Division 2 Team Of The Week: Week 3 - North Branch

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 2 Team Of The Week: Week 3 - North Branch

NORTH BRANCH - A dozen consecutive wins to open the season … not a bad start for first-year North Branch head coach Joe Mitchell.

“These young men have worked very hard to put themselves in the position to compete day in and day out and that hard work has paid off early this season,” explained Mitchell, whose Vikings are the Prep Baseball Report Division 2 Team of the Week following 15-0 and 13-0 wins over Imlay City last week to move to 12-0 on the year.

Brady Mitchell pitched three innings of no-hit baseball to get the win in game one while Brant Primeau, a senior committed to Delta, pitched a five-inning one-hitter to get the win in game two. Mitchell, the 16th-rated junior left-handed pitcher in Michigan, is now 4-0 on the season with 30 Ks and an ERA and WHIP well below 1.00.

Mathew Duty, the 24th-ranked 2024 shortstop in the state, went 5-for-5 at the plate in the sweep of Imlay City to push his season batting average to .552 while Landen Swoish is right behind at .519.

“We only have four seniors, but we have an experienced team,” noted Mitchell, who has two players besides Primeau who were offered but chose not to play at the next level. “We have solid pitching and play good defense. This is a close-knit team with high expectations.”

One of just two unbeaten Division 2 teams in Michigan, North Branch is currently rated 20th in the state.

“So far, we haven't had any real surprises,” Mitchell said. “Due to the weather, we lost a couple of games against the competition that we would have liked to test ourselves against.”

Tests will come this week against Blue Water Area Conference power Richmond on Monday and Wednesday and Swan Valley on Thursday.

“These will be our two best tests to this point in the season,” related Mitchell about playing the 17th and 23rd rated teams in D2, respectively.

Richmond edged North Branch 1-0 on Monday.

“The keys to future success are the continued growth of our pitching staff and also the continued maturation of our approach at the plate,” Mitchell concluded.