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Michigan‘s top seniors turn their attention to major college baseball programs

Left-handed pitcher Logan Wood was going into his senior season this spring knowing Orchard Lake St. Mary’s had the talent to do something for the first time in program history – earn consecutive state championships in baseball.

St. Mary’s has a dozen players with college baseball commitments, including six headed to Division 1 programs: Wood (Michigan), junior infielder Alex Mooney (Duke), sophomore right-handed pitcher Brock Porter (Clemson), sophomore outfielder/first baseman Nolan Schubart (Michigan), sophomore third baseman Jack Crighton (Michigan) and senior pitcher Anthony Fett (Akron).

The COVID-19 outbreak put an end to the St. Mary’s title hopes – an obvious disappointment to Wood and many other top prep baseball players in Michigan. But Wood still hopes to play baseball this summer before enrolling at Michigan.

“It was tough not to play, we were going to have a great team, but you understand why you can’t play,” Wood said. “But now that it’s over, with everything that’s happened, I just try to keep working to get better, stay focused.

“I’m lifting five times a week. My grandpa has some weights and a bunch of plates in his basement, so I go over there and lift. I’m throwing five times a week, as well, throw bullpen once or twice a week too. I just go over to the local high school by my house since the baseball field is open. I just go and throw there.”

Wood helped St. Mary’s reach the Division 2 state semifinals his sophomore year when he went 9-2 with a 2.20 ERA. Wood did all he could in the semifinal game at Michigan State, working 8.2 innings of shutout ball and striking out nine while allowing two hits in what went on to be a 3-0, 10-inning loss to Stevensville Lakeshore.

MSU’s McLane Stadium proved to be a stage Wood enjoyed performing on, making an encore performance his junior season when he threw a two-hitter in a 10-0 semifinal win over Muskegon Oakridge. He struck out 10 to finish 10-0 with a 1.05 ERA, with 138 strikeouts in 78.2 innings.

St. Mary’s went on to defeat Grand Rapids Catholic Central 8-1 in the state title game when Porter allowed just one run in six innings to earn the win.

Mooney, who hit .450 last season with 47 RBI and 50 runs scored – 6-for-8 with five RBI in the semifinal and title games – was the catalyst in helping the program raise money to treat nurses and doctors at Royal Oak Beaumont, with lunch delivered to them on Thursday.

In past years, Wood played summer travel ball for Team Elite, but his plan for this year is still up in the air.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, most likely going to play in a collegiate league if they have any summer ball, so I can face all the college players – the type of competition I’ll face at Michigan,” Wood said. “My high school coach Matt Petry has been talking to people. I heard Legacy is putting on a collegiate summer league with some D1 and D2 players in Michigan, so we’re just going to stay around here and play locally, which would be good for me.”

Blakely looking forward to Auburn

Werner Blakely Jr. was considered the top player in the state after hitting .467 with four homers, six triples, 10 doubles, stealing 24 bases, scoring 44 runs and knocking in 34 to help Detroit Edison advance to the Division 3 regional semifinals, an extra inning loss to Riverview Gabriel Richard.

Blakely, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound shortstop, will play next year at Auburn. He played in the Under Armour All-American Game last summer and met his idol, Yankees legend Derek Jeter, who grew up in Kalamazoo, at IMG Academy in Florida.

Blakely wanted to put Edison’s baseball program on the map, the same way Edison’s boys basketball program rose to prominence with the Class C state title in 2018, and Edison’s girls basketball program with three straight state championships (with another one likely before the pandemic ended the season).

“It’s upsetting, but it’s a health crisis, really nothing we can do, so for me I have to look beyond high school toward the future,” Blakely said. “Still, no doubt it’s upsetting because my team had been working hard and I was looking forward to seeing what we could do this year. We had a great schedule set up to get us ready for the postseason.”

Blakely has been working out and trying to stay sharp for his freshman season at Auburn.

“Running every day, lifting every day,” said Blakley, who plans to major in marketing at Auburn. “I’ve been working on the mental side of baseball, too, making sure that I’m being more body-efficient, being more body-aware, so I’ve been taking this time to be a student of the game and actually knowing myself better as a player.”

“I’m really excited to get down there, ready to face some great talent in the SEC.”

Edison coach Mark Brown put a schedule together that included state powers Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Grosse Pointe South, Saline, Detroit Country Day, Warren De La Salle and Grosse Pointe North.

Blakely’s father, Werner Blakely, played football at Eastern Michigan, earning a spot on the All-Decade team (1990s). His older brother Christian walked on to Michigan’s baseball team last year. His mother Donna Davis played volleyball at Eastern Michigan and his sister Krista is a member of EMU’s volleyball team.

Brown was looking forward to seeing what Blakley could do his senior year.

“Werner was gearing up for a tremendous senior year,” Brown said. “He’s the hardest worker, a leader by example. He looks like a grown man, solid muscle at 6-3 and 185 pounds.”

Blakely’s college teammate at Auburn will be Korbin Griffin, a 6-3, 190-pound left-handed pitcher / first baseman from Gull Lake.

Other top players

Nolan McCarthy, who led Portage Northern to its first state championship (Division 1) last season, is also headed to the SEC, where he will play at Kentucky. McCarthy hit .430 with eight homers and 49 RBI last season.

McCarthy came up big multiple times in the postseason, including a walk-off base hit in the regional against Grand Ledge and an RBI triple to put an end to a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth, going on to score himself in a 2-0 state semifinal win over Birmingham Brother Rice.

… Woodhaven senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Szczepaniak is headed to Michigan State.

… Detroit Country Day center fielder Saborn Campbell is just a junior and has committed to Stanford in baseball. He would like to play both football (defensive back) and baseball in college, and he has been offered by Michigan State to do just that.

… Portage Central shortstop Luke Leto is one of the top junior players in the nation and he is also SEC-bound, committing to LSU.

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