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Trio from West Michigan Conference earns 2024 first-team all-state in baseball

Two from Whitehall, repeat all-stater from North Muskegon lead the way.

North Muskegon’s Ben Meyers and Whitehall’s Kyle Stratton and Ryne Christensen were among the top three baseball players in the West Michigan Conference for the 2024 season.

They were also among the best players in the state for their respective divisions, according to the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association.

Meyers earned Division 3 first-team all-state as a catcher for the second straight season.

“Ben Meyers is the best player I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching,” North Muskegon coach Garret Moyer said. “He plays the game with instincts that are not teachable. He’s an opponent’s nightmare but a coach’s dream player to coach.

“He’s extremely humble, disciplined, reliable, selfless, and continues to find ways to get better. If he was in a video game, his ‘Toughness’ attribute would be a 99. He’s no question the toughest kid I’ve ever been around.

Stratton and Christensen made the cut for Division 2 first-team all-state as an infielder and utility player, respectively.

“I can’t say enough about what these two meant to our team. They batted 1 and 2 in our lineup and made our offense tick,” Whitehall coach Warren Zweigle said about his all-state duo. “They definitely set the stage for our offense — we relied on them heavily. They both reached base in half of their plate appearances and together scored over one-third of our team’s runs.”

Additionally, Whitehall’s baseball squad was one of five in Division 2 to earn an All-State Academic Team Award.

Here are more details on Meyers, Stratton and Christensen, followed by other all-state info.

Ben Meyers, North Muskegon

North Muskegon’s Ben Meyers is shown during a game against Reeths-Puffer on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Meyers broke several records during his time as a North Muskegon player. He closes with career records for hits (229), runs (207), triples (16), stolen bases (112), and RBIs (154). He holds single-season records for hits (69 in 2023), runs (65 in 2023), triples (10 in 2023), and RBIs (55 in 2023). He also holds the single-game RBI record with eight in the 2023 district final vs. Montague.

In his career, Meyers batted .454 with 229 hits, 16 home runs, 40 doubles, and 66 walks, plus he was hit by pitch 20 times.

This season, Meyers batted 414 (53-for-128) with a .510 on-base percentage. He had nine doubles, four triples, five homers, 43 RBIs, 53 runs scored, and 15 walks. He went 35-for-35 in stolen-base attempts, and he was hit by pitch 11 times. Defensively, he split time at catcher and shortstop and finished with 273 total chances with 50 assists and 218 put-outs for a .982 fielding percentage. He caught 128 innings.

Meyers, who will continue his career at Division II Davenport University, played in the MHSBCA East-West All-Star Game earlier this week.

“He’s a sponge when it comes to soaking up information and continues to always ask questions to the extent of stretching my thinking to find ways to get better,” Moyer said about Meyers, who led the Norsemen to a 32-8 record, Division 3 No. 1 ranking, and WMC Rivers title.

“It’s been a blessing to be able to coach him as he’s not just a great athlete but a great person who continues to always sacrifice for what’s best for the team/program. Not sure we’ll ever see another Ben Meyers as he’ll currently go down as the best baseball player to ever come out of North Muskegon.”

Kyle Stratton, Whitehall

Whitehall’s Kyle Stratton steals second base against Mason County Central Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Scottville, Mich., to become the Michigan career stolen base record-holder. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The senior played primarily shortstop, but he also manned the catcher spot and pitched when needed.

Stratton is the MHSAA career stolen base record-holder with 199, passing Whitehall great Nate McLouth this season. Stratton finished with 72 steals this season to tie Cayden Ritchie for Whitehall’s single-season record.

Stratton batted .391 this season (45-for-115) with a .494 on-base percentage. He had nine doubles, one triple, one home run, 25 RBIs, 57 runs scored, and 24 walks.

Stratton is taking his talents to Taylor University, where he will play football.

“There is going to be no way for us to replace either one of these guys,” Zweigle said about Stratton and Christensen. “What they’ve done for our program in the past four years cannot be overlooked. It is their legacy to the program. We are definitely going to miss these two moving forward.”

Ryne Christensen, Whitehall

Whitehall senior Ryne Christensen and his Vikings baseball team compete against Coopersville in the Kubasiak Neighborhood Tournament Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Kent City, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The senior enjoyed a big season on the mound and at the plate for the Vikings, who finished 26-11 overall and won a Division 2 district title.

As a right-handed pitcher, Christensen finished 9-2 with one save and a 1.65 ERA. He struck out 79 and walked 21 in 68 innings pitched.

“Ryne was our No. 1 pitcher. If Ryne was on the mound, we felt like we could literally compete with anybody,” Zweigle said.

Offensively, Christensen batted .441 (52-for-118) with a .531 on-base percentage. He had 11 doubles, three triples, one home run, 30 RBIs, 38 runs scored, and 21 walks. He also had 37 stolen bases.

Christensen plans to play baseball at Muskegon Community College.

Other all-state honors

North Muskegon’s Ryan DeLora pitches against Reeths-Puffer on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

North Muskegon senior Ryan DeLora was selected Division 3 second-team all-state at the first base position.

DeLora is coming off a big postseason stretch, having earned MVP honors for the West team in the MHSBCA’s East-West All-Star Game earlier this week and for the All-Star Game last week at Marsh Field.

This season, DeLora hit .417 (48-for-115) with 18 doubles, one triple, two homers, 53 RBIs, and 36 runs scored. He also stole 17 bases. In the field, he had 102 total chances with 20 assists and 79 put-outs for a .971 fielding percentage. On the mound, the right-hander was 7-3 with one save and a 1.517 ERA. He struck out 86 and walked 24 in 60 innings.

In his career, DeLora posted 23 wins, 201 strikeouts in 167 1/3 innings, and he had five shutouts to tie for most-ever by a Norsemen pitcher.

DeLora is headed to Lansing Community College to play baseball.

CLICK HERE to see all of the MHSBCA all-state teams for 2024.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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