Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 OC Football Watch List - Running Backs

Mike Johnson – Auburn Hills Avondale
Johnson became one of the area’s most dangerous running backs last season in the pass heavy Avondale offense and should frustrate defensive coordinators once again this season.

Lorenzo Collins – Farmington Hills Harrison
Might be the most talented running back in the county and could be relied upon in a Harrison offense that graduated a lot of players from last year.

Wyatt Shallman/Anthony Darkangelo – Novi Detroit Catholic Central
These two are the definition of Catholic Central running backs, bruising backs who will just wear teams down as the game goes on. Both will also be two key contributors for the Shamrock defense throughout the year as well.

Jacob Miller – Lake Orion
In what should be a promising year for the Dragons, look for Miller to carry the load from time to time for the Lake Orion offense.

Chuck Sanders – Lakeland
An athletic freak who can do it all out of the backfield. He has a chance to take it to the house every time he touches the ball whether running or catching the rock.

Juan Johnson – Madison Heights Madison
Just a freshman last year, Johnson burst onto the scene and showed that he is the real deal. He can run the ball or catch the ball out of the backfield which makes him as good as it gets.

Sam Haskell – Troy Athens
As a junior Haskell proved to be a home run threat every time he touched the ball and it’s scary to think that he could be even better in 2012.

Jake Doetsch – Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
A bruising running back who is capable of shedding tackles and picking up big time yards at just about any time.

Brian Walker – Birmingham Brother Rice
With Devin Church now moving on to college, Walker will be the go to guy for the Warriors and should start right where Church left off. Powerful and fast, perfect combination of size and speed.

DeShun Brown – Undecided
After transferring from Brother Rice, Brown should take over the every down duties for his next team and give them a true rushing attack.

Connor Mohr/Jordan Degreffenreed – Farmington
Mohr has dealt with injuries in the past, but they should be behind him now as the bruising running back should have a monster season carrying the load for Farmington. Degreffenreed showed off his ability as a home run hitter out of the backfield at several times last year.

Grant Niemic/Parker McInnis – Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
For those thinking that the Eaglets might take a step back this year, think again as this duo of thunder and lightning should once again make Saint Mary’s a dominant force on the ground on the crimson turf.

Eric Hudson – Berkley
Hudson has flown under the radar for much of his high school career, but expect him to be one of the biggest breakout stars in 2012.

Malik Washington – Oak Park
A versatile running back who can make plays in the running game and is just as dangerous is the passing game and should play a key role in the Oak Park offense.

James Ward – Rochester
Ward has emerged as a true playmaker out of the backfield over the past few years, and should show that once again this fall.

Jake Ginster - Walled Lake Northern
In the up-tempo, fast paced Northern offense, Ginster will give the Knights' backfield a hard nosed edged as she is capable of running over defenders and also making them miss

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012 OC Football Watch List - Quarterbacks

UPDATE: Thanks to one of the readers for pointing out a glaring omission on my part, scroll down to see one last QB that I mistakenly left off of my original list.

1. Cam Thomas – South Lyon East
Arguably the best and most exciting returning starter at QB for the 2012 season and could lead East to the playoffs for the first time.

2. Kyle Bambard – Walled Lake Western
Dual threat QB that can make the throws and pick up yards with his legs. Also the top kicker in the area as well.

3. Tyler Wiegers – Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Hasn’t started a game for the Yellowjackets yet, but college scouts are already taking note of his big time arm.

4. Matthew Linehan – Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
Much Like Wiegers, will likely be the starting QB for the first time this fall, and should be one of the more polished passers in the county.

5. Cheyne Lacanaria – Birmingham Brother Rice
Lacanaria helped lead the Warriors to a state title last year and showed off his impressive accuracy when given the opportunity in the run heavy Brother Rice offense.

6. Jody Harrison – Pontiac
Showed last year that he can do a bit of everything from behind center and was one of the best at throwing the deep ball.

7. Eric Ellis – Ferndale
One of the few returning starters in the county from last year and proved to be deadly accurate in a number of games.

8. Johnny Williams – Holly
One of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the county, showing his ability to get the job done with his arm as well as his legs.

9. Alex Larson – Milford
Larson is yet another returning QB that has proven to be reliable with his arm and legs and should continue to do the same for the Mavericks in the fall.

10. Glacier Wallington – Oxford
After taking over around the midway point of last season as a freshman, Wallington continued to progress as a passer in the run dominate Wildcat offense.

11. Nathan Drews – Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest
Drews might be the most underrated quarterback in the area, but has shown his ability to throw and run with the best of them during his time under center for the Crusaders.

