Where Are They Now: Mason County Central’s Chad Pleiness
Mason County Central’s Chad Pleiness was a three-sport star for the Spartans. He earned All-State honors in football, basketball and baseball during his senior year.
During Pleiness’ senior year, Mason County Central basketball went undefeated until the state championship game, when the Spartans lost to Detroit St. Martin de Porres. Pleiness had 23 points in the state championship game.
After high school, Pleiness went to Central Michigan on a football scholarship with a chance to play baseball as well. However, he played just one year of football at CMU and actually wound up playing baseball and basketball.
“When it came to spring football they really wanted me to be likely a starter that next year and so that means getting a lot of the major reps and being there for all of the spring practices and doing a lot of that spring work, which I was. But then I also had that baseball commitment and I still really wanted to partake in that. When they were kind of limiting that participation in baseball and I missed a couple of baseball trips I didn’t feel like the understanding and the balance was there,” Pleiness said of the decision to stop playing football.
Pleiness then joined the basketball team as a walk-on but became a scholarship player the next year. In 2001-02, Pleiness averaged 11.2 points per game for the Chippewas, third on the team behind Chris Kaman and David Webber.
But baseball is where Pleiness really separated himself and, in 2002, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round. He played a few minor league seasons but nagging shoulder injuries ultimately led Pleiness to end his playing career.
“I picked the one position in sports, the only position, where you couldn’t continue to work 24/7 if you wanted to in order to be successful,” Pleiness said. “Being a pitcher limits the amount of work you can do because your arm can only handle so much.”
Pleiness said it was a difficult transition from competing year-round to working in business and trying to fill the competitive void.
“It was learning the little parts of businesses and little things you could do and little games you could play even within yourself to try to find ways to compete and to try to be successful,” he said.
Pleiness continues to stay active today by playing fastpitch softball. Pleiness and his wife have three young boys and he works for Kellogg in Battle Creek.
MiSportsNow is taking a look back at some of the great athletes that played in northern Michigan in the Where Are They Now? segment. If viewers have any suggestions, feel free to reach out to our sports department at SportsDepartment@9and10news.com.