The 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:
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.