12. Justin Losey – Troy
Troy could be a team that could sneak up on some people this year and a big reason for that will be Losey who was a nightmare for defensive coordinators last season.

13. Spencer McCourt - Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Yet another very dangerous dual threat quarterback who is coming off of an impressive sophomore season, McCourt showed his ability to make all of the throws from the pocket as well as some athleticism to make plays with his legs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elite Eight - Oakland County Baseball MVP's

1. Brett Sunde – Madison Heights Bishop Foley
Sunde was as good as it gets in his senior season, proving to be the best player in the state after winning the Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year award and was also drafted in the 35th round by the Oakland Athletics. While helping lead the Ventures to back-to-back D-3 state titles, the star senior hit .500 with 68 RBI and five home runs while showing off his ability to throw out runners at an impressive rate from behind the plate. Hard to pick against him for MVP.

2. Matt Ruppenthal – Birmingham Brother Rice
Ruppenthal might have been just a sophomore this spring, but proved that he is as good of a pitcher as there is in the state. In over 80 innings of work, Ruppenthal held an ERA that was well under 1.00 and fanned nearly 130 batters for the Warriors this season. It’s scary to think that he’s only going to get better over the course of the next two seasons before heading to SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt.

3. Cam Vieaux – Walled Lake Western
Vieaux went from being one of the county’s unknown pitchers to being arguably the area’s best pitcher in almost no time at all. Injuries pushed the senior lefty to the top of the Western rotation and he dominated from there, posting a 1.35 ERA while striking out 107 batters in just over 60 innings of work. Vieaux’s performance during the 2012 season was enough to catch the eye of several Division 1 baseball scouts, including Michigan State, where he eventually committed to.

4. Mike Ruppenthal –Birmingham Brother Rice
Ruppenthal was quietly dominant all year long for the Warriors in 2012 as his ERA hovered around the 1.00 mark as a senior. When he wasn’t on the mound, Ruppenthal was proving to be one of the area’s top catchers both offensively and defensively as he made life tough for potential base-stealers all year long while catching for his younger brother, Matt.

5. Nick Deeg – Lake Orion
The OC’s Randy Johnson lived up to his nickname in 2012 as he was a dominant force for the Dragons on the mound and did just as much damage at the plate. In just under 70 innings, Deeg posted a 2.01 ERA and fanned over 100 batters on the year as he helped lead the Dragons to a district title in his junior season. Offensively, Deeg was almost as dangerous as he drove in over 30 runs and had a batting average near .450.

6. Brian Bayliss – Madison Heights Bishop Foley
In a year where the biggest question facing the Ventures was what they would do to replace the top level pitching they had last season, Bayliss stepped up as a true ace for Bishop Foley, as he helped lead the way to a second straight state title. Bayliss put together a perfect 15-0 record in 2012 while posting an ERA of just under 1.50 and averaged a strikeout per inning as he struck out 96 batters on the season.

7. Zac Leimbach – Walled Lake Central
Leimbach capped off his high school career in impressive fashion on the diamond as he proved to be a threat in a number of ways for the Vikings in the spring as he hit nearly .700 and was named to the Division 1 all-state team. Leimbach was one of the state’s most dangerous players on the base paths as he swiped 33 bases and crossed the plate 35 times on the season.

8. Sterling Sharp – North Farmington
Sharp quickly became one of the most coveted pitchers in the state last season as he caught the attention of college scouts from just about everywhere. In a season that included a no-hitter, Sharp recorded 50 strikeouts and an unblemished 7-0 record and a 1.90 ERA. Sharp, much like Deeg, will continue to improve into his senior season as both will continue to generate plenty of college interest over the course of the next several months.

Honorable Mention (No Order): A.J. Susick (Auburn Hills Avondale); Gabe Berman (Bloomfield Hills Andover); Tommy Eng (Troy Athens); Jake Balicki (Birmingham Groves); Logan Regnier (Novi); Luke Ortel (Madison Heights Bishop Foley); Nikko Gonzalez (Stoney Creek); Mike Azzopardi (Birmingham Detroit Country Day); Ted Lilley (Walled Lake Northern); Zak Northrup (Stoney Creek); Garrett Schilling (Madison Heights Bishop Foley); Brad Schaenzer (Lake Orion); Jacob Chapman (Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood); Dylan Peck (Clarkston)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Elite Eight - 2012 Oakland County Softball MVP's

1. Melissa Palmer – Troy Athens
Palmer wins MVP honors in my book for the 2012 season as she proved to be the most complete and effective player in not only Oakland County, but possibly the state as well. Palmer was as tough of an out as there was in the spring as the senior shortstop hit over .700 as she helped lead the Red Hawks to the Regional semifinals. Palmer was just as dangerous once she got on base as she swiped over 50 bases and was a near lock to score whenever she reached base.

