By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford Wildcats baseball program went 4-1 from May 17-22, improving their 2021 record to 24-7 (11-4 Oakland Activities Association Red Division).
To begin their week, the Wildcats played their final league series of the season, which came against the Stoney Creek Cougars.
Playing the first two games of the set at home on May 17, Oxford won the first, 12-2, and dropped the second, 6-4.
Senior right-hander Nolan Kutchey picked up his sixth win of the campaign in the first game, working all six innings, allowing just four hits, and striking out four Cougars. Neither of the two runs scored by Stoney Creek were earned.
Junior second baseman Tony Hatzigeorgiou, who is hitting .450 (27-for-60) this season, led the way offensively, launching his second home run and finishing 4-for-4 with three runs batted in (RBI). Senior shortstop Ethan Burdua and junior center fielder Brady Carpenter both chipped in two hits.
Senior Sean Cooper, a lefty, took his first loss of the year in the second game, surrendering five runs – four of which were earned – on six hits over four-and-one-third innings.
Sophomore right-hander Owen Schihl pitched well in relief, giving up just a lone unearned run in two-and-two-third innings.
Left fielder Brendan Moore, a senior, recorded two of the Wildcats’ five hits in the contest.
In the rubber game of the series, played at Stoney Creek on May 19, Oxford prevailed, 4-2, behind six innings of two-run baseball by junior right-hander Gavin Walters, who finished with nine strikeouts.
The win was Walters’ third of the season and he has now struck out 43 hitters, trailing only Cooper’s 45 for the most on the team.
For the second-straight contest, the Wildcats tallied five hits, with two of them coming from senior designated hitter Joe Roeher.
Oxford’s 11-4 league record was good for second-place in the OAA Red, behind only the Lake Orion Dragons, who, as of May 23, stood at 12-2 and rounded out their league schedule by traveling to tangle with the Rochester Adams Highlanders on May 24.
Stoney Creek took home third-place at 8-7, Rochester Adams entered their final game with Lake Orion at 6-8, the Rochester Falcons were 4-11, and the Clarkston Wolves occupied the rear at 3-12.
Completing their week, the Wildcats hosted the Avondale Yellow Jackets for two games on May 22, handily winning both by scores of 15-0 and 11-1.
The tilts with Avondale doubled as the program’s Senior Day and head coach Dave Herrick started all seven of his members of the Class of 2021 in the first game.
In said first game, Kutchey picked up his seventh win and Oxford plated 13 runs in the first inning, three of which came on a bases-clearing triple by senior right fielder Jack Butzu.
Junior Ryan Peruski started the second game, with Cooper and sophomore right-hander Drake Krawczyk, who was called up from the junior varsity team for the day, pitching out of the bullpen.
Junior right fielder Brandon Kampo doubled and drove in three runs and his classmate, center fielder Eddie Bieniasz, added two doubles and two RBI.
Oxford’s seven seniors
2B Josh Brown
Joined by his parents, Brenda and Kevin, Brown is a two-year varsity player. He will be attending Macomb Community College and majoring in welding. His message to younger players is always give 110 percent when you get your chance to play.
SS Ethan Burdua
The son of Colleen and Anthony, Burdua is a three-year varsity Wildcat and graduated with a 3.7 grade point average. He is undecided on where he will attend school next fall and his favorite memory as a member of Oxford’s baseball program is being part of the district championship-winning team in 2019.
1B/RF Jack Butzu
Accompanied by his parents, Karrie and John, Butzu is a two-year varsity player. He graduated with a 4.1 grade point average, earned Academic All-State honors in 2020, and plans to begin his college studies at Macomb Community College before transferring to Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he will major in data science.
Butzu’s message to younger players is work hard, have confidence in yourself, and enjoy every day you can play baseball.
LHP/1B Sean Cooper
Voted a captain by his teammates this season, Cooper was joined by his parents, Maureen and Scott. A three-year varsity Wildcat, he will be attending Michigan State University and majoring in business management.
Cooper’s message to younger players is to never take a game, day or play off. Your high school baseball years are something you only get once, so make the most of them.
RHP/2B Nolan Kutchey
Joined by his parents, Erin and Mike, Kutchey graduated with a 4.232 grade point average, the sixth-highest in Oxford High School’s 2021 class, and he earned Academic All-State honors in 2020.
Another three-year varsity Wildcat, he will be attending Miami University in the Honors College and plans to co-major in biochemistry and pre-medical studies.
Kutchey’s message to young Oxford players is baseball is a team game, so continue to work hard in practice every day and have fun. Always live in the present and do not let mistakes in the past bother you.
LF Brendan Moore
Another member of the varsity team since his sophomore year, Moore was voted a captain by his teammates this season and joined by his parents, Tami and Brett.
He will be attending Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant and majoring in marketing.
Moore’s message to future players is to not take a moment for granted.
3B Joe Roeher
The son of Sue and Tim, Roeher is another three-year varsity Wildcat and graduated with a 3.7 grade point average.
He also plans to attend Central Michigan University, where he will major in exercise science.
Roeher’s favorite memory thus far as a member of the program is winning the district championship two years ago, and his message to younger players is to always work hard.