Category Archives: High School Baseball

RECAP/AUDIO: Schoolcraft Falls in 8-Inning Semifinal to St. Francis

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The deepest-ever postseason run for Schoolcraft baseball ended Friday at Michigan State University, as the sixth-ranked Eagles lost 3-2 in eight innings to top-ranked Traverse City St. Francis in a Division 3 semifinal.   Schoolcraft finishes with a record of 25-11, with St. Francis moving to 38-3 and to Saturday’s championship game against Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

The Eagles struck first, ending the Gladiators’ postseason shutout streak in the bottom of the first inning.   Nolan Anspaugh led off with a triple and was brought in on a ground-out by Ricky Clark.   St. Francis grabbed the lead in the top of the third on two hits and two walks, with a Keaton Peck single scoring Aaron Simon and Artie Dutmers.   Schoolcraft tied the game in the bottom of the third with a one-out Nolan Anspaugh double setting up a sacrifice fly from his brother, Caleb.

The game stayed locked at 2-2 through regulation, despite Schoolcraft loading the bases in the fifth and seventh innings and getting two hits and a walk in the fourth.  Both starting pitchers went 6.2 innings, leaving the game because of the pitch count.   For St. Francis, Conner Sweet entered with bases loaded and closed the door, then kept Schoolcraft from scoring despite a walk and single in the eighth.   In the top of the eighth, the Gladiators used a walk, interference, and hit batter against Darren Kehoe to load up the bases and get a sacrifice fly, as Cooper Peterson brought home Gabe Callery.

“We had opportunities that we just not able to take advantage of today,” said Schoolcraft coach Larry Phelps.

It was final game for much of the Eagle roster, as 11 seniors graduate.

“They’re going to be hard to replace.   Probably one of the best baseball classes to ever come through our school.   Tough act to follow.”

Blake Bales went 6.2 innings for Schoolcraft, allowing three hits, two earned runs, and three walks, with nine strikeouts.  Bales fanned five of the first six batters he met.  St. Francis starter Joe Muzljakovich in his 6.2 innings allowed seven hits, two earned runs, and six walks with four strikeouts.   St. Francis moves to the championship at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Bishop Foley from Michigan State.   Listen back to Friday’s semifinal below:

PREVIEW: Schoolcraft Meets St. Francis in Baseball Semifinal

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Listen live online Friday at 11:30 a.m. via the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio
as the Schoolcraft Eagles face the Traverse City St. Francis Gladiators in a MHSAA Division 3 baseball semifinal at Michigan State University.

This is Schoolcraft’s first ever trip to the baseball semifinals.   Ranked sixth in the final coaches poll, the Eagles are 25-10 following their 6-1 quarterfinal victory Tuesday over Homer.   The Eagles are averaging around eight runs per game, while allowing around three per contest.

St. Francis was ranked first in the final poll and sits at 37-3 overall.   They no-hit Grand Rapids West Catholic for a 3-0 quarterfinal win Tuesday, giving them seven consecutive shutouts.  They’re allowing just over one run per contest, while scoring 6.5 per game.   The Gladiators are trying to make it to the championship for the second time in school history, taking runner-up back in 1990.

Listen live online to the semifinal via the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio.  First pitch is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday from Michigan State University.

RECAP: Schoolcraft Baseball Downs Homer 6-1, Reaches Semifinal For First Time

0613171910The Schoolcraft Eagles have reached the baseball semifinals for the first time in school history, thanks to a 6-1 victory over the Homer Trojans Tuesday in a Division 3 quarterfinal at Hope College.   The Eagles started ahead, with Caleb Anspaugh bringing in his brother Nolan on a RBI triple in the first inning.   In the third, a Nolan RBI single and Caleb sacrifice fly brought in Carlos Andino and Hunter Johnson for a 3-0 lead.

Nolan Anspaugh and Ricky Clark both scored in the top of the fifth inning off a Blake Bales two-RBI single.   The Trojans finally scored in the bottom of the fifth, using two hits and an error to bring home Garrett Butler on a Jordan Sherman RBI single.   Another Caleb Anspaugh sac fly pushed Clark home in the seventh for extra cushion.  A great 4-6-3 double-play started by Bales squashed a potential sixth inning rally and relief pitcher Darren Kehoe kept the door closed in the bottom of the seventh despite allowing a walk and single.

