eaglets’ 8-1 clobbering of Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the state championship game.

  Rochester (1997)?– The Falcons ’97 club checked all the boxes, depth, reliable pitching, timely hitting, great glovework. Junior Andrew Good went on to pitch in the Major Leagues. Good’s classmate, Mike Bennion, was a bulldog on the mound in the Class A state finals in Cereal City, delivering a complete-game 8-1 takedown of Portage Central.

  Rochester Adams (1995/1996)?– This tight-knit crew of Highlanders went to back-to-back Class A state finals, but couldn’t close the deal, dropping 7-4 and 7-3 contests to Grand Ledge and Mt. Pleasant, respectively.

  Royal Oak Kimball (1972/1973)?– The great Frank Clouser coached Kimball to a Class A state title in ’72 and a return trip to the state finals a year later where the Knights lost to Midland 1-0. Clouser took Kimball to three state championship games in four years and then again in 1980.

  Walled Lake Western (1984)?– Chuck Apap first took Western to a state title on the baseball diamond – his ’84 club edged Harper Woods Bishop Gallagher 9-8 in the Class A state finals – before stewarding the school’s football program to its first state championship in 1996.

  Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (1991)?– Probably the best small-school squad top-to-bottom in Oakland County history (Rochester Lutheran Northwest’s ’04 club has an argument to make and the Paciorek brothers St. Mary’s squads of the 1970’s too).

  West Bloomfield (1983)?– Future NFL free safety Todd Krumm (Michigan State) was a star of this Lakers squad on the diamond. Larry Reichle coached the ’83 team to a Class A state title with 19-3 browbeating of Midland Dow in the state finals on the campus of Eastern Michigan University.

  Madison Heights Bishop Foley won the Division 3 state championship in 2017. (DREW ELLIS – MediaNews Group File Photo)

  Honorable Mention

  Birmingham Brother Rice –?1986, 2003, 2013

  Birmingham Detroit Country Day – 1993

  Farmington – 2007

  Hazel Park – 1974

  Madison Heights Bishop Foley – 1990, 2017, 2018

  Novi – 1973

  Orchard Lake St. Mar’s –?1984, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2009

  Pontiac Notre Dame Prep/Pontiac Catholic – 1986

  Rochester – 1991,1998

  Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest – 2004

  Royal Oak Kimball – 1971, 1973, 1980

  Royal Oak Shrine – 2003

  Southfield Christian – 2005

  Troy – 1999

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