Edison, Buchanan Clutch When It Counts Most to Earn Saturday Return

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

June 17, 2022

Even Detroit Edison coach Mark Brown couldn’t really believe it afterwards.

If you would have told Brown before a Division 3 Semifinal against Pewamo-Westphalia that his team would have gotten four hits, committed three errors and his four seniors would’ve gone 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts, he wouldn’t have thought they would be coming back to McLane Stadium on Saturday.

“I would not have believed that,” Brown said. “Especially against a good team like Pewamo-Westphalia. I would not have thought that.”

But somehow, some way, Edison got it done, advancing to its first championship game with a 3-2 win over the Pirates.

The Pioneers (25-12) prevailed through a combination of clutch pitching, clutch hitting and taking advantage of P-W miscues.

Sophomore starter Marwynn Matthews grinded through six innings of work, allowing just two runs and pitching out of jams.

Pewamo-Westphalia loaded the bases in the third inning, but Matthews got out of it with a strikeout. He also stranded a runner at third base in the fourth inning and another at second base in the fifth inning before pitching a 1-2-3 sixth.

“I feel it was a great choice to put me on the mound,” Matthews said. “I felt like nobody could do it better than me. I was trying to work on the outside corners, inside, change-ups low in the dirt and curve balls. Just a mixture of things.”

At 99 pitches to start the top of the seventh, Matthews was pulled in favor of senior Greg Pace, who got the first two outs before a hit batter, wild pitch and walk put runners at first and third.

But Pace induced a weak groundout to first to end the game. 

“I’m just trying to throw strikes at that point,” Pace said. “It was a relief. I knew I could trust anybody the ball was hit at.”

Matthews also had two hits to lead the limited offensive production for Edison. 

Senior Tanner Wirth and junior Trent Channell each had two hits to lead Pewamo-Westphalia (23-11-2), which also committed three critical errors and a couple of baserunning mistakes that halted rallies. 

“Sometimes the results don’t necessarily match the results,” Pewamo-Westphalia head coach Curt Nurenberg said. “But you keep on pushing on and moving on. I thought they did a great job.” 

Edison opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning with two runs. After Matthews reached on an infield single, he stole second and took third when the throw went into centerfield. Matthews then scored on an infield error. 

Following a wild pitch that put another runner in scoring position, Edison took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single with two outs by sophomore Deshaun Williams. 

The Pirates cut Edison’s lead to 2-1 in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Channell, but Matthews stranded the potential tying run on third base. 

Edison then got the run back in its half of the fourth on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore Kole Waterman, again with two outs. 

After putting runners on second and first with one out in the fifth inning, Pewamo-Westphalia made it 3-2 on a fielder’s choice groundout when a throw to first to complete a double play got by the Edison first baseman.

Click for the full box score.

Buchanan 6, Standish-Sterling 1 (8 innings)

Up until Buchanan senior Matt Hoover stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth inning, it had been a pile of frustration for the Bucks in the second Division 3 Semifinal.

Buchanan had gone 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position when Hoover took his turn with a runner on second base and one out in a 1-1 game.

“All week, I was hitting high curve balls off the machine over and over again, just seeing the spin at the top of the zone, not trying to do too much and put it in right-center” Hoover said. “I did that all week, and finally got my one in the right spot.”

Buchanan baseballIndeed, just as he did in batting practice, Hoover laced an RBI single to right-center to score junior teammate Cade Preissing and give Buchanan a 2-1 lead.

As it turned out, it also burst a dam for the Bucks, who went on to score five runs total in the inning and earn a return trip to McLane.

The win also earned some redemption for Buchanan (28-4), which was shut out in a Semifinal last year by Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. 

“Our kids have been on a quest from Day 1,” Buchanan coach Jim Brawley said. “They’ve only wanted to get back here. Last weekend, we didn’t even care about the Regional trophy. Their goal was to get to the championship game.”

Following Hoover’s hit, senior Macoy West sent a two-run triple to center and sophomore Nick Finn added an RBI single to give Buchanan a 5-1 lead. A sixth run scored on a wild pitch. 

With Hoover, the team’s ace, at 25 pitches after coming on to relieve starter Drew Glavin in the sixth inning, Buchanan elected to re-insert Glavin in the eighth to finish the game and preserve Hoover for the Final. 

The matchup was a pitchers’ duel between Standish-Sterling senior Chase Raymond and Glavin for the first five innings, with neither allowing a run. 

Raymond pitched a scoreless sixth, and then Standish-Sterling broke the tie in its half of the inning. 

With one out, Raymond dumped a blooper over the second baseman’s head to score senior teammate Cole Prout and give Standish-Sterling a 1-0 lead. 

Buchanan answered in the top of the seventh, putting runners on second and third with nobody out after a single by senior Murphy Wegner and a double by West. The Bucks tied the game at 1-1 when Wegner was safe at home on a fielder’s choice groundout.

However, it could’ve been a lot worse for Standish-Sterling.

With runners again on second and third and nobody out, Raymond got out of the jam via a popup, fielder’s choice groundout and a strikeout to keep the game tied. 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Edison’s Kole Waterman powers into a pitch during his team’s Division 3 Semifinal win. (Middle) Buchanan celebrates its extra-inning victory in Friday’s final game.