Ricky Clark was the winning pitcher for Schoolcraft, allowing three hits, an unearned run, and three walks with nine strikeouts over five innings.  Kehoe allowed one hit and walk over the final two innings with two strikeouts.  Homer’s Joe Roth started on the mound and went 4.2 innings, allowing nine hits, five runs, all earned, with three walks and two strikeouts.   Zach Butters took the remaining 2.1 innings, giving up one earned run on three hits with one strikeout.

“These kids play with heart and great effort,” noted Schoolcraft coach Larry Phelps.  “I think we struggled a little during the middle of the season, maybe with some frustration playing the schedule that we did and being in some tighter games and not winning.  We just focused on having fun from that point on and I think that’s made all the difference in the world for these kids.”

Nolan Anspaugh was 4-4 with two runs and one RBI.  Clark had two hits and two runs offensively with Caleb Anspaugh getting three RBI and one hit.   Homer finishes at 36-6 and loses seniors Caleb Chamberlain, Cody Turner, Payton Schrader, Brandon Fisher, and Garrett Butler.

Schoolcraft improves to 25-10 and plays in the semifinal Friday against Traverse City St. Francis, the top-ranked team in the final coaches poll.   You can listen to Friday’s contest live online via the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio with first pitch scheduled for 11:30 a.m. from Michigan State University.   Listen back to Tuesday’s quarterfinal below:

PREVIEW: #6 Schoolcraft Faces #4 Homer in Division 3 Baseball Quarterfinal

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Listen live online Tuesday at 5 p.m. through the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio as the Schoolcraft Eagles meet the Homer Trojans in a MHSAA Division 3 baseball quarterfinal from Hope College in Holland.  Schoolcraft is in the final eight for back-to-back seasons, while Homer is back for the first time since 2013.  The Eagles have never advanced beyond the quarterfinals, while Homer won the Division 4 championship in 2006 and Division 3 crown in 2004.

Schoolcraft enters with an overall record of 24-9-1, with district tournament wins over Galesburg-Augusta (17-1), Constantine (18-5), and seventh-ranked Comstock (10-0).   Saturday, they dropped Watervliet (2-1) and Buchanan (4-2) in the regional tournament.   Meanwhile, Homer is 36-5 with district tournament wins over Hillsdale (11-0), eighth-ranked Bronson (1-0), and 14th-ranked Jonesville (3-2).  Saturday, they downed Delton-Kellogg (6-0) and rallied to beat Michigan Center (7-6).

In the final Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association poll for Division 3, Homer was ranked fourth with Schoolcraft placed sixth.  The only team rated higher still remaining in the field is first-ranked Traverse City St. Francis.   The winner between them and 11th-ranked Grand Rapids West Catholic will play the Homer/Schoolcraft victor at Michigan State Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the state semifinals.

Listen live to Tuesday’s quarterfinal game online via the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio.   First pitch is set for 5 p.m. from Hope College.

RECAP/AUDIO #6 Lake Michigan Catholic Takes Regional 29 Tournament

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The sixth-ranked Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers advanced to the Division 4 MHSAA baseball quarterfinals with a pair of 5-3 victories Saturday over top-five ranked opponents.   The Lakers defeated fourth-ranked Hackett Catholic in the semifinal, then topped fifth-ranked Centreville in the final.  The Bulldogs had advanced after a 6-3 win over the hosting Decatur Raiders.

In the championship, the Lakers scored in the first inning, but fell behind after two in the second and one in the third from Centreville.   Two from LMC in the bottom of the third put the game at 3-3, which it stayed at until the bottom of the sixth inning.  Freshman Matthew DeFay had a one-out single, followed by an RBI triple from Zach Rogers.   He would score on an error for extra cushion.

Andrew Kangas was solid in relief for the Lakers.   He pitched the final five innings, allowing four hits, one run, two walks, and three strikeouts.  DeFay had two runs on three hits, Rogers had two hits, two runs, and an RBI, and Jake Kissane brought in three on two hits.  Alex Meyer started for Centreville, allowing three runs on seven hits in four innings.   The win avenges a Regional semifinal loss to Centreville from last season for LMC.

