Grosse Pointe KOs Kingsford
5 homers hurt U.P. squad
GLADSTONE — There were very few scoring opportunties for the Kingsford Major Boys’ Little League All-Stars (age 11-12) Tuesday as they fell to Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores 17-0 in four innings in a state semifinal baseball game at Don Howes Family Field.
Kingsford managed just two baserunners in the second inning as Jack Jones and Will Pflaum combined on a one-hitter. Jones struck out four and Pflaum fanned all six hitters he faced.
The victory enabled Grosse Pointe to return to Howes Field for this morning’s state title contest against Dexter, which held off Bay City Northwest 10-6 in the earlier semifinal.
Riley Juneau led off the second with a single to right field for Kingsford’s lone hit.
Grosse Pointe rapped five home runs in this match-up, running its total to 47 through this year’s tournament run.
Two of those took place in the opening frame as Grosse Pointe put up eight runs before Kingsford had a chance to bat.
“That has kind of been our philosophy during the whole tournament,” said Grosse Pointe head coach Jason Hill.
“We like to bat first and jump on teams. These kids have played together since they were eight years old. They have a lot of tournament experience. The coaching staff just stays out of the way and lets them go out and play.
“Our pitchers threw strikes. A cushion like that means a lot when you’re on the mound. We watched them (Kingsford) play and I was extremely impressed.”
Matthew Greene’s two-run homer to center opened the scoring. Joe Randazzo gave Grosse Pointe a three-run cushion on a wild pitch. Adam Ayrault’s single to right made it 4-0 and Drew Hill’s grand slam homer to left raised the count to 8-0.
“I’ve never seen kids hit like that,” said Kingsford head coach Hank McRoberts. “We threw two of our better pitchers and couldn’t stop them. They can hit the fastballs and they hit our curves and off-speed stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out of here and do real well in the (Central) regional tournament. This was still a good run for us. We played nine games in the state tournament (including district) and went 7-2. We can’t complain about that.”
Joseph Wisniewski led off the second with a homer to right-center and Ayrault added a solo shot to right for a 10-0 advantage.
Grosse Pointe added three runs in the third and Wisniewski completed a 4-for-4 effort with a three-run blast to center in the fourth.
The winners collected 15 hits. Drew Hill and Greene finished 2-for-2. Ayrault also had two hits.
Henry McRoberts, the first of three Kingsford pitchers, absorbed the loss. He struck out one and surrendered eight runs on six hits through 2/3 inning.
Dexter built a 10-0 advantage by scoring seven times in the third inning of the other semifinal.
Dominic Sortor gave Dexter a 3-0 lead on a two-run double to center in the first and ripped another two-run double to center in the third.
Cole Arnett, Joey Tessmer and Brennan Parachek also finished with two hits.
Arnett led off the third with a home run to center and Tessmer added an RBI double to center.
Brayden Visel, who pitched five innings for the win, struck out 11 and walked three.
“Eleven strikeouts in five innings is pretty good,” said Dexter head coach George Mihos, a nephew to John Prokos of Escanaba. “It makes it easier when you get a big lead. Brayden threw real well. We have depth among our pitchers. If one begins to struggle we can always go to another.”
Bay City extended the game by scoring twice in the fourth.
Nathan Ball trimmed Bay City’s deficit to 10-3 by bouncing a single to center in the sixth. Brody Krzysiak scored its fourth run on a wild pitch and Bradley Hopkins’ two-run single to right ended the scoring.
“It got nerve-wracking in the end,” said Mihos. “This is the team that bounced us out in the quarterfinals (on the minor level) two years ago.”
Bay City’s comeback effort took place 24 hours after it rallied from a six-run deficit to stun St. Clair 7-6 in a quarterfinal contest.
“They (Dexter) had a good pitcher,” said Bay City head coach Dick Horning. “We encourage our kids with every pitch and they never quit. This is a very tight-knit group. They’re best of friends and they do everything together. We were very confident coming up here. The kids played hard and fell three outs short. I’m proud of their effort.”