Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Catholic Central appeared in the state baseball rankings for the first time just a couple of weeks ago.

For some reason, the Crusaders were shunned by voters until just recently. Maybe it was because the tournament was rolling around.

Well, on Saturday, the Crusaders showed how they stack up in Division 4 with a 9-0 whipping of No. 2 ranked Gobles. MCC (27-1) came into the game ranked No. 5.

MCC moved into the title game against the winner of the second regional semifinal between No. 3 Beal City and unranked Pentwater.

Gobles, which came in with a 17-1 record, had many of its games ended early by the mercy rule.

“They have not played a lot of baseball this year,” MCC coach Steve Schuitema said. “They are good and we know it, but when our lefty is out there we have a chance. We hit the ball too, today.”

The Crusaders scored three runs in the third, four in the fifth and single runs in sixth and seventh against the Tigers, who started their ace, Ty Rock. who had allowed one earned run in 33 innings of work this season.

That all changed in the third inning when the Crusaders used four hits and two Tiger errors to take a 3-0 lead. That was more than enough to support sophomore Nick Holt, who went the distance on the mound for MCC.

In the third inning, MCC started its rally after two had been retired. Alex Lewandoski singled and went to second after Rock tried picking him off at first. First baseman Brian Hayward’s throw back to Rock sailed over his head and ended up near the fence behind third base. Lewandoski got to second and scored on a single by Anthony Woodard. Dom DeTorres then singled to right and Nick Holt reached on an error to lead the bases.

Zack Winzer delivered a two-run single to make it 3-0.

“They got down a little bit and I don’t think they are used to being there then I think they tried a little bit harder than normal because Rock is a good pitcher,” Schuitema said. “He had really good command of his curve. We don’t strike out a bunch usually and he had three strikeouts in the first two innings.”

In the fifth inning, the Crusaders batted around and plated four more runs.

Lewandoski and Woodard walked, then after a flyout, Nick Holt was hit by a pitch by a pitch that loaded the bases. Winzer walked with the bases loaded, Jacob Holt was hit by a pitch then after a strikeout, Adam Callow and Zach Huston both walked with the bases loaded.

Rock was lifted after 4 2/3 innings. He allowed seven runs on four hits. He struck out five. Joey Olsiewicz came on to get the final two outs of the fifth. He allowed the runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

MCC tacked on single runs in the sixth when Phil Mesker reached on an error and Ian Tyler scored and in the seventh on an RBI single by DeTorres.

Woodard had three hits while DeTorres and Winzer finished with two singles each for MCC.

Gobles finished with five hits.

“They’ve got five or six college baseball players on that team,” Schuitema said of Gobles. “But I like our team.”

Nick Holt pitched seven innings, allowed five hits, three walks, hit one batter and struck out two.