In their earlier win over Hackett, LMC initially trailed thanks to a three-run first inning for the Irish.  Aided by fielding woes, the Lakers put up single runs in the first, second, and third to tie the game.   Like against Centreville, the sixth inning is where they broke through, using a walk, double, and single to plate two runs.  DeFay pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, one earned, with three walks and six strikeouts.
In the first game of the day, Decatur started up with a first-inning run against Centreville.   The Bulldogs matched in the second, with the Raiders adding two in the third.   The Bulldogs again matched one inning later, then jumped ahead with one in the fifth and two in the sixth.  Coletin Gascho pitched a complete game, allowing four hits, three runs, one earned, with two walks and six strikeouts.

Centreville ends the year at 19-3, with Hackett finishing 25-5 and Decatur at 16-16.   Lake Michigan Catholic improves to 28-5 and meets Hudson Tuesday in the quarterfinal at 5 p.m. from Bailey Park in Battle Creek.

Listen back to Saturday’s Regional games below:

LMC VS CENTREVILLE

LMC VS HACKETT

CENTREVILLE VS DECATUR

PREVIEW: Regional 29 Baseball Tournament at Decatur

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Listen live online Saturday on Michigan Sports Radio and the Slocum Sports Network
to the Regional 29 baseball tournament from Decatur High School.   The action begins at 10 a.m. with the hosting Decatur Raiders facing the fifth-ranked Centreville Bulldogs.   At noon, the fourth-ranked Hackett Catholic Irish play the sixth-ranked Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers.  The winners meet at 2 p.m. with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.

Centreville is the defending Regional champion and was the Division 4 runner-up two seasons ago.  They defeated the other three on their way to last season’s final four appearance.  They topped Hackett 4-2 in the District final, edged LMC 3-2 in the Regional semifinal and blanked Decatur 8-0 in the Regional final.   The Bulldogs are 18-2 this season, having defeated Howardsville and Marcellus in district 115.

Decatur was the Division 3 runner up in 2014, but the Raiders have been stopped by Centreville the last two years.  At 16-15 overall, Decatur dropped 17th-ranked and District 113 host Lawrence 6-4 and outraced Holland Calvary 19-9.   Despite the weakest overall record, having home-field advantage and a four-time state champion coach in Ben Botti makes the Raiders a significant threat.

Hackett Catholic is the highest-ranked by the final coaches poll, fresh off wins over Kalamazoo Christian and Bellevue for their first district crown since 1988.   The Irish are 25-4 overall and are hoping to have their deepest playoff run ever in baseball.   Last season, they set a school-record with 28 wins.

Lake Michigan Catholic is into the Regional round for the fourth consecutive year, although they haven’t advanced beyond Regionals in this stretch.   Their deepest run came with a runner-up finish in 2010.  At 26-5, the Lakers pounded New Buffalo and River Valley in the district tournament.

Listen live to all three games Saturday online via the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio.   Game one is at 10 a.m. between Decatur and Centreville, followed by Hackett and LMC at noon and the final around 2 p.m.

RECAP/AUDIO: #10 Vicksburg Takes Baseball District #47

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The Vicksburg High School baseball team topped Otsego and Three Rivers Saturday to win District 47 at Three Rivers.  Vicksburg had a 2-1 walk-off win over the Wildcats in the semifinal, then downed Otsego in the final, 8-0.  Otsego made it through after a 7-1 victory over Plainwell earlier.

Strong pitching and defense was key in both wins for the 10th-ranked Bulldogs.   Against Otsego, only the pitch count rule prevented Ryan Morgan from completing a shutout.  He finished with five hits and two walks allowed over 6.2 innings with ten strikeouts.   Vicksburg jumped ahead immediately with four hits and an error leading to four runs in the first inning.

“To have that time off (between games) and then come right back and out of the gate, put four up in the first inning, says a lot about our guys having that focus of getting that next win,” said Vicksburg coach Brian Deal.

