Pitcher Saves Best for Team's 1st Final

June 15, 2013

By Andy Sneddon
Special to Second Half

BATTLE CREEK – Connor Foley saved his absolute best for last, much to the delight of longtime Bay City Western coach Tim McDonald.

Foley put on a gutsy mound performance Saturday in pitching the Warriors to a 1-0 win over Birmingham Brother Rice in the MHSAA Division 1 Final at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek.

“Best game I’ve pitched in my life, and I couldn’t have picked a better day to do it,” said Foley, who went the distance in limiting a formidable Rice lineup to six hits while striking out four and walking one. “Every single pitch – if I wanted it on the outside corner, it was going there; if I wanted it on the inside corner, it was there.”

It was the first MHSAA baseball championship for the Warriors and the first for McDonald, who is 564-198-7 in 21 years at the school. He was recently inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

“We wanted to get him his first ring,” Foley said. “He just got inducted into the hall of fame, so we wanted to give him something else to be happy about.”

Western got the game’s only run when senior Grant Bridgewater drew a two-out walk in the top of the sixth inning. Bridgewater, Western’s catcher, gave way to courtesy runner David Fegan, a sophomore, and Fegan was balked by Rice’s Dalton Greyerbiehl to second – the first of two costly Rice miscues in the late innings. On the pitch after the balk, senior Brendan Harrison smacked a solid single to center, and Fegan slid home well ahead of the throw.

The confident Foley did the rest. And, as is the case with any good pitcher, he got some help from his defense.

“Once I got that run, I knew,” he said, “I knew we were getting it.”

Foley allowed a one-out single in the sixth, but the courtesy runner was doubled off of first after a long flyout to center fielder Briton Ott to end the inning.

“Throw to contact,” Foley said of his pitching philosophy. “I’ve got a great ‘D’. I knew to throw to contact and they’d take care of it. Before the game I was telling the guys we’d probably need four or five runs because, you know, I’m pitching. But all we needed was one today. Inexplicable.”

The Warriors also had their ace in the hole, literally, with University of Michigan-bound lefthander Brett Adcock – who pitched the Warriors to a 2-1 Semifinal win over Sterling Heights Stevenson on Friday – warming up in the bullpen.

After Foley surrendered a two-out single to Bobby Cross in the bottom of the seventh, McDonald went to the mound to speak with his pitcher, but he didn’t replace him. The next hitter popped out to end the game.

“(Rice) had a left-handed hitter coming up in a couple batters, but to be honest, I don’t think I could have pulled the plug on Connor,” McDonald said. “He didn’t throw a lot of pitches. He deserved to close out a state championship.

“Adcock gets a lot of attention, (and) he deserves all of it, but Connor Foley’s been equal to the task. He’s a great complement to Brett and anybody who knows Connor will tell you you know exactly what you’re going to get. He is a gutsy kid, he’s confident and he’s got a little swagger to him, maybe, but it’s all about him wanting the ball. He wants the big game.”

And for Western, there were plenty of them this year. Saturday’s win was its 35th consecutive. Rice finished 32-8-1.

“I told the guys last night, if we had to play (Rice) in a seven-game series, we might not win,” McDonald said. “But we just had to play them once and beat them once and I’m beyond proud.

“I’ve been proud of every team I’ve coached and I’ve coached some incredible teams. But this team separated themselves. They set the bar. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to coach, but I’m not sure if we’ll ever do the things we did this year. … Maybe people can put it into perspective for me, but I don’t know what else to say about what we’ve done.”

Click for a full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Bay City Western sophomore David Fegan slides into home for the Warriors' deciding run in a 1-0 win Saturday at Bailey Park. (Middle) Senior Connor Foley threw a complete game in earning the win on the mound for Bay City Western. (Click to see more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Record-Setter Prout Helps Pace Standish-Sterling's 2022 Semifinals Run

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 27, 2023

Standish-Sterling’s run to the 2022 Division 3 Semifinals was driven in part by a record-setting offense, including a pair of senior standouts who posted single-season and career highlights.

The Panthers made the team record book in four categories, topped by a record 28 triples over 42 games. They also were added for 371 RBI (fourth all-time), 425 runs (12th) and 414 hits.

Cole Prout tied the MHSAA record for runs scored in one season with 84 and set the record with 27 career triples over three seasons (with 2020 canceled due to COVID-19). His 13 triples in 2022 tied for third on that list, while Chase Raymond’s 10 tied for 11th. Prout also tied for 12th all-time with 182 career runs, while Raymond is eighth on the single-season RBI list with 77 over 42 games in 2022 and earned a career RBI entry with 140.

