BASEBALL: Ventures vault out of the gate, Bishop Foley ready for run at four-peat
MADISON HEIGHTS – Playing with a target on its’ back is supposed to make things more difficult for teams as they look to match or best the success its’ had in previous years.
But apparently, Madison Heights Bishop Foley didn’t get that message.
The three-time defending Division 3 state champion Ventures have continued their dominance on the diamond with precision playmaking from a bevy of college recruits, getting better and better over the course of the past three seasons and showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
This year so far has been more of the same for Bishop Foley, as skiper Buster Sunde and his Ventures have their sights set on an unprecedented fourth consecutive state crown, a feat that has never been accomplished in MHSAA history.
So far, so good. Through a week of action, Bishop Foley is 6-0.
Sunde claims one of the keys to his team’s success is ignoring praise and expectations from outside the program.
“We just constantly tell them that anything they hear and anything they see is all poison,” he said. “We’re just a team that gets the opportunity to come out and play baseball and we play hard every day, win lose or draw. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year, but we’re going to play hard every day, that I guarantee.”
Bishop Foley once again has a lethal pitching staff in 2014, a unit led by senior ace Garrett Schilling. The crafty righty is signed with Xavier and has still yet to lose a game on the mound as a prepster (33-0 career mark). He’s 2-0 out of the starting blocks this spring.
Flanking Schilling in the Ventures’ assault from the rubber are fellow college-diamond bound seniors, Mike Reid (Air Force), Mike Murley (Wayne State) and Austin Lukaschewski (Illinois-Springfield).
Fantastic freshman Justin Campbell and sophomore Thomas Brumfield are a pair of standout underclassmen that will see spot duty toeing the slab and be learning the ticks of the trade from the club’s vets for when they assume marquee-billing next spring.
Offensively, Bishop Foley’s headliner at the plate is junior outfielder Nate Grys (Western Michigan), considered a pro prospect for the 2015 MLB Draft.
Multi-year starter and senior infielder Brad Baldwin (Wayne State) and sophomore studs Mike Ryan and Griffin Green will be tough outs in the line-up too. Ryan is a hard-slugging corner outfielder and Griffin Green is a gritty catcher already committed to Eastern Michigan.
“Some people think we reload and this and that, but it takes a lot of hard work,” said Sunde. “These kids put in a lot of work and we really try to get them to understand the hitting mechanics, what’s going to give you the best opportunity to hit the ball squarely. That’s what they work on, they work on a good hitting mechanic, they’re disciplined to it, they have character to where they’re going to put a lot of time into it and they get good results from their hard work.”
Lukaschewski insists he and his teammates don’t look back, only forward.
“We don’t really think about the past,” he said. “We just try to come out and put in work every day, every single time we take the field. We try to focus on playing how we play and do whatever we can do so we can come out and excel out here.”