Saturday Highlights: Soccer, Baseball, Softball District Results
Ferndale soccer beats Hazel Park to win championship; Athens softball beats Troy and Adams on its way to district title; Adams baseball beat Avondale 7-3 to win district; OLSM baseball beats Andover in district finals.
* home team in all CAPS
Andover over NOTRE DAME PREP 7-2
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s over Andover, 5-1 (at Notre Dame Prep)
Andover (28-6) beat Notre Dame Prep 7-2 in the district semifinals, but ended up losing in the finals to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 5-1.
Marlin Pruitt pitched a complete game in the win over Notre Dame. He struck out seven and scattered three hits.
The Barons put together 11 hits including a big 4-for-4 performance from Ryan Kavanagh. Todd Weiss and Alec Mares each had two hits. Mares had an RBI.
In the second game, starter Gabe Berman was the victim of some poor defense behind him.
The Eaglets reached base seven times on Andover infield errors despite Berman giving up only four hits in the loss.
St. Mary’s advances to the Division 2 regionals on Saturday for a game against the winner of the Armada district.
“It was a great day of baseball,” Rochester Adams varsity baseball coach Jeff Hall said with a wide smile at Troy Athens High School on Saturday afternoon.
The Highlanders (17-14) captured a district title with a 5-2 win over Athens in the early district semifinals game. After a break, they came back and beat Avondale 7-3 to capture the championship.
In the early game, Hall gambled and went with his No. 2 starter Jeff Turnbull, hoping he could save his ace, Sean Beyer, for the finals.
The move paid off when his team’s offense was able to get to Red Hawks starter Tommy Eng early in the game.
“We knew Tommy (Eng) was going to throw the ball hard, we were just hoping to get three or four runs, which we were able to do,” Hall said.
Adams' tough regular season schedule helped players prepare for a starter like Eng, who throws in the mid-80’s.
The Highlanders weren’t able to give themselves a cushion in the finals.
Avondale (26-9) scored in the top of the first on an RBI single from A.J. Susick. It added to its lead with a run in the third. Adams answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning and then grabbed a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fourth inning.
“They got ahead of us early and our kids just battled through it,” Hall said.
It was almost the perfect ending; almost.
Troy went into the bottom of the seventh inning against Avondale in the district semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Athens High School down 3-0.
The wheels almost came off for Avondale after two fielding errors and a past ball helped the Colts score two runs and put the go-ahead run on second base.
With Troy’s top hitter Nick Guitar coming up to the plate, coach Jim Ellis thought his team could be on the verge of something special.
“He’s been our best hitter, he’s going to Ohio Northern next year, who else do you want at the plate at that moment, at that time?” Ellis said. “I couldn’t draw it up any better. To have the past ball to get the winning run on second, things were lining up nice for us.”
Guitar needed to get a hit against Avondale’s ace A.J. Susick, a pitcher who the Colts have faced three times this season.
“I thought we put the bat on the ball pretty good today against him,” Ellis said.
And Guitar nearly did some major damage on a pitch that Susick left over the plate. Guitar drove a fly ball to leftfield to end the game by a score of 3-2. If he didn’t get so far under the baseball, the out could’ve easily been a double.
“We didn’t get the timely hitting we needed,” Ellis said.
The loss spoiled a solid day’s work from starter Michael Thomas.
“We got a wonderful pitching performance from Michael,” Ellis said. “Today, his approach was great.”
Ferndale over Hazel Park, 5-0 (at Warren Fitzgerald)
First-year coach Mike Kuznair called it an “incredible victory.”
Ferndale shutout Hazel Park 5-0 on Saturday at Warren Fitzgerald to bring the school its first ever district championship.
The Eagles were tested early against a Vikings, but eventually Lexie Brisson-Fast broke through with two first half goals to give her team an advantage. Molly Breen-Bondie would add a goal before halftime to put Ferndale firmly in control.
“The first 20 minutes, they played really well,” Kuznair said. “They were very organized, I don’t know if it was a little bit of nerves on our part, but they’ve improved over the season, but finally we were able to break them at about the 20 minute mark.
The schools were very familiar with each other after facing off twice in the regular season. The third time wasn’t the charm for the Vikings.
Brisson-Fast scored again 10 minutes into the second half and Kelsey Wilson scored before Kuznair went to the bench.
Emma Whipple picked up her 10th shutout of the season and didn’t allow a single goal in Ferndale’s three district games. The Eagles beat Hamtramck 1-0 in the first round of districts on Tuesday and beat Melvindale on Thursday 8-0.
It was a big turnaround for a team that lost to Lamphere 8-0 by mercy rule.
“Their season ended very abruptly last year,” Kuznair said.
When Kuznair was hired during the offseason, the first thing he did was tell his team to look forward instead of back.
“I noticed the girls were disappointed with that,” Kuznair said. “I said, lets leave that in the past and try and create a legacy for ourselves.”
And create a legacy they have. This year’s team not only brought home its first ever district title, but also won its division for the first time in school history.
“I’ve been blessed with some great seniors,” Kuznair said.
Ferndale advances to the regionals and will play the winner of Trenton and Allen Park. The game will be played at Trenton High School on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The Athens varsity softball team is going to have to set some new goals.
After winning 30 games and a division title in the regular season, the Red Hawks went into playoffs on Saturday with one thing left on their to-do-list – a district title.
Now, that can be crossed off as well. Athens beat Adams in the district finals 9-0 to capture its first title since 1997.
“It’s been a long time,” Athens coach Dave Marr said of his team’s title draught. “It feels great, all of our goals, we’ve gotten everyone we wanted to get.”
That the championship came at the expense of city-rival Troy is even better.
