BASEBALL: West Bloomfield picks up where it left off, finishes off upset of Brother Rice in district opener
BEVERLY HILLS – On Tuesday afternoon, a storm was brewing and lightning struck in the way of a Chandler Sedat grand slam that gave West Bloomfield a 4-3 lead over Brother Rice before the game was delayed to weather conditions in the bottom of the fourth inning.
And while there was clear weather when the game resumed on Thursday, the Lakers kept pouring it on as West Bloomfield extended its lead to as large as 8-3 behind a four run fourth inning with two outs, and held off the Warriors for a 9-7 upset win in the district opener, knocking out last year’s Division 1 runners-up
“The big thing was the momentum,” said West Bloomfield skipper Eric Pierce. “We thought that the momentum could carry us for a couple of innings and we could build off of that. Any time you play a team like Brother Rice, a team that is very, very talented from top to bottom, you look for any edge you can get. Coming out and scoring runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth was the biggest thing we could have done to let them know that we were ready to play.”
When the game resumed with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the Lakers picked up right where they left off as West Bloomfield immediately pushed its lead to 6-3 after a two RBI single off the bat of Josh Birnberg.
The Lakers then added to their lead again during the fourth inning, when Sedat, who came in to pitch in relief of Dazon Cole on the mound in the fifth inning, connected for an RBI single and Robbie Jones then followed suit with an RBI base knock of his own to make it 8-3.
Sedat said that even with two days in between the start and the finish of the game, he felt that he and his teammates still had momentum on their side entering Thursday with a one run lead.
“It was really nice to come in with the lead,” he said. “I think we caught them off guard with that (the grand slam on Tuesday).”
Brother Rice did manage to battle back and cut the deficit down to 8-5 with a pair of RBI, but the Lakers once again pushed the lead back to four, 9-5 on an RBI double from Birnberg.
The Warriors then put the pressure on West Bloomfield in the top of the seventh when Alex Malzone notched an RBI groundout that cut the Laker’s lead to 9-6.
Bobby Cross later pushed another run across the plate for Brother Rice as he picked up an RBI single to make it 9-7, but Sedat managed to slam the door and sealed the win with a pop out to second base.
“It means a lot,” he said. “These guys work hard and they’re a very close team and the scary part is that we still haven’t shown our best yet. We’re still improving, we’re still getting better and we’re still working on our game as a team and the sky’s the limit for this team, I told them that at the beginning of the season and now the hard work is starting to pay off.”
The Lakers will now have to turn their attention to Saturday, where they will face Southfield-Lathrup in the first district semifinal of the day and with a win would advance to the district championship game where they would face the winner of the second semifinal game between Birmingham Groves and Birmingham Seaholm at 2:00 pm.