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Which Muskegon-area baseball team was poised for deepest state-tourney run?

MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo logo MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo 6/1/2020 By Scott DeCamp, mlive.com
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Muskegon Catholic Central's head coach Steve Schuitema speaks to his team after their 12-10 victory over Newaygo at Muskegon Catholic Central, in Muskegon on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. © Kayla Renie | MLive.com/Kayla Renie | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Muskegon Catholic Central's head coach Steve Schuitema speaks to his team after their 12-10 victory over Newaygo at Muskegon Catholic Central, in Muskegon on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Don’t look now, but the 2020 calendar has hit June. Had high school spring sports in Michigan not been wiped out by coronavirus COVID-19, then we would be in regional week for baseball.

Plenty of Muskegon-area players, coaches and fans are left to wonder, “What if?”

MLive Muskegon Chronicle is wondering which area baseball team would have had the best chance to make a deep run in the state tournament. Which team do you think it would have been?

That question is posed in the poll at the bottom of this story. Here are 11 candidates, listed alphabetically. If we’re missing a team or two, then email sdecamp1@mlive.com to state your case.

Fremont: The Packers won 26 games last season and played eventual Division 2 state semifinalist Oakridge tough in the district semifinals, losing 2-0 in a weather-shortened contest.

Grand Haven: The Buccaneers won a Division 1 district title last season before they dropped a 1-0, eight-inning regional semifinal heartbreaker to eventual state runner-up Rockford. Owen Krizan and Alex Kapala were returning to lead the way.

a baseball player throwing a ball: Oakridge's Austin Fairchild pitches during a game against North Muskegon at Oakridge High School in Muskegon on May 14, 2019. © Kayla Renie | MLive.com/Kayla Renie | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Oakridge's Austin Fairchild pitches during a game against North Muskegon at Oakridge High School in Muskegon on May 14, 2019.

Mona Shores: The Sailors shared the OK Black Conference title with Jenison and captured another GMAA Tier 1 championship last season. They returned a strong nucleus, including seniors Heath Cory and Kolbe Trovinger and dynamite underclassmen.

Montague: The Wildcats are coming off a solid season in which they finished third in the West Michigan Conference and played in the GMAA Tier 2 championship game. Among the multi-talented athletes returning were Johnny Monette, Remington Schneider and Brennan Schwarz.

Muskegon Catholic Central: You could make a very strong argument that the Crusaders had the most potential of any area team to make a state-finals run this season. MCC finished 27-3 last season with conference, county and district titles. The Crusaders returned the lineup virtually intact, led by senior all-staters Ryan Gillings, Josh Holden and Carson St. Amour.

a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field: Muskegon Catholic Central coach Steve Schuitema make a mound visit during a game against Newaygo at Muskegon Catholic Central in Muskegon on April 9, 2019. © Kayla Renie | MLive.com/Kayla Renie | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Muskegon Catholic Central coach Steve Schuitema make a mound visit during a game against Newaygo at Muskegon Catholic Central in Muskegon on April 9, 2019.

North Muskegon: The Norsemen were in contention for a West Michigan Conference title until the latter portion of the league schedule last year. They returned a solid group, led by Charlie Branch and Alec Cutter.

Oakridge: No Muskegon-area baseball program aside from Muskegon Catholic Central has represented the area in the state tournament better than Oakridge in recent seasons. Last year, the Eagles advanced to the Division 2 state semifinals, falling to eventual champ Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

Orchard View: The Cardinals have been a competitive program and they would have returned a strong core led by Chase Keller, Alex Andrews and Dayton Rose. Last season, the left-handed Keller tossed back-to-back no-hitters. He’s a two-time all-conference and all-district player.

Ravenna: The Bulldogs finished around the .500 mark last season, but they lost a slew of close games and put it together to win a Division 3 district title. Seniors Jack Emery, Hunter Funk and Conner Kilbourne were looking to lead the ’Dogs to a potentially big season.

Reeths-Puffer: The Rockets finished third in the OK Black Conference last season behind co-champions Mona Shores and Jenison. This spring, they were eyeing conference, county and district titles. R-P looked to be strong up the middle this season, led by a quintet of seniors.

Spring Lake: Led by pitcher/shortstop Isiah Lindsey, the Lakers were looking to make some noise this season, according to head coach Jeff Lindsey. Spring Lake’s Blake Grimmer is the state’s top-ranked freshman, although he would have missed the season while recovering from labrum surgery.

(Note: If you do not see the poll below, then CLICK HERE.)

Read more:

Sweet-swinging Blake Grimmer is Michigan’s top-ranked baseball prospect for 2023

Fan poll winner Kobe Schalk, Reeths-Puffer baseball team were primed for big season

Reeths-Puffer softball picks up first win of Sarah Feren coaching era -- in fan poll

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