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2014 BASEBALL PREVIEW: The Teams – Loaded Lineups Galore

By: Scott Burnstein, April 6, 2014, 6:00 am

Top 10 teams in the state (alphabetically-listed)

1 Bay City Western – Defending Division 1 state champs will be captained by senior Seth Freed as it goes for the repeat

2 Birmingham Brother Rice – Does the term ‘Murderer’s Row’ mean anything to you? Featuring a veteran line-up with a half-dozen top-tier college recruits (Vandy-signee Matt Ruppenthal, Bowling Green-signee Randy Righter and Michigan-bound diamond studs Ty Kiafoulis, Nick Plummer and Karl Kauffman among them), the Warriors, state finalists in D1 last spring, are the favorites to grab the crown this season

3 Dearborn Heights Divine Child – Anchored by a pair of ace lefties on the hill, junior Connor Goslin and super sophomore Deon Henderson, DC will be extremely hard to hit against this spring

4 Grand Rapids Christian – Defending Division 2 state champs with UIC-signee Austin Batka pacing the stampede on the mound

5 Hudsonville – Keegan Barr from the pitching rubber and Logan Magsig and Mason Opple in the field and hacking at the dish fuel the Eagles’ assault

6 Lake Orion – The twin terrors of Brad Schaenzer and Josh Bays on the mound and Connor Grant behind and at the plate gives the Dragons, quarterfinalists last season, another formidable attack in 2014

7 Madison Heights Bishop Foley – The state’s flagship program for consistency so far this decade, the Ventures are once again frontrunners in the race for the Division 3 state championship, a title that would be skipper Buster Sunde and his club’s fourth in a row. Xavier-signee Garrett Schilling, currently unblemished on the mound as a prepster at 31-0 and Air Force-signee Mike Reid highlight the pitching staff and Western Michigan-commit Nate Grys will headline the offense.

8 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s – Army-bound hurler Connor Bowers and crafty Joey Giacalone headline the Eaglets pitching staff and Michigan State-signee Will Salter and Wayne State-signee Devin Rose highlight the team’s offense and defense

9 Sterling Heights Stevenson – Macomb County heavyweight that is deep and stacked to the gills with Grade-A talent (see the Michigan State-bound trio of Brandon Hughes, Zach McGuire and Riley McCauley, among others), Stevenson made a trip to the final four in 2013 and is gunning for the title this year

10 West Bloomfield – The addition of CMU-signee and pro prospect Dazon Cole (transfer from Pontiac after the Phoenix discontinued its baseball program), to Blue-Chip junior Chandler Sedat (P) makes the Lakers legitimate contenders for the state semifinals in East Lansing in two months