Foley, Richard to Meet Again in D3 Final

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

June 15, 2018

EAST LANSING – It’s not the way the winning team would like to finish a game.

But all the same, Madison Heights Bishop Foley did win, and the Ventures will play for a second consecutive Division 3 title.

Bishop Foley led its Semifinal against Gladstone 6-0, then 7-1 after six innings Friday when the game got tight. The Ventures hit three batters in the seventh, and the Braves brought the tying run to the plate.

But sophomore Braden Mussat got the final out on strikes, and Bishop Foley held on for a 7-5 victory to advance again at McLane Stadium on Michigan State’s campus.

Bishop Foley (19-17-1) will play Detroit Catholic League rival Riverview Gabriel Richard for the title at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Bishop Foley and Richard do not play in the same division of the league, and the teams met once this season, in a league crossover, that Richard won 8-2.

For Bishop Foley, the sixth inning Friday was nearly as tenuous as the seventh, as Gladstone loaded the bases with one out. Starter Ethan Hoffman struck out the next two batters to maintain a six-run cushion.

First-year Bishop Foley coach Tim McEvoy went to the mound in the sixth to reassure Hoffman that everything was all right.

“I told him that this was his game,” McEvoy said. “It was a bit of a jam. He’s been there before.”

Hoffman was wild, yet effective. He walked six but allowed just two hits. His wildness might have contributed to his effectiveness. He said his fastball is consistently in the high 80s, but he had more to offer on this day.

“My curveball was working really well,” he said. “I was trying to keep them off balance. I was wild, but I kept them off balance with my off-speed stuff. They hadn’t really squared up on me all day.”

Bishop Foley scored in each of the first four innings. A three-run third featured a two-run double by Kenneth Germain.

Gladstone (32-5) got on the board in the fifth on a walk, an error and a ground out.

An RBI single by Ben Alderson in the bottom of the sixth inning pushed Bishop Foley’s lead back to six runs, when the game nearly turned upside down.

In the seventh, Carson Shea had a one-out single and Cody Frappier was hit by a pitch. Both moved up on a wild pitch before Mussat retired the next Braves batter. Consecutive hit batsmen forced in a run, and a wild pitch brought in Gladstone’s third. Ben Kelly’s two-run single made it 7-5, and Mussat ended the drama with a strikeout.

“I trust Braden,” McEvoy said. “Even if it got to 7-6, I would trust him.”

Gladstone left nine runners on base, five during the last two innings. The Braves put the first two runners on in the third, but a double play ended that threat.

“We had our opportunities,” Gladstone coach Don Lauscher said. “We had bases loaded a couple of times. They certainly gave us some opportunities. We didn’t get the big hit when we needed it. Their pitcher (Hoffman) was throwing heat and was a little erratic.”

Germain and catcher Mason Minzey each had two RBI for Bishop Foley. Minzey had a double, and his sacrifice fly was hit to the warning track in left center.

Clay Cole took the loss for Gladstone.

Click for the full box score.

VIDEO: Bishop Foley jumps out to a 5-0 lead on this two-run double by Kenneth Germain.


Riverview Gabriel Richard 5, Schoolcraft 2

Trailing 2-0, Gabriel Richard (28-3) scored five runs on three hits in the sixth inning to advance.

The Eagles (22-12) took that 2-0 lead in the fifth inning on one hit, four walks and an error. Sophomore Cole Atkinson came on in relief of starter Frank Klamerus with the bases loaded and one out, and walked in the second run. He then got the last out on a ground ball to third.

“It was a close call on the walk, but I knew I had to throw strikes,” said Atkinson, who was called up from the junior varsity in late May. “I knew I had a good defense behind me. And I knew our offense would get going.

“I had to be a bulldog (when I came in). I just had to shut them down.”

Richard had four hits over the first five innings, but no base runner reached third base.

Kevin Tuttle started the Pioneers’ rally with a one-out single. The next two batters reached on errors before Klamerus unloaded with a two-run double that one-hopped off the left-field fence. After a walk, pinch hitter Hayden Flynn hit a two-run single.

“We always have confidence in ourselves,” Richard coach Mike Magier said. I knew we could come back. (Atkinson) came in and did his job.”

After that one walk, Atkinson retired the last seven batters he faced.

“Yeah, we played Bishop Foley before,” Klamerus said. “But this is much bigger than the Catholic League.”

Click for the full box score.

VIDEO: Frank Klamerus had a two-run double during a five-run sixth inning for Riverview Gabriel Richard

PHOTOS: (Top) Evan Ludwick slides into home to score for Bishop Foley on Friday. (Middle) Gabriel Richard’s Frank Klamerus (23) and Schoolcraft catcher Stephen Schultz watch a Klamerus drive.

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

By Tom Kendra
Special for

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.)