Division 1 Team Of The Week: Week 7 - Traverse City Central


Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/Scout

 

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Division 1 Team Of The Week: Week 7 - Traverse City Central

TRAVERSE CITY - A win over the second-rated Division 1 team in the state and another against the top-ranked D-2 squad in Michigan has Traverse City Central being honored as the Prep Baseball Report Division 1 Team of the Week.

“It was a fun Saturday for sure,” Traverse City Central head coach Pat McDonald said about a four-team classic that began with a loss to Oak Ridge on Friday. But Central, which earlier in the week swept conference games with Alpena 15-1, 4-1, responded on Saturday beating Grand Blanc 11-6 and Forest Hills Eastern 4-2.

“We switched focus from Friday playing against two of the top teams in the state,” McDonald reflected. “We really wanted to put our name on the map and play 14 innings of solid baseball.”

Joe Meyer, who beat Grand Blanc last season, did it again with four innings of work before staff ace Josh Klug came in to shut down the defending D-1 state champions.

“He mixed his pitches well and challenged them,” McDonald pointed out about Meyer, an uncommitted junior who plays shortstop or first base when not pitching.

A nine-run third inning helped the cause in the victory that was followed up by a strong performance from Kalamazoo CC commit Ben Van Nes in the win against Forest Hills. Meyer had two hits and an RBI, Klug a double and drove in a run and Will Dawson produced a pair of hits and two RBIs.

Three adages drive the team according to the head coach.

“What’s important now,” McDonald explained. “Don’t take an at-bat to the field. That’s really helped. Our saying is flush it and move on.

“Concentrate on what you can control,” McDonald added. “It’s about attitude and effort for us. If those three points are good, we have a chance to come out on top.”

Klug, a junior committed to Louisville, had eight Ks out of the nine outs against Grand Blanc and is 5-1 on the season with a 0.70 ERA, 0.56 WHIP and opponents are batting .093 against the second-rated 2023 right-handed pitcher in the state.

Meyer is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while Van Ess is 4-2 with a 1.16 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.

Leadoff hitter Reed Seabase, a junior outfielder, tops the team in batting average at .365 along with 18 stolen bases. Dawson, a senior catcher who bats cleanup, is the team leader in RBIs with 21 to go along with a .328 average.

“We use small ball and steal a lot,” noted McDonald. “Two-out hitting has been just so good for us. I’ve been on teams that give up when they’re behind, but these guys don’t have that mentality.”

At 18-6 entering play this week against Gaylord, Forest Hills Northern at Whitecaps Stadium on Friday, and a DH with Okemos Saturday, McDonald looks forward to the potential of a long tournament run.

“Our two pitchers will be big,” McDonald said of Klug and Meyer. “Our fielding will also need to be crisp. We always say we’re only a ground ball away and we usually get it.”

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