National, Regional, Local Success Summary:
2014 and prior
Novi Heat Baseball has a rich travel baseball heritage and tradition, which has been passed on for over 25 years.
In 1995, an exceptional coach by the name of Dave Ray identified the need for travel baseball in the Novi area and founded the Novi Heat. This first Novi Heat travel team became known around the world by winning the North Central US Regional in Minnesota and earned the right to play in the 12U AABC World Series in Puerto Rico as one of the top 8 teams in the country (out of over 2000). This founding team competed with the best baseball teams in the world, and this started a tradition of excellence that has stood the test of time. In the years that followed, Dave Ray's teams continued to succeed by winning some of the top baseball tournaments in the country. Following the Novi Heat initial success, Doug Harrington and John Slack each took three year turns as Novi Heat Director and expanded the program to include more age groups from 9U - 14U. Novi Heat teams continued to compete at the highest level locally, regionally and nationally for many years.
The early success experienced by the Novi Heat was not an aberration. In the early 2000s, Craig Bonnell coached teams that consistently placed or won championships for an impressive 6 year run - including a top 3 finish in the CABA National Championship and top 5 in the AABC World Series. Additionally, teams lead by Rick Green (current Novi HS Varsity Coach) and Joe O'Connor also placed in the finals in the World Series and sent an impressive 9 players onto play NCAA college baseball. Tom Estfan took over in 2005 and Novi Heat teams continued to compete at the highest level of baseball in Super NITs, Michigan Major Elite, Open Tournaments and the Ripken Experience which included a state runner-up at the USSSA Open State Tournament.
By 2009, Dave Beaton coached several teams that won 4 out of 5 KVBSA Division championships, swept 4 tournament championships at 10U, and won 6 championships and 5 runner-up at the AAA or Major level during the 11U-13U years. This included a 2nd place finish at the 11U AABC World Series, and the Championship at the Battle of the Bats Majors at Bailey Park for 12U. When his tenure was completed these teams totaled an impressive 194 victories and over 75% overall winning percentage over 5 years. These accomplishments were quite possibly the highest level accomplishments for community travel baseball in Michigan.
In 2012, Ken Perpich's Novi Heat team earned the #8 seed out of 104 teams at Cooperstown Dreams Park by going 6-0 in pool play. In 2016, an 11U team won the Youth Nationals tournament in Kentucky and the USSSA AA World Series in Canton. In 2017, history repeated itself as our 12U Gold Novi Heat team again went 6-0 in pool play at Cooperstown Dreams Park earning the #11 seed out of 104 teams. In 2021, we sent three teams to Cooperstown All Star Village for the first time in our history, and all teams performed well going very deep into bracket play. Coach Abler's team earned the #6 overall seed which is the highest ever seeding after pool play for any Heat team in Cooperstown. The team also gave up the third fewest runs allowed with excellent pitching and defense.
In recent years, the Novi Heat baseball program has made significant improvements by establishing a board of directors with Ken Perpich, Ben Abler, and Dave Beaton; acquired our own state of the art indoor practice facility; conducted annual coaches clinics with the best area coaches and college players in the Novi area; offered private and group training and developmental opportunities for players; and formed many competitive teams at the community, advanced, and open level for ages 8U to 16U. Our Gold level teams have competed at the national level for several years.
The Novi Heat was founded in 1995 with the core values of: “Heart. Effort. Attitude. Team.” Over 20 years later, the same fundamental core values are alive and well throughout our organization. We expect our success to continue for many years to come.