Division 1 Team Of The Week: Week 1&2 - Orchard Lake St. Mary's

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 1 Team Of The Week: Week 1&2 - Orchard Lake St. Mary's

ORCHARD LAKE - The impressive accomplishments of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball did not end with last season’s undefeated national championship.

Four wins in Ohio in a four-day stretch not only kept the Prep Baseball Report’s Division 1 Team of the Week perfect through 11 games, but extended the program’s winning streak to 77 games, breaking the previous state record of 75.

“It was kind of an elephant in the room, we didn’t talk about it,” related head coach Matt Petry about the chance to break the previous Michigan state mark held by Homer during the 2004-2005 seasons. “Everyone knew what was going on and everyone wanted to achieve it, but nobody wanted to talk about it.”

It took an outstanding pitching performance to even keep the opportunity alive with a nine-inning 1-0 victory over Walsh Jesuit on Wednesday to open the four-game stretch in the Buckeye State.

“We just found a way to win,” Petry said. “It was amazing how much our pitching and their pitching dominated the game. It was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of or ever saw with so many college and pro prospects that both of us have.”

Aidan Donovan threw 4.1 innings of shutout ball before Jasen Oliver came on in relief to blank Ohio’s fourth-rated Division I team on just one hit in 4.2 frames, striking out 10.

“To do that against an opponent the caliber of Walsh Jesuit is a special performance,” Petry said of the outing by Oliver, the third-rated senior shortstop in Michigan. “He followed it up later in the week with his bat.”

After tying the mark of 75 consecutive wins with an 8-5 victory over Olentangy Orange on Thursday, Oliver hit a pair of doubles in a 3-for-3 outing at the plate two days later helping the Eaglets to an 11-3 win over Grove City and with it the new state record.

“We like to schedule tough non-league opponents which makes these consecutive wins even more special,” Petry noted. “We’re playing the best competition in Michigan and Ohio which makes this special. The most special thing for me is it’s not just one group that achieved it, it came over three seasons. It was a program effort over the course of three years. Only three guys were on the roster all three years.”

Oliver, an Indiana commit, along with second baseman Ryan McKay (Michigan State signee) and pitcher/third baseman Parker Brzustewicz (Notre Dame commit) are the trio that has been around for the ride throughout the remarkable run that has Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 11-0 on the season, ranked first in the Midwest by Prep Baseball Report and 12th nationally.

But so many others have stepped up along the way like junior Grant Essig, who started against Grove City.

“We as a staff were discussing who was the right guy to start with that much on the line,” explained Petry. “We knew he’d do the job throwing strikes and we knew we’d get his best.”

Essig, the 15th-rated 2024 outfielder in Michigan, surrendered just one hit and three walks in five shutout innings, striking out two. Relief came from Bradley Hale, who got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth with Orchard Lake clinging to a 7-3 advantage.

After the Eaglets put four on the board in the top of the seventh, Austin Fisher came in to close out the record-setting win with two Ks in his one inning on the hill.

“He’s a guy that was cut as a junior and dedicated himself in the offseason,” Petry said of Fisher. “For him to be on the mound when we set the record is pretty special.”

A 5-2 rain-shortened win over Milford in Saturday’s second game of the Prep Baseball Report Classic at Grove City extended the streak to 77.

Oliver has been a big part of it, batting .400 with five home runs and astounding 22 RBIs through 11 games this year while permitting just four hits and two walks in 8.2 innings on the mound, fanning 18 with a 1-0 record, two saves and a 0.00 ERA.

Donovan, a Michigan State commit ranked third in the state among 2024 right-handed pitchers, has also not allowed an earned run in 15 innings for the Eaglets while left fielder Will Boisineau, the eighth-ranked junior outfielder in the state who played in a supportive role a year ago, leads the team in batting at .435 with four doubles and one home run.

Blake Grimmer is carrying a .387 batting average into this week, with the Tennessee commit producing four doubles, one triple and one long ball. Help has also come from freshman Hudson Brzustewicz, a first baseman with Grimmer moving over to third this season. The second-rated 2026 in Michigan and 183rd-ranked in the nation is batting .370 with a pair of doubles.

“We’re doing this against quality opponents,” Petry reiterated. “Walsh Jesuit is one of the top programs in the country, Orange (currently rated 10th in Ohio D-I) is a good program and Grove City (No. 10 in Ohio D-I) lost in the state finals last year. Those are very quality opponents.”

The competition does not get any easier this week starting with a doubleheader against Brother Rice, the third-rated team in Michigan, on Wednesday. Orchard Lake then plays Hartland, No. 8 in Michigan, on Friday and DeLaSalle, the 24th-ranked D1 team in the state, on Saturday to close out the week as attention now turns toward the all-time winning streak of 89 set by Portsmouth, N.H. Martensdale-St. Mary’s, Iowa stands second with 88 followed by St. Mary’s with 77.

“It’s a relief to have broken the record,” Petry concluded. “Now people are acknowledging we set the MHSAA record. The national record is out there, but we’re putting no emphasis on it.”