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High School  | General  | 2/15/2022

OLSM Reloads For Another Title Run

Blake Dowson     
Photo: Brock Porter (left), Ike Irish (right), Perfect Game
2022 High School Baseball Preview Index

The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (Michigan) baseball team won a state title last year thanks to several individuals, but none bigger than Alex Mooney.
Mooney, who graduated from OLSM and has enrolled at Duke University, is ranked as the No. 1 freshman in all of college baseball. He is as decorated as they come, being named the MVP of the 2020 Perfect Game All-American Classic and All-Tournament Team at the 2020 WWBA World Championship.
So how does OLSM go about trying to replace Mooney? How about with three other Perfect Game All-Americans – Brock Porter, Ike Irish, and Nolan Schubart – taking on leadership roles this year.
That ought to lessen the blow a bit.
“It will take some time once we get the whole team together to see how that dynamic plays out, but I’m confident that those guys will step up,” Head Coach Matt Petry said.
Porter, the No. 7 overall player in the 2022 class and No. 2 right-handed pitcher, will anchor the rotation.
The Clemson commit was the first player handed the ball for the West squad in the Perfect Game All-American Classic last August in San Diego, where he struck out two in his inning of work, humming his fastball up to 98 mph in the start.
He’s touched 100 mph since last summer, and will likely hear his name called very early in this summer’s MLB Draft. Until then, he’s got one more high school season to work on his craft.
“He’s a life-long learner,” Petry said of Porter. “It’s funny to say that as an 18-year-old. He’s always looking to get better. He hasn’t rested on anything he’s done in the past, he’s always trying to develop. This offseason he’s working on a couple different breaking balls. He’s never satisfied with where he’s at, he’s always looking to get better, and it’s certainly been fun to watch.”
Irish will catch Porter. The athletic backstop is a top-50 player overall in the class and top-5 catcher because he’s so athletic behind the plate and has a cannon for a right arm.
His 88 mph arm paired with a 1.83 pop time at last year’s National Showcase gives you an idea of the defensive talent, and the left-handed bat has power to all fields. If Irish gets to campus, he’ll be at Auburn.
Schubart is the third of the three-headed monster, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound outfielder who hasn’t found a field big enough to hold the power in his left-handed swing yet. The No. 56 overall prospect in the 2022 class will stay home and play at Michigan if he makes it to campus.
“They both had excellent seasons last year, and I know they’re both garnering some interest with professional scouts,” Petry said of Irish and Schubart. “With both those guys, they’re focused on getting better every day and doing what they can to help their team win.”
Those three are far from the only contributors coming back from last year’s state title team, though.
Jack Crighton (Michigan commit) will play some third base and find himself in the outfield as well. He hit a team-high .438 last spring. Jake Dresselhouse (Michigan State) transitioned to the outfield last year, doing so marvelously, while hitting 14 home runs and keeping the average above .400.
Both of those guys are traditional middle infielders shifting to other spots to help the team win, Petry said. He said he’s got a roster full of guys like that.
“It just shows the athleticism and the versatility of all these guys,” Petry said. “A guy like Jake Dresselhouse had never played the outfield before last year…A guy like Jack Crighton has played the middle in the past, and now he’s playing third. It speaks to a willingness to do whatever it takes to win.”
Blake Grimmer is another middle infielder by trade who will move around a bit this year, between third and first base, mostly. Grimmer is a Tennessee commit, ranked as a top-200 player in the 2023 class and a top-50 shortstop.
Jasen Oliver will be the man actually tasked with replacing Mooney at shortstop this year. Oliver is another Michigan commit on this OLSM team, though a year younger than Schubart and Crighton as a 2023 grad.
Other 2023s include Ryan Mooney (Alex’s brother), a top-50 outfielder and a Notre Dame commit, and Ryan McKay, a top-500 infielder committed to Michigan State.
“We have a very deep lineup,” Petry said. “A lot of those guys are returning from last year. Seven of the nine guys from last year are returning to the lineup.”
The rotation behind Porter will be boosted by Ciaran Caughey, a senior right-hander committed to pitch at Kent State, who had some spot starts in league play last year.
Brandon Skorupski was an important bullpen piece for OLSM last year as a pitchability lefty, and will be a rotation piece this year. And Parker Brzustewicz, a sophomore on the team, made a few non-league starts last year and figures to play an even bigger role this year.
It’s a talented group, one that met the lofty expectations set by past teams at OLSM by winning a state title last year, and one that hopes to keep that tradition moving in 2022.
“We always have three goals at St. Mary’s,” Petry said. “It’s not a certain number of wins. We play in one of the toughest leagues in the Midwest, if not the country. One goal is to win that league in the regular season. Our second goal is to win the league tournament. Our third goal is to win a state championship.”