Division 2 Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Forrest Hills Eastern


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

 

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Division 2 Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Forrest Hills Eastern

ADA - “Team” is what Ian Hearn says has been the biggest thing about an unbeaten start to the season for Forest Hills Eastern, the Prep Baseball Report Division 2 Team of the Week.

“It’s been a full team effort which is awesome to see,” the head coach said. “Everyone is contributing. We’ve had very strong pitching and our offense has been tremendous.”

A team batting average of .367 and averaging more than 11 runs per game is a good way to stay unbeaten, with wins this past week over Grand Rapids Catholic Central 15-0, Thornapple Kellogg 17-1 and 15-1, Holland Christian 8-3 and North Farmington 5-1 to improve to 9-0.

“Offensively we’ve had contributions coming from 1-through-9 batters,” pointed out Hearn, whose team swept Cedar Springs on Monday to make it 11 straight wins to open the year. “We’ve been very, very consistent. Players are locked in and we’ve had good plate appearances.”

Three-hole hitter Evan Parks, a senior shortstop headed to Butler, leads the team in batting at .517 with six doubles, three triples and 13 RBIs while Leo Hearn, a senior catcher committed to Bowling Green, hits cleanup and averages .476 with 13 runs driven in.

Leadoff hitter Collin Fridsma, number five batter Mac DenBraber and six-hole hitter Caleb Kuiper are all at .450. Fridsma, a junior center fielder, has scored 15 runs, DenBraber, a junior, plays first and outfield with Kuiper, a senior, playing OF and pitching. Senior third baseman Brian Messing, a Mid Michigan College commit, bats second.

The top three pitchers are Parks, Jacob Pallo and Kuiper. Pallo and Kuiper are both 3-0 on the season while Parks and Ashton Feenstra, a 6-4 senior lefty, are 2-0. Adding depth is Iwan Sitalo, a Grace College commit who is 1-0.

“We feel we have three guys we can put at 1-2-3 in any order based on the day and situation,” Hearn said. “They’ve played a ton of baseball. They’ve grown pitching-wise through mechanics, location and developing offspeed and arm speed and continue to grow. They’re real, real competitors.”

Help comes behind the plate in the son of the head coach, the seventh-ranked senior catcher in Michigan.

“We’re fortunate to have good catchers,” the Forest Hills Eastern coach said. “We’ve also been fortunate to be able to play a lot of kids right now.”

The long-time head coach, who led Rockford to a state championship in 2011, has his sights set on making a run at a first-ever Final Four in school history at Forest Hills Eastern.

“I really think the key will be players staying in the process and continuing to be servants to each other,” said the seventh-year Forest Hills coach, whose team will face Cedar Springs again on Thursday before a twinbill with Portage Northern on Friday. “We’re going to see a lot of strong teams along the way.”

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