2020 Scout Day Spotlight: Petoskey Royals


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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2020 Scout Day Spotlight: Petoskey Royals

This is part of a series of stories on summer baseball organizations that "partner" with Prep Baseball Report. The PBR Scout Day is scheduled for Jan. 19.

Organization Name: Petoskey Youth Baseball Association – Petoskey Royals
Year organization started:
Petoskey Royals have been around for around 40 years, however, it was restarted more consistently in 2010.
How many current teams and what levels:
We have one team in 8U – 13U, a 15U, 16U, and 18U team. We do consistently have enough players for additional teams at every level, however, feel that we want to focus on developing the top, most competitive team we can field in each division. This includes at times adding players from outside of Petoskey that will complement each team and help develop those players but still focusing on the goal of making Petoskey players better.
Influential coaches past and present:
We have been lucky to have great coaching and support from our high school staff as well as former players. Mike Loper and Shawn Racignol have been involved for years, Dennis Kan (who played at Saginaw Valley and is the current JV coach and former Royal) as well as Luke Schrage (who attended Delta College and is also a former Petoskey High School player). Additionally, Kevin Horn has coached for 24 years and co-founded PYBA in 2010. He has managed to bring over 80 teams each summer to Petoskey for our Youth Travel Baseball Tournaments and went from one team in 2010 to having a team in every age group three years later.

Top Prospects

  • Spencer Nash, Onaway High School, 2021, Not committed
  • Owen DeGroot, Petoskey High School, 2021, Not committed – USSSA All American 2013
  • Kolton Horn, Petoskey High School, 2022, Not committed
  • Bill Stevens, Ellsworth High School, 2020, Not committed
  • Nathanial Wandrie, Indian River High School, 2020, Not committed

Notable Alumni

  • Tracy Piehl attended University of Michigan and Oakland University drafted by the Detroit Tigers
  • Toby MacFarland attended Riverside Community College drafted by the Detroit Tigers
  • Cal Tracy attended Bucknell
  • Andrew Hausler attended Eastern Michigan University
  • Kevin Thompson, Alma
  • Brian Loper, Aquinas
  • Dennis Kan, Grace College and Saginaw Valley State University
  • Denny Hewitt, Taylor University
  • Steve Ross, Taylor University
  • Aiden Holladay, Olivet
  • Ty Sobczak, Alma

Goals/Philosophy

Providing opportunities for players to play high-level baseball and to try to give them the best base to be able to play past high school baseball.

How has the program grown? 

We started out trying to help our Little League All-Star teams be more competitive at the state level. Since PYBA was founded, Petoskey has not lost a district championship at any level.  After that, the players started wanting more competition and it moved away from Little League to playing high-level competition and seeing the best teams in our region and outside of the state.  The focus moved to - where can we go to see the best pitching possible.

Our program has grown from one 8U team in 2010 to currently having a team at every level through 18U.

We have also seen the importance of great coaching and moved away from volunteer coaching to paid non-parent coaches, preferably with college-level playing experience. Our goal would be to eventually have a non-parent coach at every single level.

How has PBR been helpful? 

PBR has been helpful in getting kids noticed on a different medium. It also helps players understand where they stand with other players at their age level. As our program gets more competitive, players have a new focus of wanting to play at the next level. PBR is a great resource for them reaching their goals.

Plans ahead 

Our 16U and 18U teams play American Legion. Each team hosts a home tournament where we get over 80 teams throughout the state throughout the summer. Our 16U and 18U teams play the most aggressive travel schedule out of all teams and in the past have gone to Cincinnati, Rhode Island and Florida. This year they will be attending Irish Elite at the University of Notre Dame, Legacy College Prep, Great Lakes Wood bat at Grand Valley. Our focus is to do as many USSSA and college-affiliated tournaments as possible.