Prout plays now at Central Michigan, and Raymond is playing at Saginaw Valley State.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA baseball record book:

Alden Stefanovski played a major role in Whitmore Lake reaching the 2022 Division 4 Semifinals. The senior also made the record book with 20 doubles over 33 games, the first from his school to earn a listing. He was joined in 2023 in the records by senior Alex Di Dio, who hit nine triples over 29 games and also three home runs in one game April 13 against Adrian Madison. Di Dio also was added for 13 triples and a .460 average for his three-season career, and he’s continuing at Kalamazoo College.

Trenton senior Jason Marshall was nearly unstoppable on the base paths during the 2022 season – and perfect stealing on them. He made the record book with 49 steals in 49 attempts, and also for seven triples over 35 games. He’s playing football at Eastern Michigan.

Trent Hagenbach finished his Saginaw Valley Lutheran career in 2022 tied for 11th on the career triples list with 16 despite not having a 2020 season and hitting all of them over the final two. He also made the records for his seven as a junior and nine as a senior.

Dansville had 10 pitchers contribute to its 388 strikeouts over 38 games during the 2022 season, a total which placed the Aggies second all-time. Tucker Mosley paced the team with 137 strikeouts.

Parchment’s Aaron Jasiak finished his three-season varsity career with seven record book entries, including one of the most impressive winning streaks all-time. He won all 26 pitching starts over his career, which didn’t start until his sophomore season because of the COVID-related cancelation of 2020. His winning streak is the seventh longest in MHSAA history, and his 0.87 ERA ranks 11th. He also made career lists with 163 runs scored, 112 stolen bases and a .460 batting average over 103 games, and his 60 steals over 38 games this spring rank 10th. He’s continuing at Hillsdale College.

Bay City Western finished 42-2 in winning the Division 1 championship in 2013, ranking sixth for most wins in a baseball season. The Warriors also tied the record with 21 shutouts, and their 1.02 ERA ranks fifth all-time.

Grandville Calvin Christian senior Blake Pettijohn struck out 20 batters in a 7-0 win over Belding on May 11, which tied for seventh-most for a seven-inning game. He’s continuing at Hope College.

Grant’s Oakley Obenauf made the single-season stolen bases list in the spring with 45 over 29 games – and was a major contributor as his team made the single-game list multiple times. He had a combined eight steals over two games as Grant swiped 13 and 11 bases during halves of a doubleheader May 11. Obenauf is a senior this school year.

Paw Paw reached the team record book this past spring after being hit by 50 pitches over 30 games. Seven players were hit by at least five pitches, with the team leader totaling 10.

Lansing Eastern earned its first record book entries from a pair of graduating seniors this spring. Dominic Wilson capped his three-season varsity career with 134 stolen bases, which rank 10th. He swiped a career-high 51 as a senior. Teammate Matthew Stevenson made the career batting average list at .472 despite getting only eight at bats as a sophomore because of an injury.

Benzie Central’s Wyatt Noffsinger enjoyed a memorable run to nearly finish off his high school career, throwing consecutive no-hitters against Buckley on May 24 and then Manton on June 3.

Okemos then-junior Caleb Bonemer earned his first record book entry with three home runs June 3 against Grand Ledge as his team clinched a Division 1 District title. Bonemer has committed to sign with Virginia.

After 45 years, Flint Southwestern’s Ruben Luna and Risto Nicevski were added for their accomplishments on the 1978 Class A championship team. Luna made the wins list with a record of 14-0 and the ERA list with a 0.71, and Nicevski made the ERA list with a 0.72. Both went on to play at Michigan State.

East Lansing’s Sam Busch enjoyed a career day on April 12, 2019, when he hit three home runs in consecutive at bats against Ionia. A junior that season, he’s now playing at Michigan State.

Powers North Central’s Adrian Mercier enjoyed a record-worthy junior season this spring. He hit .619 over 32 games, ranking 10th all-time for a single season.

Whitehall senior Cayden Ritchie chased and nearly caught the single-season stolen base record in 2021, when he tied for second with 72 steals over 36 games. He also made the single-game steals list five times, twice with a high of six.  

Aidan Liedeke capped his Brighton Charyl Stockwell career in the spring with some of the most impressive strikeout numbers in state history. Already listed for averaging 15.41 strikeouts per game as a junior in 2022, he averaged 14.92 Ks per game this spring to finish his three-season career at 15 strikeouts per game. He posted a 0.88 ERA in the spring as well to finish with a career 1.52. He’s playing at Kalamazoo College.

Killian Bies finished his Marshall three-season career in the spring among leaders all-time for getting hit by pitches. He already had tied for sixth as a sophomore in 2021 with 22 HBPs, and with 14 more both his junior and senior seasons he finished with 50 to rank fifth on that list. He’s continuing at Cornerstone.

PHOTO Standish-Sterling's Cole Prout (8) readies for a pitch during his team's 2022 Division 3 Semifinal.