Riverview Richard scores 5 in the sixth to defeat Schoolcraft, Bishop Foley hangs on to defeat Gladstone in D3 semifinals
East Lansing – Madison Heights Bishop Foley finished the regular season with a sub-.500 record but the Ventures don’t care much for that fact.
That’s because they’ll play for a state championship after holding off Gladstone, 7-5, in a Division 3 semifinal on Friday at Michigan State’s McLane Stadium.
The Ventures led 7-1 after six innings but Braden Mussat hit three batters in the top of the seventh and Gladstone brought the tying run to the plate when Mussat got the final out on strikes.
Bishop Foley (19-17-1) will play for its second consecutive title when it plays Riverview Gabriel Richard in the championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Richard (28-3), which defeated Bishop Foley, 8-2, in the only game the two Catholic League teams played this season, scored five runs in the sixth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeated Schoolcraft, 5-2, in the second semifinal
The sixth for Bishop Foley was nearly tenuous as Gladstone loaded the bases with one out but starter Ethan Hoffman struck out the next two batters to maintain a six-run cushion.
Hoffman was effectively wild as the senior walked seven, allowed two hits and struck out four.
“My curveball was working really well,” he said. “I was trying to keep them off balance. I was wild but I kept them off balance with my off-speed stuff. They hadn’t really squared up on me all day.”
Bishop Foley scored in each of the first four innings. Kenneth Germain’s two-run double highlighted a three-run third.
Gladstone (32-5) got on the board in the fifth on a walk, an error and a ground ball to third base.
An RBI single by Ben Alderson in the bottom of the sixth pushed Bishop Foley’s lead back to six runs when the game nearly turned upside down.
In the seventh Carson Shea had a one-out single and Cody Frappier was hit by a pitch. Both moved up on a wild pitch before Mussat retired the next batter. Consecutive hit batsmen forced in a run and a wild pitch brought in Gladstone’s third run. Ben Kelly’s two-run single made it 7-5.
“I trust Braden,” McEvoy said. “Even if it got to 7-6, I would trust him.”
Gladstone led nine runners on base, five in the last two innings. The Braves put the first two runners on in the third but a double play ended that threat.
“We had our opportunities,” Gladstone coach Don Lauscher said. “We had bases loaded a couple of times. They certainly gave us some opportunities. We didn’t get the big hit when we needed it. Their pitcher (Hoffman) was throwing heat and was a little erratic.”
Germain and catcher Mason Minzey each had two RBI for Bishop Foley. Minzey had a double and his sacrifice fly was hit to the warning track in left center.
Clay Cole took the loss to Gladstone.
Richard sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth and Kevin Tuttle started the rally with a one-out single. The next two batters reached on an error and Richard pulled to within 2-1. Starting pitcher Frank Klamerus followed with a two-run double one hop off the left field fence. After a walk, pinch-hitter Hayden Flynn batted in two runs with a single giving reliever Cole Atkinson all the runs he needed.
“We always have confidence in ourselves,” Richard coach Mike Magier said. I knew we could come back. (Atkinson) came in and did his job.”
Atkinson, a sophomore who played on the junior varsity the first six weeks of the season, came in relief with the two runners on and two outs. Atkinson walked the first two batters, the second forcing in the second run, then he got the last out on a ground ball.
Atkinson set the side down the order in the seventh.
“I was just trying to throw strikes,” Atkinson said. “It was a 1-0 game and I just had to shut them down.”