Lansing Catholic vs. Algonac – – MHSAA Baseball Division 3 Semifinal – – The Bleacher Denizen – – June 15, 2023 – – by Chuck Krafft
Today, the Cougars from Lansing Catholic will compete with the Muskrats from Algonac for a berth in Saturday’s Baseball State Championship game.
While we wait for this game to start, I hope you will enjoy some Good Vibrations from my You Tube Channel!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3482fQh0Rdo
It’s been cold the last couple days, but it appears that the weather powers that be relented and brought us warmer weather.
Algonac’s Muskrats have a 36-3 record and are rated Number 1 in Division Three. Per the Michigan High School Athletic Association Preview, here are some of their top players.
Tyler Schultz has a .397 batting average as well as 30 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Brandon Williams is hitting .348 with 34 RBI. Evan Saddler is batting .321 and has stolen 31 bases. Josh Kasner is batting .378 to go with 37 RBIS and 21 stolen bases. On the mound, Josh Kasner, a returning first team all-stater had a 10-0 record and a 0.68 ERA. He has struck out 130 batters in 82 innings. Bryce Simpson is 6-0 with 1 1.18 ERA. Andrew Thomas has an 8-1 won/lost record and a 1.56 ERA. Noah Maniaci is at 5-0 with a 1.82 ERA.
The Muskrats have stolen 149 bases as a team and will make the MHSAA record book if they steal one more base this season.
Lansing Catholic brings a 23-5 record into the game and is ranked Number 8. Their top players include Daniel Shipman, who has a .458 batting average and Drew Burlingame, who is batting .352. Top pitchers include Drew Tolfree, who has an 8-0 won/lost record with a 0.52 ERA and Drew Diehl who has a 7-2 record to go with a 1.11 ERA.
It looks like game time may be delayed because the Division 2 semifinal between Novi and Mattawan has gone into extra innings. Novi finally won the game 4-1 in ten innings and now, Algonac and Lansing Catholic can warm up.
Algonac will be the home team and Lansing Catholic will bat first.
Here are the starting lineups.
LANSING CATHOLIC COUGARS:
Seth Elberson cf
Daniel Shipman lf
Austin Gates ss
Ty Trahey 1b
Drew Burlingame dh
Padraic Cotter 2b
Alex Fernandez rf
Ty Rakan 3b
Drew Diehl c
Drew Tolfree will pitch, but will not bat.
Evan Saddler c
Tyler Schultz 2b
Josh Kasner p
Caleb Thomas ss
Brandon Williams dh
Matthew Meldrum 1b
Cal Meleski lf
Cole Thaler rf
Matthew Rix 3b
Andrew Thomason will play center field, but will not bat.
It is now time to look at the results of this game through the aging lenses of a graying Bleacher Denizen who will always wistfully recall the time he hit a fair ball in Little League. It did happen once!!! I’m a right-handed batter and the ball went to the shortstop, so technically, I pulled it!!
Algonac Pitcher Josh Kasner retired the first two Catholic hitters on a strikeout and a groundout to shortstop; Matthew Meldrum made a nice play at first base to tag the runner and prevent an error. Austin Gates grounded a single past the second baseman and stole second base. Ty Trahey drew a walk. Josh Kasner retired the next Cougar hitter on a fly to center field to end the inning.
Catholic Pitcher Drew Tolfree retired the three Algonac first inning hitters in the bottom of the first inning on a popup to third base, a bouncer to the mound and a groundout to the shortstop.
Josh Kasner retired the first two Cougar batters in the second inning on a foul popup to the catcher and a strikeout. Ty Rakan was hit by a pitch. Muskrat Second Baseman Tyler Schultz went back into right field and caught a fly to foil Drew Diehl’s bid for a single for the third out.
Catholic Pitcher Drew Tolfree retired the Algonac leadoff batter in the bottom of the second inning on a grounder to the pitcher. Brandon Williams singled up the middle and went to second base on a passed ball. Brandon Williams took third base on Matthew Meldrum’s groundout to first base. Algonac made its third out on a grounder to second base to end the inning.
After two full innings, the score was 0-0.
Josh Kasner retired the Cougar leadoff batter in the top of the third inning on a grounder to the mound. Daniel Shipman was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Daniel Shipman moved to third base on a groundout to shortstop by Austin Gates. Ty Trahey drew a walk. Drew Burlingame singled to right field to drive in Daniel Shipman as Ty Trahey advanced to third base. Padraic Cotter walked to load the bases. Josh Kasner struck out the next Cougar hitter to end the inning.
Lansing Catholic scored one run in the top of the third inning and went on top 1-0.
Drew Tolfree struck out the Algonac leadoff batter in the top of the third inning. Matthew Rix was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Matthew Rix took third base on a single to center field by Evan Saddler. Evan Saddler stole second base. Drew Tolfree struck out the next Muskrat hitter. Josh Kasner blasted a three run home run over the left field fence; he, Matthew Rix and Evan Saddler all scored. Drew Tolfree retired the next Algonac batter on a fly to center field to end the inning.
Algonac scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead.
Josh Kasner retired the three Cougar batters in the top of the fourth inning on a popup to the pitcher, a fly to center field and a strikeout.
Brandon Williams was safe on an error to open the bottom of the fourth inning for the Muskrats. Drew Tolfree retired the next three Algonac hitters on a foul popup to first base and two strikeouts to end the inning.
Daniel Shipman was safe at first on an error to lead off the top of the fifth inning for Catholic. The next batter grounded out to shortstop Caleb Thomas, who threw to Second Baseman Tyler Schultz, who relayed the ball to First Baseman Matthew Meldrum to complete a 6-4-3 double play. Ty Trahey hit a double to right field. Josh Kasner retired the next Catholic hitter on a grounder to third base to end the inning.
Matthew Rix beat out a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning for Algonac. Matthew Rix stole second base and went to third on a groundout to first base by Evan Saddler. Matthew Rix scored on a passed ball. Drew Tolfree retired the next two batters on a strikeout and a fly to center field to end the inning.
Algonac scored one run in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend its lead to 4-1.
Josh Kasner struck out the Cougar leadoff hitter in the top of the sixth inning. Alex Fernandez pounded a double off the right field fence. Josh Kasner retired the next two Catholic batters on a strikeout and a one hopper to second base to end the inning.
Drew Tolfree retired the three Muskrat hitters in the bottom of the sixth inning on a fly to center field, a grounder to second base and a grounder to third base.
Josh Kasner retired the three Catholic batters in the seventh inning on a grounder to first base, a fly to center field and a strikeout.
Algonac won this game 4-1 to earn a berth in Saturday’s final game.
Ty Trahey and Alex Fernandez each had a double for Lansing Catholic. Drew Burlingame had a single and one RBI. Daniel Shipman and Austin Gates each had a single.
Drew Tolfree pitched a complete six inning game. He gave up four runs and four hits while striking out five batters.
Josh Kasner had a home run and three RBI for Algonac. Evan Saddler, Brandon Williams and Matthew Rix each had a single.
Josh Kasner pitched the complete game and gave up just one run and five hits while striking out seven batters.