They added three more in the fifth and one in the sixth, getting 11 hits total.  Otsego starting pitcher Jayden Dentler lasted four innings, allowing six runs, three earned, and seven hits.  Otsego ends the season at 20-16-1.

Vicksburg won the opening game in a 2-1 pitching duel over the host Three Rivers.   Both teams scored their first run in the fifth inning.   Three Rivers led off the seventh with a hit, but the runner was caught stealing.   After a strikeout, the Wildcats doubled, but Brenden Lovell got a ground out to get out of the jam.   In the bottom of the frame, Garrett Ketelaar drew a lead-off walk for Vicksburg.   After an error, walk, and strikeout, Josh Povlock brought in Ketelaar for the winning run.

Povlock had both Vicksburg RBI.  Lovell finished with a complete game win, allowing five hits, one earned run, and two walks with eight strikeouts.  Alex Minger went 6.1 innings for Three Rivers, allowing three hits, two runs, one earned, with four walks and three strikeouts.  The senior-heavy Wildcats finish at 18-14.

“It was a grind right from the start,” said Deal.   “I can’t say enough about that Minger kid, he did a great job.”

Vicksburg advances to Regional 12 at Edwardsburg next Saturday and will meet seventh-ranked Stevensville Lakeshore at 10 a.m.   At 12:30 p.m., Edwardsburg, who split the Wolverine Conference crown with Vicksburg, plays Harper Creek.   The winners face off for a trip to the quarterfinals.   Vicksburg now sits at 29-10 and will see the Lancers for the second time, having lost to Lakeshore 9-4 back in a tournament game on May 13.

“They’re very well coached,” said Deal.  “They will push you; they bunt, they run, they play the game really well.”

“We saw a couple of their better pitchers, they didn’t see our better pitchers, so maybe that gives us a little bit of an advantage going in.   Those two guys (Lovell and Morgan) are two of the best guys in the area as far as I’m concerned.   We run those guys out there and we feel like we’ve got a chance against most teams.   Starting pitching and quality defense certainly keeps you in games.”

In Saturday’s second district game, Otsego beat Plainwell 7-1 on a strong outing from Derek Slocum, who gave up one earned run, three hits, and five walks over six innings.  Will Eldred scored three runs.   Plainwell’s Hunter Nielsen got all but one out, allowing seven runs, two earned, with six hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.   Plainwell ends the year at 11-14.

Meanwhile, the fourth-ranked Vicksburg softball team topped the same two squads to claim their district, taking a 17-7 final over Otsego in the championship.   They’ll also go to Edwardsburg for Regional play and also play Lakeshore, with their game set for Saturday at noon.

Listen back to Friday’s district baseball games below:

VICKSBURG VS OTSEGO

VICKSBURG VS THREE RIVERS

OTSEGO VS PLAINWELL

RECAP/AUDIO: Hackett Claims District 116 Final in 10-Inning Showdown

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The Hackett Catholic baseball team earned its first district crown since 1988 Friday at Climax-Scotts, surviving a 10-inning pitching duel with rival Kalamazoo Christian in the District 116 final for a 5-0 win.  Both starting pitchers had stellar outings, denying numerous scoring opportunities throughout the first nine innings.  Hackett’s Adam Wheaton went eight innings, allowing six hits with 11 strikeouts.   He was pulled due to the pitch count, with Joe Carr completing two perfect innings of relief.

K-Christian’s Jared Dirksen went 9.1 innings, finally reaching his pitch count after allowing a lead-off single in the top of the tenth.   From there, the fourth-ranked Irish scored five runs thanks to two more hits, one walk, an error, and two wild pitches from reliever Travis Pease.   Nick Maztak’s 3 RBI double to end the frame gave Hackett an emphatic 5-0 lead.   Dirksen finished with one run allowed, seven hits and six strikeouts.

“(Wheaton) left it all out there,” said Irish coach Jesse Brown.  “Joe Carr came in, did a great job in the end.   I never had a doubt.”

Hackett moves to 25-4 with the victory and their 16-1 beatdown of Bellevue in their earlier district contest, putting the Broncos at a final mark of 10-20.  The Irish now hold a 15-game win streak, aided by an odd “good luck charm,” a ceramic rooster.