2. Sydney Hasselbach – Clarkston
Hasselbach was the definition of a power hitter for the Wolves this spring as she hit over 10 home runs and drove in over 60 runs in her junior season. But where Hasselbach was most valuable for Clarkston was behind the plate where she caught a very young pitching staff and was as good as it gets defensively leading Clarkston to the regional semifinals as well.

3. Kayce Nieto – Farmington Hills Mercy
Nieto was as good as advertised in her senior season as she continued to be the most dominant pitcher in the area and the state. Nieto picked up over 20 wins and recorded a .59 ERA to go with three perfect games and over 250 strikeouts. Nieto was also one of the top contributors for the Marlins offensively as she hit nearly .500 this spring.

4. Katy Severson – North Farmington
Severson, much like Nieto, lived up to the hype in her senior campaign as she once again proved to be a shutdown force from the circle. Registering an ERA of just over 1.50 and starting just about every game for the Raiders, Severson struck out 174 batters while doing plenty of damage offensively as well.

5. Kamryn LaCarter – Troy
LaCarter continued to be one of the top offensive and defensive players in the state throughout her career and her senior year was no exception as she nearly hit .600, while playing her usual top notch defense. LaCarter was one of the top players in the area at getting on base and showing her ability to score at just about any time.

6. Allyson Kus – West Bloomfield
Kus dealt with injuries all season long, but that still wasn’t enough to slow down the senior ace, who was dominant from the circle as she put together an ERA of well-under 3.00 and constantly struck out double digit batters and fanned almost 150 batters on the year. Kus was also one of the top offensive players for West Bloomfield as she paced the Lakers in just about every area in the spring.

7. Zoe Schmerin – Birmingham Groves
Schmerin was one of the toughest players to get out in the spring as she hit over .500 and had an on-base percentage of .712 as a junior. Schmerin also tallied 43 RBI on the season while picking up 15 doubles, seven triples and a pair of home runs. The junior also proved to be one of the top defensive catchers in the area, making it hard for anyone to steal a base.

8. Selena Hicks – Lakeland
Hicks might have missed the first half of the season, but once she made her way back into the lineup, her presence was immediately felt on both sides of the field. Hicks dominated from the circle and was one of the more consistent hitters in the middle of the Eagles’ lineup as she helped lead Lakeland back to the state quarterfinals in June.

Honorable Mention (No Order): Haley Zemmer (Troy Athens); Katy Roose (Pontiac Notre Dame Prep); Madeline Maday (Clarkston); Kelly Merkle (Lakeland); Katie Creighton (North Farmington); Megan Hastings (Clarkston); Maggie Irvine (Rochester); Sierra Burke (Lakeland); Sydney Glanz (Walled Lake Central); Keely Nowland (Birmingham Groves); Olivia Richvalsky (South Lyon East); Kim Jayson (Waterford Kettering); Tara Perry (Clarkston); Morgan Craft (Lakeland); Grace Kennedy (Birmingham Seaholm); Sarah Gutknecht (Farmington); Madison Burgess (Lakeland)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Local softball squad puts together strong showings to start summer

Four local softball stars saw their high school careers come to an end in the spring, but they still have some unfinished business to take care of this summer. West Bloomfield’s Allyson Kus, Walled Lake Central’s Sydney Glanz, South Lyon East’s Olivia Richvalsky and Troy Athens’ Melissa Palmer will help lead the 18U Gold Finesse fast pitch team in Oklahoma City as they try and pick up a Gold World Series title later this month.

The quartet will also be joined by two other local stars, Farmington Hills Mercy Alex Sobczak and South Lyon Jessie Mehr. The Garden City duo of Ashley Lynn and Kelsey Susalla, Chelsea standout Bailey Darwin, Perrysburg senior star Kim Granata, Saline senior star Kristina Zalewski, are also members of the Finesse team.

The remaining standouts on the team are Shelby Weeks from Warren Tower Woods and Hayley Cruthers from Swartz Creek, Myklan Kish from Allen Park, and Ashley Dobson from Kankakee Valley.

The Wixom based Finesse team also qualified for the Gold Premier tournament in Huntington Beach, California and won the Compuware Classic in mid-June and finished 5-0 in the Premier National Qualifier in Indiana nearly two weeks ago.