The local prep baseball landscape is jam-packed with big, bright, shining stars.
Louisville Slugger put out its preseason high school All-American team earlier in the month and Metro Detroit placed a whopping four players on the squad.
Pitchers Matt Ruppenthal (Birmingham Brother Rice), Nick Deeg (Lake Orion) and Brad Schaenzer (Lake Orion) and first baseman Carmen Benedetti (Grosse Pointe South) each received the prestigious selection and were informed this past week.
In the midst of a roster dominated by the West Coast and Southern portion of the U.S., they were the only four players spawning from the whole Midwest to make the cut.
Benedetti and Deeg are seniors. Ruppenthal and Schaenzer are both only juniors
For Benedetti and Ruppenthal this is the second straight year they’ve garnered a LS preseason All-American nod. Not shocking when you consider that Benedetti is arguably the top hitter in the state and Ruppenthal the top pitcher.
All of them definitely know how to dazzle on the diamond that’s for sure.
Displaying a superior eye at the plate, Benedetti hit .522 last season, knocking in 31 runs.
Ruppenthal (RHP) posted a 0.72 ERA and sent down 127 hitters in 81 innings.
Schaenzer (LHP) struck out 110 batters in only 68 innings of work.
Deeg (LHP) racked up a 9-1 record and 101 strikeouts in 66 innings on the hill, while also wowing from the dish, registering a .441 batting average with 36 RBI and a .540 on-base-percentage.
They're all genuine winners too.
The pair of Lake Orion hurlers (Deeg & Schaenzer) teamed to lead the Dragons to a league title and their first district crown in five years last spring.
Assuming duties as the ace of the Brother Rice staff for the second consecutive season in 2012, Ruppenthal helped guide the Warriors to league and district crowns as well.
After a slow start to the 2012 campaign for his squad, Benedetti’s explosive antics in the batter’s box led a late-season push that concluded with GPS advancing all the way into the regional finals.
Three of the four LS All-American picks have their respective college plans already figured out, with Benedetti signed with Michigan, Deeg signed with CMU and Ruppenthal committed to Vanderbilt dating back to the summer following his freshman year.
Although not committed to a school yet, Schaenzer has a bushel of high-profile Division I college programs that have offered him and he will be taking visits to close to a dozen of them soon.