BASEBALL: OL St. Mary’s brooms UD-Jesuit, takes two from CHSL rivals at home
ORCHARD LAKE – With a spot in the CHSL playoffs on the line each time Orchard Lake St. Mary’s takes the field, the Eaglets are well aware that every game is essential down the stretch.
After taking the opener of a doubleheader from Detroit U-D Jesuit, 3-2, the Eaglets then found themselves down to their final out, trailing 6-5 in the top of the seventh inning in the finale.
St. Mary’s had runners on second and third base for senior first baseman Julian Jones, who connected on an off-speed pitch for a line-drive single that would plate the tying and go-ahead runs and give the Eaglets a 7-6 lead. They would go on to add two more runs to secure a 9-6 win and the sweep.
Jones said that with him seeing curveballs all day on Wednesday, he was more than ready for the curveball for his game-winning hit in the seventh.
“I was seeing curveballs all day and I rarely see a fastball,” he said. “He came with a curveball and I was looking to drive any pitch, because it’s not about myself, it’s about the team. I just had to drive it.”
Jones would later score on an error that allowed Jimmy Marx to reach base and cleared the way for next batter, Mason Vaughan, to lace an RBI double to account for the final tally on the scorboard.
The pair of victories pushes the Eaglets’ record over the .500 mark, at 12-11.
“They just never gave up,” said St. Mary’s skipper Matt Petry of his team’s mindset in the comeback win. “There was a ball in the dirt and Tyson Smith made it to second base and “Jet” Jones came up with the big hit to score two runs instead of the one because of the heads up base-running by Tyson with a great at bat by Julian.”
Senior catcher and Michigan State-signee Will Salter had two RBI in the night-cap.
U-D Jesuit received RBI singles from Stephen Ruemenapp and Dai Dai Otaka and then took the lead on a 2-RBI base hit off the bat of Andre Gard to give the Cubs the 5-4 lead. St. Mary’s managed to tie the game up in the fifth on an RBI single from Drew Boyd, but the Cubs (3-13) took the lead once again on another RBI single from Ruemenapp. Boyd had chipped in for the Eaglets with a base-knock earlier in the affair as well.
Jimmy Mancuso, U-D Jesuit coach Jimmy Mancuso was pleased with his team’s approach at the plate and thought it did a good job of sitting on fastballs in the second game.
“We talked after the first game that we needed to have a more aggressive approach at the plate,” he said. “We wanted to jump all over the fastballs and the boys took that to heart and did their job in the second game.”
St. Mary’s took Game 1 behind stellar pitching from Greg Loukinen, who pitched all seven innings to earn the win. Loukinen allowed just five hits and two runs, while fanning 10 batters on the afternoon.
“He’s been great all year,” Petry said of Loukinen’s outing. “This is his first game back from a little injury, but it’s great to have him, because when you give him the ball, you’re going to get six or seven strong innings and he was outstanding today.”