Lakeshore, John Glenn Win Big in D2

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

June 15, 2017

EAST LANSING – Stevensville Lakeshore trailed 1-0 and did not have a hit until leadoff batter Ryan Remus stepped to the plate to open the bottom of the third inning of Thursday’s Division 2 Semifinal against Chelsea.

That’s when the game changed. Remus singled, went to second on a balk and with a head-first slide scored the tying run – swinging the momentum clearly toward the Lancers.

Lakeshore went on to score four runs in that inning and defeat Chelsea 7-1 at Michigan State’s McLane Stadium.

Lakeshore (35-6), headed to a Final for the first time since 1990 when it won the Class B title, will play Bay City John Glenn for the championship at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Glenn will make its second Final appearance in search of its first MHSAA title.

Glenn (34-8) hammered Dearborn Divine Child, 15-4, in the second Semifinal, with 15 hits and a seven-run second inning to set the tone.

Cal Barrett homered with two outs in the first Semifinal to stake Chelsea to a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs allowed three walks over the first two innings, but Remus’ at bat helped turn the game around. Standing on second after the balk, Remus got a good jump on Trey Thibeault’s line drive single to right center. Hunter Neff’s throw to Barrett seemed to beat Remus to the plate, but the senior second baseman alluded the tag with his slide.

Tyler Mojsiejenko followed with another single to center, and when the ball got past Neff, Thibeault scored for a 2-1 lead. Starting pitcher Connor Brawley tripled to score the third run, and Brawley came home on Max Gaishin’s sacrifice fly.

From there Brawley held Chelsea (31-10) to two hits over the final four innings, and the junior lefthander finished with a complete game five-hitter. He walked none and struck out five.

Remus said he didn’t notice the balk, but was aware that he started something big.

“I was just trying to get myself a good lead,” he said. “I didn’t look to see the throw (from center). I trusted my on-deck hitter (Brawley). He knew when it was coming and gave me the (slide) sign. After that we started hitting the ball hard and finding holes.”

Chelsea coach Adam Taylor didn’t think those four runs changed the momentum. He said his team had come back from greater deficits and was confident they’d do it again.

“The difference was their starter,” Taylor said. “He threw all three pitches for strikes, and in high school that works. Get it and go.

“When people scored on us throughout the year, we did a good job of coming back. It goes back to what I said. Their pitcher was the difference.”

Lakeshore had nine hits, and Mojsiejenko (with three) was the only batter with more than one.

“That balk kind of loosened us up,” Lakeshore coach Mark Nate said. “Sometimes it takes us awhile. That slide was big. Credit my third base coach (Matt Cotton) for that.”

Click for the full box score.

Bay City John Glenn 15, Dearborn Divine Child 4

John Glenn had four hits in the second inning, and add in three Divine Child errors and the Bobcats had a big, early lead.

“They had us for three (errors), and it could have been four,” Divine Child coach Dan Deegan said. “They teed off on every one of our pitchers.”

Brad Mularz went all five innings and allowed five hits for the Bobcats. Getting those seven quick runs made his job that much easier.

“It means a lot to just go five,” Mularz said. “It keeps us fresh. With (Friday) being a day off, we’ll be ready.”

Corey Langenburg had two hits and four RBI to lead Glenn. Matt Fisher, Ben Cnudde and Mularz each had three RBI, and Tanner Gilles, the eighth batter in the lineup, went 4-4.

“They’re a loose bunch,” Glenn coach Jeff Hartt said. “Sometimes they’re too loose. When you put the ball in play in high school baseball, good things can happen.”

Divine Child finished 23-20.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Lakeshore pitcher Connor Brawley makes his move toward the plate during Thursday's Semifinals. (Middle) Bay City John Glenn's Brad Mularz delivers a pitch.

No Runs, No Hits: East Jordan Aces Toss 4 Straight Shutouts, 3 Straight No-Hitters

By Tom Spencer
Special for

May 17, 2024

Playing shortstop this year for East Jordan High School admittedly has become rather boring at times.

Northern Lower PeninsulaThere hasn’t been a whole lot of action at what’s usually the busiest spot in the infield — no matter who is playing it.