“The chicken runs at midnight,” said Brown, noting the Major League origin story behind the phrase.   “We’ve had a lot of adversity with some deaths in our baseball family with two parents.  It’s something to rally the guys around.  We have not lost a game since we introduced the rooster.”

Brown also coaches the Kalamazoo United co-op football team, featuring players from both schools.   It creates an interesting dynamic along with a great rivalry, which the Comets had gotten the better of during basketball season.   The game also fittingly ended with a putout by Wheaton, who had moved to right field after leaving the mound.

“Last out, I looked over to Maztak in center field and I was like, ‘dude, this ball’s coming to me,'”  said Wheaton.

The Irish advance to next Saturday’s Regional 29 tournament in Decatur and will face the District 114 winner at noon.   Kalamazoo Christian finishes at 21-13, having won in eight innings over 11th-ranked Climax-Scotts earlier in the afternoon, 6-5.

The Comets started ahead with three runs in the first inning and one in the third.  The Panthers used two in the fifth and two more in the sixth to force extras.   A Nathan Vickery RBI triple put them ahead in the top of the eighth, but three hits in the bottom of the frame and aggressive base-running at the end from Alec Corwin gave Kalamazoo Christian two runs and the win.  Climax-Scotts ends their season at 20-5.

Listen back to Friday’s district 116 games below:

HACKETT CATHOLIC VS KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN

KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN VS CLIMAX-SCOTTS

HACKETT CATHOLIC VS BELLEVUE

PREVIEW: District 47 Baseball Tournament

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Listen live online Saturday via Michigan Sports Radio and the Slocum Sports Network to the MHSAA District 47 baseball tournament from Three Rivers High School.  The district features four Wolverine Conference rivals with the winner advancing to next weekend’s Regional tournament at Edwardsburg.   Saturday’s play begins at 10 a.m. with tenth-ranked Vicksburg against the hosting Three Rivers Wildcats.   At noon, Otsego faces Plainwell and the winners play in the district final around 2 p.m.

The district started Tuesday with Three Rivers blanking Sturgis 2-0 on a complete game shutout from Alex Minger.   Now at 18-13, the Wildcats will likely pitch Minger against 27-10 Vicksburg, who earned Wolverine Conference co-champion honors during the season.   The Bulldogs hosted and swept Three Rivers back on April 13, 4-0 and 8-1.  In those games, Brenden Lovell pitched a one-hitter, then Ryan Morgan held them to one run over six innings.

Game two sees 17-15-1 Otsego against 11-13 Plainwell.  They split their regular season games at Otsego on April 25, with a 3-2 Trojan win and a 7-6 Bulldog win.    Last year’s district title went to Sturgis, who was eliminated Tuesday.

Listen live online Saturday via Michigan Sports Radio and the Slocum Sports Network with coverage starting just before first pitch at 10 a.m.

PREVIEW: District 116 Baseball Tournament

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Listen live online Friday via Michigan Sports Radio and the Slocum Sports Network to all three games of the MHSAA District 116 baseball tournament at Climax-Scotts High School.   The district features three teams above 20 wins and two ranked in the latest Division 4 coaches poll.   The tournament begins at 11 a.m. with fourth-ranked Hackett Catholic against Bellevue.   Game two is set for 1:30 p.m. between 11th-rankd Climax-Scotts and Kalamazoo Christian.   The winners meet at 4 p.m. with the champion advancing to next week’s Regional at Decatur.

Last season’s District 116 final saw Hackett Catholic fall to eventual quarterfinalist Centreville 4-2.   Centreville is in a different district this year, with Climax-Scotts moving into 116 after claiming District 117 last season.  The Irish enter as the favorite by ranking and by overall record at 23-4, opening against the 10-19 Bellevue Broncos.  The second game sees a 20-4 Panther squad against a 20-12 Comet team.   Climax-Scotts swept Bellevue in the regular season, but didn’t play either Hackett or K-Christian.   Meanwhile, the Comets and Irish met thrice, splitting a doubleheader at Kalamazoo Christian and with a Hackett win in the City Tournament.

Listen to all three games Friday online via Michigan Sports Radio and the Slocum Sports Network with coverage starting prior to first pitch at 11 a.m.