Before facing the Highlanders in the finals, the Red Hawks ended the Colts' season in the semifinals with a convincing 6-2 victory.
“Beating Troy felt great,” Athens shortstop Melissa Palmer said. “I’ve never beaten Troy in my four years here.”
Palmer set the tone right out of the batter’s box. She hit a single in the first inning, stole second and went around to score on Sarah Wilson’s triple.
Haley Zemmer, the Red Hawk’s workhorse on the mound, showed just how dangerous she can be when she stepped up to bat and launched a rocket over the centerfield fence to put her team up 3-0 before the Colts knew what hit them.
“That was so exciting, we were so pumped up,” Palmer said, smiling. “We were on our feet and all yelling.”
Athens (32-6-1) would add two more runs in the second and it was more than enough.
“We just weren’t that good today,” Troy coach Tom Calnen said. “These are a bunch of great kids, but we weren’t good. The homerun didn’t help, but besides that I believe we had nine hits and left nine on.”
Kamryn LaCarter put Troy on the board in the fifth inning with an RBI single, but her hit with runners in scoring position was a rarity. The Colts stranded runners in scoring position in every inning except the first and third.
“Zemmer wasn’t at her best, she had to fight, but she got the job down,” Marr said.
And she also got it done again in the finals against the Highlanders. Zemmer struck out 10 and allowed only three hits over seven innings of work for her second win of the day.
Adams (20-19) didn’t have a single baserunner reach third.
Birmingham United over Grosse Pointe South, 19-7 (at Troy)
Birmingham United cruised past Grosse Pointe South on Wednesday night in the girls lacrosse regional semifinals 19-7.
The game was more lopsided than the score would indicate. With a 19-3 lead in the second half, Birmingham went to its bench and the Blue Devils scored some late goals.
Sarah Feiten had a big day for Birmingham, leading the team with six goals. Kathy Quigley scored five while teammates Christy Wells and Brenna Bolton each had two. Four other players scored a goal each for Birmingham as well.
Grosse Pointe’s top score was Brigette Champane with three.
Marian over TROY, 10-5
Goals weren’t easy to come by against the Marian varsity girls lacrosse team Wednesday night in the Division 1 girls lacrosse regional semifinals.
The Mustangs’ defense didn’t give Troy many open looks at the net or room to run up field. They were poking the ball loose every which way on their way to a 10-5 win.
“Our defense played fantastic today, that was the big key in the game,” Marian coach Jamie Francek said. “They weren’t able to get momentum from their goals.”
The Colts (14-8) knew coming into the game protecting the ball was going to be critical against one of the top teams in the state, but early on they struggled getting the ball passed the 30-yard line.
Turnovers helped the Mustangs grab an early lead.
Troy coach Allison Atchoo called a timeout to settle down her team after Antonia Violante put her team up 4-1 with 18:04 left in the first half.
“I think our big weakness coming out here was going to be turnovers and catching and throwing, that was our Achilles heel,” Atchoo said. “Marian is a great team, you can’t drop the ball, they are going to get it and convert.”
Out of the timeout, the Colts scored back-to-back goals to make it 4-3, but that’s as close as they would get.
The Mustangs (19-5-1) went on a 3-0 run to go into halftime with a comfortable 7-3 lead.
“We’ve had letdowns earlier in the season,” Francek said. “Our plan was to just not let down this time, make sure we came back after they scored those three goals,”
In the second half, neither team scored for more than 10 minutes. Haley Burns scored on an assist from Theresa Burcz to make it 7-4 with 13:44 left in the game. Troy wouldn’t score again until the final minute of game.
Berkley over NORTH FARMINGTON, 2-0
Berkley girls soccer advanced to the district semifinals with a 2-0 win at North Farmington on Tuesday.
Madison Murray scored 12 minutes into the game to give the Bears a 1-0 lead that they held onto for the rest of the night. Berkley didn’t add an insurance goal until Stephanie Miller scored in the final three minutes.
“Murray just made a good shot,” Bears coach Alan Zakaria said. “It was a ball played out wide and she made a great shot on it.”
Zakaria said the biggest difference in the win was his team’s defense. Berkley goalie Julie Shields had a solid game in net, making a good half-dozen saves, but it was the defense in front of her that helped shut down the Raiders.
“Overall, as a unit, we did a great job defending,” Zakaria said. “Everybody from the goalkeeper, the back four to our forwards all played great.”
The Bears play Groves at 5 p.m. Friday in the district semifinals.
As playoff openers go, that was a doozy.
The Brother Rice varsity baseball team was down to its last out Tuesday against West Bloomfield at Southfield Lathrup High School in the opening round of districts.
Facing a 2-1 deficit, Warriors leadoff hitter Travis Ferguson hit a two-out double to the centerfield fence that scored Tommy Lentz from second base to force extra innings.
It was only the fourth hit of the day Lakers starting pitcher Joey Hartfelder allowed in seven dominant innings of work.
The top of the order came through again for Brother Rice (30-7) in the bottom of the ninth – again, it was with two outs. The Warriors No. 2 hitter Nick Plummer hit a single to right field off Tyler Grafmiller with runners on first and second. Ty Kiafoulis scored easily to give his team a walkoff 3-2 win.
“This is what you play for, I’m enjoying watching these kids grow up right in front of me,” Brother Rice coach Bob Riker said of a lineup that only has two seniors starting. “I’ll be honest with you, this is probably the most excited this team has been all year.”
Just last week, the Warriors beat University of Detroit Jesuit 6-0 at Comerica Park to win their second Catholic League Championship in three years, but the team’s comeback on Tuesday provided some of the season’s most intense moments.
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