2017-07-13 / Sports

Jackson, Penny headline Dream Team

County seniors secure seven of 10 spots on all-Leelanau roster
By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

Jared and Jake. Jake and Jared. Jackson and Penny. Penny and Jackson.

No matter the order, consensus among members of the Enterprise Baseball Dream Team is that Glen Lake battery-mates Jared Jackson and Jacob Penny were the class of Leelanau County in 2017.

The voting panel, which consists of all three county coaches and Enterprise sports staff, seemed to agree this week while placing the community college commits and former Northwest Conference batting champs atop the 10-player list of all-county performers.

Jackson, Glen Lake’s opening-day starter and the only all-state first-team honoree in the county, captured unanimous MVP honors after putting together a county-best .462 batting average.

“I learned to lay off the curveballs early in the count and wait for that pitch right down the pipe,” said Jackson, who drove in a combined 97 runs en route to Dream Team designations in each of the last three seasons.

Defensively, the Lakers (31-7) leaned heavily on the shortstop’s athleticism on their way to winning a sixth straight district championship.

They also leaned heavily on their catcher, Penny, who racked up 187 putouts in an injury-shortened senior campaign — and did so without committing a single error.

“He’s always been a threat as a hitter, but his hallmark is his defense,” said Glen Lake coach Kris Herman, whose career record moved to 319- 189-6 this spring. “He’s proven to be one of the best catchers in the state.”

Dream Team honorees didn’t hit for power like they have in previous years, but Penny was an exception. He homered twice; the other nine all-star selections hit just three homers combined.

Pitcher and third baseman Cade Peterson supplied one of those homers while leading the region with 42 RBI.

Herman said Peterson, a newcomer to the program, and classmate Robbie Dezelski provided their share of timely hits from the get-go this season.

Dezelski was as consistent as he was clutch, slicing and dicing his way past the .400 plateau at the plate.

“When we needed someone to step up this year, Robbie did in a big way,” Herman said of the left fielder.

Suttons Bay (10-20) also had its share of consistency in a lineup led by junior shortstop and Dream Team returner Kaleb Grant, who hit .408.

The Norsemen will look to Grant for production in 2018 when the team is tasked with replacing three other all-county performers, outfielders Justin McSawby and Baylor Mikesell and first baseman Brett Rice.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys coming up,” Grant said when asked about next season. “I don’t know how we’ll be, but we’ll make it work. There’s going to be a lot of teaching points.”

Suttons Bay skipper Doug Periard had plenty of teaching points this year, especially early in the season.

Defensive lapses led to frustrating losses and less-than-desirable stat lines on the mound for McSawby and Rice, two of the team’s top pitchers.

Both players managed to pull their weight on the mound and at the plate, however, combining for 18 doubles, three triples, one home run and 25 RBI. McSawby and Rice were even better defensively, as evidenced by fielding percentages of 1.000 and .983, respectively. Mikesell, who recorded eight putouts in a game against Glen Lake, was right there with them at .955.

St. Mary (5-10) rounds out this year’s senior-heavy Dream Team with a pair of all-county honorees, second baseman Roger Crimmins and third baseman Chris Kohler, who improved their batting averages by more than .100 points this season. Crimmins and Kohler hit .348 and .342, respectively.

Their offseason dedication and willingness to lead by example figures to serve as a blueprint for future players in coach Dewey Painter’s program.

“Coach Painter stressed it at the player meeting in February: He said the guys that are good are good because of offseason work,” said Crimmins, who will attend the University of Michigan this fall. “We have open gyms where we can pitch and hit that we can utilize.

“Players in other programs are working out, throwing and putting work in as soon as their other sports end.”

The St. Mary-Leland co-op could also benefit from more live reps.

Inclement weather, senior trips and other extracurricular activities led to an abbreviated season this year.

Dream Team by Position:

• Three outfielders
• Two shortstops
• Two third basemen
• One first baseman
• One second baseman
• One catcher
• Five players pitched

Dream Team by Team:

• Four from Glen Lake
• Four from Suttons Bay
• Two from St. Mary

2016 Dream Team:

• Grant
• Jackson
• McSawby
• Mikesell
• Penny
• Nick Apsey (Glen Lake)
• Zach Cooper (Glen Lake)
• Trevor Petroskey (Suttons Bay)
• Jared Roeske (St. Mary)
• Matt Schweikart (Glen Lake) MVP

Return to top