Hart Teammates Reunite After 80 Years as WWII Vets, Great-Grandfathers

By Tom Kendra
Special for MHSAA.com

June 7, 2023

Walter “Stretch” Hansen and Harold Tate were good friends and high school basketball and baseball teammates at Hart High School, graduating in 1943.

West MichiganNo one could have guessed that less than two months after graduation (on July 2, 1943), the two friends would head to Fort Custer in Battle Creek, the first stop on their way overseas to fight for their country in World War II.

No one could have imagined how many twists and turns their lives would take over the next 80 years – from the battlefields in the South Pacific, then back to West Michigan where they both were married with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and now Harold even has a great-great-grandchild.

And, certainly, no one would have believed that the two young boys from Hart – who forged a friendship through high school sports long before the days of computers, microwave ovens and cell phones – would still be alive at the age of 98 for an emotional reunion last month, on May 22, seeing each other for the first time in 80 years and, to cap it off, the reunion took place in their hometown of Hart.

“It was such a great day,” Hansen said about the meeting, which was set up by Muskegon-area World War II historian Richard Mullally.

“We picked right up, talking about sports and the service and everything else.”

The conversation came easy for the two old friends, who played for Hart during a “golden era” at the school – particularly in basketball, as the Pirates won 11 West Michigan Conference basketball titles between 1940 and 1954.

Hansen, left, and Tate reunite for the first time in 80 years on Monday, May 22, 2023, in their hometown of Hart. Perhaps the best team during that time period was Hansen and Tate’s as seniors in 1943. That team lost only once, to rival Scottville (31-25), but more than made up for it with an 80-10 trouncing of the Spartans in the final regular-season game.

Hart then crushed Scottville and Newaygo to win the District championship, only to have Michigan’s prep basketball season stopped abruptly at that point because of World War II.

That 1943 team featured four starters over 6-0, led by the duo of Hansen and Stan Kapulak (both 6-6), Joe Mack (6-2), Lyle Burmeister (6-1) and Stanley Riley (the lone starter under 6-foot at 5-11).

“The newspapers called us ‘The Hart Skyscrapers,’” said Hansen, who will be 99 on Nov. 6. “We were taller than most college teams at that time.”

Hansen and Tate’s friendship continued to blossom on the baseball field, only to have their lives turned upside down shortly after graduation 80 years ago, when all Hart senior boys who had been drafted headed to Battle Creek as a brief staging area on their way to the battlefields of Europe and the South Pacific.

Hansen served in the Army Specialized Training Program and was part of the 52nd Signal Battalion and the 4025th Signal Battalion in the Pacific Theater.

“I had an all-expense paid tour of the South Pacific,” Hansen said with a chuckle. “The Philippines, New Guinea, Okinawa, Hawaii, all over the place.”

Tate did his service in the 24th Infantry Division and the 19th Infantry Regiment, and was stationed in Japan.

During their visit last month, Harold showed off the Japanese Samurai sword and Arisaka rifle which he had sent back from Japan to Hart. The week after their visit, both took part in Memorial Day parades – Hansen in the Lakeside parade in Muskegon and Tate in his 77th Memorial Day service in Hart.

Hansen, who still has a home on a small lake in Holton and lives at a senior care facility in Muskegon, played many years of semi-pro basketball and did some coaching. He worked at GTE and has five children and 10 grandchildren.

Hansen served from 1943 to 1946 as a Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Tate served from 1945 to 1946 as a Platoon Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II.“I have been so blessed,” Hansen said, sorting through one of his many scrapbooks. “All five of my kids are great and I have grandkids that are just amazing, everything they are doing. I don’t even know all of their names, but it’s sure been fun watching them.”

Tate returned to Hart after his military service and has been there ever since, at first working as a carpenter with his father and then becoming a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, retiring 26 years ago at the age of 72. He has lived in the same home for 75 years and has three children, six grandchildren, seven great-grandkids and now one great-great-grandchild.

Tate laments the demise of his beloved American Legion post in Hart, a town with just over 2,000 residents, as the number of members has steadily declined.

One topic that brings a smile to both of their faces is the recent resurgence of the Hart High School athletic program, which drew media attention not too many years ago for all the wrong reasons – notably a football program which went 24 years without a winning record.

That string was snapped with a 6-3 mark and the school’s first earned playoff appearance last fall.

But that was just the start.

This winter, Hart’s boys basketball team finished the regular season 22-0, the girls basketball team made it to the Division 3 Semifinals at the Breslin Center, wrestling qualified for the Team Finals for the fourth-straight year and competitive cheer placed fourth in Division 4. This spring, the Hart girls track & field team won its second-straight Division 3 Finals team title, and the boys placed fourth.

“It’s a great place to call home, a great place to live, always has been,” said Hansen of his hometown, which got its name from its central position in the “heart” of Oceana County.

And who would have imagined that these two high school teammates could still come home again for a reunion at the age of 98?

Tom KendraTom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Members of the 1943 Hart High School varsity baseball team gather together, preparing for a team photo. Among those are Harold Gayle Tate (far left) and Walter "Stretch" Hansen, at 6-6 the tallest player in the back row. (Middle) Hansen, left, and Tate reunite for the first time in 80 years on Monday, May 22, 2023, in their hometown of Hart. (Below) Hansen served from 1943 to 1946 as a Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Tate served from 1945 to 1946 as a Platoon Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II. (Top photo courtesy of Stretch Hansen. Middle and below photos courtesy of Richard Mullally.)