Junior Eli Burns knows that better than anyone. He is the Red Devils’ regular shortstop. He also pitches.

Ryder Malpass knows what it’s like to play short this season as well – he’s normally in the spot when Burns is on the mound.

But he also has a feel for how little the shortstop does regularly for the Division 4 No. 16 Red Devils from his usual spot at catcher – receiving behind the plate for a pitching staff averaging almost two strikeouts per inning. 

Just recently, East Jordan put together three straight no-hitters and four straight shutouts.

“It’s good,” Burns said of playing short. “When you have confidence with your pitchers you don’t have to worry about the ball being hit to you that much.”

Ryder Malpass keeps an eye on a runner before making his move toward the plate. Malpass, a junior, started the shoutout string himself with a 4-0 win over Bellaire last week, when he earned the win throwing 5 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts while going 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and RBI. Junior Korbyn Russell closed out the game.

Then Burns started the no-hitter run in the second game that night with Bellaire, a 6-0 Red Devils win. Burns had 10 strikeouts and just a single walk allowed. He also tripled in the game.

This week the no-hitter string continued with 1-0 and 2-0 wins over Boyne City. Russell and senior Lucas Stone threw the Red Devils’ third and fourth no-hitters of the season.

Stone threw a perfect game across six innings. He struck out 12 batters on just 70 pitches and also went 2 for 3 with an RBI against the Ramblers. Russell earned the 1-0 win over Boyne City with 5 1/3 no-hit innings behind 11 strikeouts and with just a lone walk allowed. Stone followed Russell to pick up the save for the Red Devils, now 13-9-1 overall on the season and 6-4 in Lake Michigan Conference play.  

Russell is 6-2 on the season with two saves. Going into Thursday’s game with Charlevoix, he had struck out 92 batters over 42 innings while compiling a 0.86 ERA. Stone is 5-2. Before suffering his second loss of the season to the Rayders, his ERA was 1.17 and he had fanned 38 in 36 innings of work. Burns has racked up 17 strikeouts so far in just over 14 innings.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of something not many teams can do,” Russell said. “We have a special group of pitchers to get the job done.”

Stone credits the Red Devils’ defensive play for the pitching staff’s success.

“Our defense has helped the pitching a lot because they don’t make a lot of errors,” Stone said.  “It makes it a lot easier when you know they are going to make plays behind you.”

Korbyn Russell prepares to unload a pitch.East Jordan came into this week beginning to approach the state records for consecutive shutout innings and games. That ended yesterday in twin bill losses to Division 3 No. 11 Charlevoix. But the Red Devils still can chase the national record of nine no-hit games in a season. (No official record is kept for no-hitters by a Michigan high school team in a season.)

There is also no known record of any East Jordan team racking up three no-hitter wins in a row.

“I don’t think there’s been any stretch with three no-hitters in a row, so that is pretty special,” noted East Jordan coach Adam Grybauskas. “We’re kind of picking up where things were last year and trying to build on last year’s success and make it even better this year.”

The Red Devils captured a Division 4 District championship in 2023 and then a 9-6 Regional Semifinal win over Gaylord St. Mary. The season came to an end in the Regional Final with a 2-0 loss to Painsdale Jeffers.

Russel, Stones and Burns were on the pitching staff last year as East Jordan made that run. The Red Devils will host the District tournament this year as familiar opponents Bellaire, Central Lake and Ellsworth will vie to stop East Jordan’s attempt at repeating as champion. The doubleheader loss to undefeated Charlevoix ended the Red Devils’ hopes of sharing the LMC title with the Rayders.

“I think we’ve played a little bit better competition this year,’ Grybauskas said.  “Our focus this year is taking each doubleheader at a time, and try to get better each week.

“It’s really been game by game and week to week,” he continued. “You’re always looking to do better than last year so obviously that will be something we’ll talk about in the future.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) East Jordan’s Lucas Stone winds up during a game. (Middle) Ryder Malpass keeps an eye on a runner before making his move toward the plate. (Below) Korbyn Russell prepares to unload a pitch. (Photos courtesy of the East Jordan athletic department.)