By Mark Blentlinger
With the loss of 9 starting seniors from last year’s Eagles baseball team, it was definitely a rebuilding year. But making it back to McLane Stadium on the Michigan State campus to play in the State Championship semifinals? That was unexpected.
The Eagles faced off against the Pioneers from Gabriel Richard in the Division 3 semifinal game. Freshman Alex Thole on the mound showed a tremendous amount of maturity and was focused on the task ahead. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing six hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
The Pioneers had Frank Klamerus as their starting pitcher. He went 4.2 innings allowing six hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The game started off with Wyatt Adams of the Eagles blasting a deep hit to left field, giving him a lead-off double. Jett Gott was able to get a base hit, putting two runners on base to start the game. Unfortunately, the Eagles were not able to capitalize on their base runners.
The next four innings ended up as a pitchers’ duel, along with some great defensive plays by both the Eagles and Pioneers.
In the top of the fifth inning, senior Austin Edwards was able to claim first base after a line drive to center field. Getting a good jump on the next pitch, Edwards stole second base. While attempting to steal third, a wild throw by the Pioneers catcher allowed Edwards to score the Eagles’ first run of the game. With three walks given up in a row to Wyatt Adams, Jett Gott and Dalton Adams, the bases were loaded. Eagle Connor Nutt drew yet another walk, bringing in run number two for the Eagles.
Inning sixs didn’t go as well for the Eagles. With some untimely errors by the Eagles and a couple of good hits that found gaps in the outfield, the Pioneers were able to put five runs up on the board. The Eagles were left with one more inning to try to claim a victory.
Unfortunately, a win wasn’t in the cards. The final score was 5-2, in favor of the Pioneers. Gabriel Richard went on to beat Madison Heights’ Bishop Foley 3-0 for the Division 3 State Championship.
With the talent and determination this young Eagles team has shown this entire season, we can anticipate more trips to McLane Stadium to watch these young men compete.