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BASEBALL: Pitching has been off the charts to highlight early-portion of prep campaign

By: Scott Burnstein, April 18, 2013, 10:00 am

Metro Detroit’s pitching prowess on the prep baseball diamond has been on full display in the early part of the season, a series of ace hurlers from around the area registering recent dynamite performances toeing the slab.

Four no-hitters were thrown on Monday alone.

Tyler Weed of Livonia Clarenceville spun a no-no, sending seven opposing batters down swinging to lift the Trojans to an 8-0 defeat of Dearborn Fordson.

Ortonville Brandon‘s Max Wardell and Holly’s Joel Perry each tossed no-no’s as their respective clubs tangled in a twin-bill, Wardell striking out 10 in a 5-0 win in the opener and Perry fanning six in a 4-0 victory in the night-cap.

University of Michigan-signee Johnny Slater of Southfield-Lathrup was breathtaking in his showdown with fellow Division I recruit Dazone Cole (Central Michigan) and Pontiac, tallying 13 Ks in a 6-0 win.

On Tuesday, Slater’s future college teammate and the top player in the PSL, Hector Gutierrez of Detroit Western, was throwing some serious stuff from the mound, striking out 18 in a two-hit gem that propelled the Cowboys to a 2-0 edging of Detroit King.

Soon-to-be Ann Arbor-bound Grant Reuss of Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook had to get in on the action, too, delivering a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the Cranes 15-0 blasting of West Bloomfield Jewish Academy.

While Reuss is expected to remain on the hill when he arrives on campus at Michigan, Slater and Gutierrez will most likely be switching to positions in the field. Slater is a star centerfielder with a great stick, (who also plays in the infield). Gutierrez is a five-tool prospect that is slated as the Wolverines shortstop of the future.

Birmingham Brother Rice junior Matt Ruppenthal (Vanderbilt), arguably the state’s top pro pitching prospect, was brilliant in his 2013 debut, going four innings of no-hit ball in the Warriors 13-1 obliterating of Grosse Pointe North in the opening of the state diamond-power’s brand-new 1.7 million dollar field.

Another pair of local potential pro prospects in North Farmington’s Sterling Sharp and Bloomfield Hills Andover’s Marlon Pruitt, have been lights-out early in the year.

Sharp, signed with Eastern Michigan, baffled league-favorite Farmington with a beauty of an outing, recording 13 Ks and only surrendering two hits in an 8-0 triumph last week. 

Pruitt posted a two-hit masterpiece, mowing down a school-record 16 batters – striking out the side four times – in Andover’s 3-0 downing of defending league-champion Auburn Hills Avondale that same afternoon.

Detroit Mumford’s Brandon Washington struck out 14 batters in a 10-6 besting of Detroit Osborn on Wednesday, a high-wattage effort that seemed to get overshadowed by what Gutierrez did the same day at Western (the five-time defending league champs in the PSL).

West Bloomfield’s Chandler Sedat, one of the state’s most talked-about sophomore hurlers, was stunning this week as well, spinning a three-hit gem, retiring 13 straight at a point during the game, in the Lakers 6-0 upending of Farmington.

Junior Garrett Schilling, the No. 1 pitcher at two-time defending Division 3 state champion, Madison Heights Bishop Foley, is on the run of all runs chucking the bean. Crafty, intelligent and accurate, Schilling is 4-0 so far this season, giving him a perfect 20-0 record for his high school career.