John Baker, Bryce Kelley lead West past East, 8-3, at Comerica
Detroit – There’s no better way to end your high school career than to play at a major league stadium in an All-Star game.
Well that is what a select few had the opportunity to do on Wednesday.
The 35th Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association East-West All-Star Classic was held at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
The game featured the best high school seniors across the state.
The East scored first pushing across three runs in the top of the second. Birmingham Brother Rice’s Karl Kauffmann (Michigan) started the rally with a single to right. Sterling Heights Stevenson’s Devin Dudal (Saginaw Valley State) followed with another single and both runners were to score on a single by Andrew Szalkowski of Utica Eisenhower. Szalkowski scored on an infield error.
The players were excited to have the opportunity to play in this All Star game.
North Farmington’s Alex Darden (Cincinnati) said his teammates and him would never forget this experience.
“Being able to play on this field is an awesome experience,” said Darden.
In the fifth inning Co-Mr. Baseball winner Tommy Henry of Portage Northern (Michigan) made a phenomenal catch in center field that traveled about 400 feet off the bat of Szalkowski.
“I didn’t think that I caught it,” said Henry.
The long fly ball, had it been hit anywhere in the stadium would have been a no doubter, but the center field fence at Comerica Park is 420 feet away. It’s known to rob a few home runs.
The other co-Mr. Baseball, John Baker of Hartland (Michigan), started on the mound for the West and pitched a scoreless inning.
“It felt good to be the starting pitcher in the All Star game, had a lot of fun,” Baker said.
It didn’t take until the bottom of the fifth inning for the West to get their first hit, but that hit allowed them to score their first run of the game.
Gunner Rainer from Adrian Madison High School (Adrian) singled to left and got the first RBI for the West.
But that was all the West All Stars were able to scraped across. East pitcher Branden Knorr from Ann Arbor Pioneer (Marshall Univ.) was able to battle and get his team out of the inning.
The West used the sixth inning to their advantage, as they were able to take the lead 4-3. A huge double from Muskegon Mona Shores Tyler Trovinger (Oakland) to left field off the fence allowed the West to take their first lead of the game. Trovinger would later score in the inning off an infield error allowing the West to take a 5-3 lead.
Once again the West was able to take advantage of walks and their offense woke up the second half of the game. Timely hits in the eighth inning allowed them to score three to take an 8-3 lead.
Joey Stewart of Portage Central (Michigan State) doubled scoring two in that inning.
“I got a good pitch and was able to put a good swing on it,” said Stewart.
The West was able to hold the East to just three runs on six hits. The West scored eight runs on eight hits.
Rockford’s Bryce Kelley (Michigan State), who hit a two-run double, was the MVP for the West and Szalkowski was the MVP for the East.
“It’s a blessing to be out here playing and to be recognized as MVP is a great feeling,” said Kelley.”
Szalkowski had difficulty describing the feeling on winning the award.
“Man this is just a great feeling, I’m lost for words,” said Szalkowski. “One of the best days of my life.”