By: John Raffel
Eye on Baseball Baseball crowns 4 champions
Grosse Pointe South in Division 1, Stevensville Lakeshore in Division 2, Riverview Gabriel Richard in 3 and Beal City in 4 were the four state champions this season.
Andrew Dermaulian had a 3-run double for GP South (32-13) in the 8-1 title win over Brownstown Woodhaven.
Stevensville Lakeshore (27-14) defeated Swan Valley 6-3 in Division 2
It was Riverview Gabriel Richard (27-14) over Madison Heights Bishop Foley 3-0 in Division 3 and Beal City prevail 10-9 over Unionville Sebewaing Division 4.
Grand Ledge’s season ended in the quarterfinals at 34-4 with a 1-0 loss to Brownstown Woodhaven.
“It was a great pitcher’s duel,” Grand Ledge coach Patrick O’Keefe said. “Both pitchers did a great job. It was a heartbreaker to lose in the bottom of the seventh. It was one of those games.”
Logan Hylek was running out of pitches.
“We made a costly error and that put runners on,” O’Keefe said. “We brought Logan back in. He got a groundout with the bases loaded for a force-out at home, but we couldn’t get the kid at first. Their leadoff man came up and hit a single for a clean hit. Logan, he’s a warrior.”
Aaron West batted .505 to lead the team’s offense. He struck out only one time the entire season.
It was Grand Ledge’s first trip to the quarterfinals in 10 years. They started two freshmen and two sophomores. O’Keefe has coached the team for 51 years. His first state title with Grand Ledge was in 1977.
“I came out of Central Michigan and signed with the Astros,” O’Keefe said. “I started here the fall of 1967.”
New Lothrop entered the quarterfinal round at 39-3 and was considered by many as a favorite to win the Division 3 title under coach Ben Almasy. But the Hornets lost to a 19-18-1 Madison Bishop Heights Foley team 8-1 in the quarterfinals.
“We got through (the regionals) pretty easy but then (the quarterfinals) happened,” Almasy said. “The season was awesome. We had a really good team, maybe even better than 2016 (as state runners-up), maybe as good. We ran into a hot Bishop Foley squad. They compete in the Catholic League. You have to find a way to beat them. They had the firepower and were hitting the ball well.
“We had made one error in our last two games. There were no defensive issues. They just hit the ball.”
Trenton Morarity and Besant Zac had two hits for New Lothrop.