Muskegon Catholic turns the tables on Montague, reclaims Tier II city baseball title

By Mitchell Boatman

MUSKEGON – After being knocked off by Montague in the city baseball tournament finals last season, the Muskegon Catholic Crusaders came into Saturday’s event with revenge on their minds.

And they got what they were looking for.

An Pham gets Montague baserunner Dylan Stever out at second base. Photo/Tim Reilly

The Crusaders got a rematch with Montague in the championship game, then battled back from an early deficit to defeat the Wildcats 7-4 and reclaim the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tier II City Tournament title at Marsh Field.

“They got us pretty good last year,” said MCC coach Steve Schuitema, whose team has now won three of the last four city tournament titles. “They outplayed us that day. Today it was our turn.”

The Crusaders sent ace Devin Comes to the mound in the title game. He threw 6 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits, striking out four and walking four en route to the victory.

“I was thinking I just have to be efficient,” said Comes, who was pulled with two outs in the final inning, due this pitch count. “I wanted to finish it so bad. But it’s all right. We got the win.”

Montague shortstop gets Riley St. Amour out at second base. Photo/Tim Reilly

The Crusaders used one of their biggest strengths, team speed, to manufacture runs. The Crusaders stole a pretty incredible nine bases in the championship game.

“We’ve got pretty good team speed, but we also have great baserunners,” Schuitema said. “That is a huge part of what we do.”

Four stolen bases came from leadoff hitter Cole Charlesworth, whom Schuitema says is a threat as soon as he gets on base.

“Charlesworth has around 30 (steals) on the year,” the coach said. “If he gets on, he scores.”

The Crusaders got the scoring started in the first inning when Charlesworth singled, stole two bases, and scored on a groundout by Mason Convertini.

Montague quickly responded with three runs in the bottom half of the first.

Muskegon Catholic celebrates after getting the GMAA city baseball title trophy. Photo/Tim Reilly

Sebastian Archer scored the first Wildcat run on an RBI single from Max Mickelson. Mickelson and Dylan Stever then scored on an errant pick-off attempt by Comes.

Comes settled after the rough first inning, allowing just two hits and two walks over the next five innings.

The Crusaders added a run in the second inning when Comes scored on a wild pitch.

MCC tacked on three more in the third inning to take the lead for good. An Pham scored on an RBI double by Convertini, Bobby Ahern scored on an error, and Convertini scored when Riley St. Amour walked with the bases loaded.

Charlesworth manufactured a run on his own in the sixth inning. He worked a lead-off walk, stole second and third, and scored on a throwing error on the steal attempt at third. Pham then doubled, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Convertini.

Montague rallied with two outs in the seventh (and final) inning, scoring one run, but left the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate.

Muskegon Catholic advanced to the championship game by beating Holton 13-2 and Ravenna 11-0.

Pham and Avery Davis each had two hits in the finals for MCC. Convertini had a double and three RBIs.

Nick Stever started on the mound for Montague. He threw three innings and allowed five runs. Eli Buchberger and Zachary Buchberger each threw two innings in relief.

Zachary Buchberger and Drake Roesler each had two hits for the Wildcats.

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