Saugatuck's Blake Dunn maintains hectic schedule
While his classmates at Saugatuck High School were wrapping up the school year on June 11, sophomore Blake Dunn was hundreds of miles away in Georgia.
“We had to make up some snow days, so the last day of school was later than it was supposed to be,” Dunn said. “But the travel baseball team I play on had a tournament that weekend, so I had to miss the last day of school.”
And that was just the start of Dunn’s travels.
From Georgia, he went to a football camp at the University of Tennessee, where Saugatuck graduate Butch Jones is the coach. And from Tennessee it was back to Michigan for another baseball tournament the weekend of June 19 through June 21 in Detroit.
In all, Dunn spent a total of 10 nights away from home before finally being afforded the luxury of resting his head on his own pillow.
Keeping such a hectic schedule might seem dizzying for some.
Not so for Dunn, however, who has made a habit out of maintaining a full calendar.
“I like staying busy,” he said.
Never is that fact more evident than in the spring, when Dunn stars on both the baseball and boys’ track teams at Saugatuck.
“I’m really fortunate that (Saugatuck baseball coach David Gawlak and Saugatuck boys’ track coach Rick Bauer) are work together and are willing to work around the schedule of each sport to allow me to do both,” Dunn said.
The flexibility displayed by Gawlak and Bauer when it came to Dunn’s services paid dividends for both teams.
Dunn led the boys’ track team to its second state championship in three years, while helping the baseball team win SAC North and Division 3 district titles.
In track, Dunn defended his state title in the 300-meter hurdles at the Division 4 state finals. He also finished second in the 110 hurdles, was fifth in the long jump and anchored the winning 1,600 relay team, meaning he had a hand in 32 of Saugatuck’s 40 points as it tied for the state championship.
“At first we thought we’d gotten second place, but then we realized some of the times might not have been right and we might have actually tied for the title,” Dunn said. “So Coach Bauer walked over to the officials’ tent and came back out with one finger in the air and we knew we’d won. It was just such an overwhelming feeling.”
On the baseball diamond, Dunn hit a school-record .588 with seven home runs, 42 RBI and 42 stolen bases, all of which were school records. As a pitcher, he went 6-4 with a 1.31 ERA and struck out 99 batters in 59 innings pitched.
“When you have such a talented player as Blake, you can build a team around him,” Gawlak said. “He has all the tools. As a coach, you adjust your batting order, the pitching rotation and the defense around what he can do.”
His leadership was also invaluable, according to Gawlak.
“Blake wants to win and doesn’t take failure well,” Gawlak said. “His leadership helped this team win (a school-record) 25 games this year. His work ethic and passion for the sport, on and off the field, show his teammates what it takes to be a top high school athlete. He leads by example. He knows what needs to be done to get ready and be prepared to play. It’s almost like having another coach on the field.”
For his performance in baseball, Dunn was named Second Team All-State.
For full story, pick up a copy of the June 25 issue of The Allegan County News or The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.