St Patrick Return Ends in 1st-Time Celebration

June 17, 2017

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half 

EAST LANSING – A team that took a year to complete the journey against one that could be starting down the same path. 

A year ago, Portland St. Patrick lost in the Division 4 Final. On Saturday, the Shamrocks delivered.

Dan Mackowiak had four hits and Devin Fedewa and Graham Smith combined to hold the fort on the mound as St. Patrick won its first MHSAA baseball championship, completing an undefeated season with a 6-2 victory over Hudson at McLane Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University.

“It’s indescribable,” said Bryan Scheurer, who is in his 13th year as the Shamrocks’ coach. “I’m so proud of them. Lot of hard work, and they let us ride them all year long. We’re very particular in the way we coach, and they’re coachable. That’s all you can ask for.”

A year ago, the Shamrocks fell, 10-3, to Sterling Heights Parkway Christian in the title game. On Saturday, they took advantage of some shaky Hudson defense – the Tigers committed three errors, all during the first two innings – in seizing an early 4-0 lead.

“I think (experience) was calming, but I also think it was motivating that we had done the runner-up thing before,” Scheurer said. “They wanted to go one step farther.”

Neither team was necessarily expected to go as far as it did in the tournament. The Shamrocks returned several players from last year’s runner-up squad but graduated some significant contributors, while Hudson’s 18-player roster featured just two seniors and 14 underclassmen.

“We wanted to win 20 games and just keep moving the program forward,” Scheurer said. “We wanted to win the league title, we wanted to compete for a District. Maybe the smartest thing I did was I didn’t tell (the players) that. They thought we were supposed to be really good.”

The Shamrocks (34-3-1) drew on the experience of having been there just 12 months prior, senior catcher and leadoff hitter Brendan Schrauben said.

“Watching the seniors go out last year like they went out, that’s not how I wanted to go out,” said Schrauben, who singled, tripled and scored three runs. “But they really paved the way for us. I’m glad we got the win. That’s how I wanted to go out.”

Fedewa, a freshman, struck out three, walked five and surrendered seven hits over five innings for the win. Smith struck out three over the final two innings for the save.

“That’s big,” Schrauben said. “It definitely relaxed us when we got out to an early lead. When we’ve got a freshman on the mound, that kind of eases his game. He was able to pitch aggressively.”

Sophomore Isaac Davis had two hits for Hudson (27-17), while Josh Heistan started and took the loss.

The Tigers, who were playing in a Final for the first time in school history, were unranked and finished sixth in the Lenawee County Athletic Association.

“If we show up and put the work in, then it’s a launching pad,” Hudson coach Jeremy Beal said. “If we’re content with it, then it was just a great run. As far as being a program definer, that’ll depend on this group of kids, if they want to put the work in.

“I think it was just a matter of making plays and not making plays. It was really that simple. We didn’t make a couple (early); we’re trailing 4-0 as a result of it. We had a couple opportunities to score runs and we hit balls at people or didn’t execute. If we do those things we’re in the game, and we’re one swing away.”

Click for the full box score

PHOTOS: (Top) Portland St. Patrick celebrates its first MHSAA title Saturday at McLane Stadium. (Middle) The Shamrocks' Dan Mackowiak slides into second base as the tag is applied.

For Coach: Powers Completes 1st Title Run for 42-Year Leader Dutkowski

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

June 15, 2024

EAST LANSING — On behalf of this current Flint Powers Catholic baseball team, Saturday’s message was loud and clear to past players, alumni and school officials:

We finally did it for Tom. 

Tom would be longtime head coach Tom Dutkowski, who after 42 years and 872 wins finally got to coach in a state championship game Saturday. 

Not only did Powers get there for Dutkowski, but the Chargers delivered win No. 873 and his long-awaited first title as coach with an 11-0 defeat of Spring Lake in the Division 2 Final at McLane Stadium. 

“We just made Flint Powers history, and to be a part of that is amazing,” Powers senior Fischer Hendershot said. “We have a lot of alumni and a lot of alumni on the coaching staff. To do it for the coaching staff, everyone here, everyone in Powers, every alumni and everyone who cares about us is a great feeling.” 

The Chargers’ Fischer Hendershot delivers a pitch.After accepting the championship trophy and raising into the air triumphantly, Dutkowski reflected on the journey and long wait.

It was the third title for Powers baseball, joining the 1974 and 1980 championships. Dutkowski was an assistant on the 1980 team. 

“I played in ’73 here, and my joke for that was that I taught the ’74 guys everything they knew and then they won a state championship the next year,” Dutkowski said. “We won it in ’80 with just a gritty team. My third year as a head coach we got to the final four in Class A, and I figured this was going to happen every three years. And then it was a 39-year drought in terms of that.”

The game ended after five innings via the run differential rule and capped off a fairly dominant season for Powers — or at least as dominant as a baseball team can be for a season.

The Chargers finished 37-6 and outscored opponents by a combined 57-13 during the MHSAA Tournament.

The only close call during the playoffs came in Friday’s Semifinal, when Powers blew a 3-0 lead to Trenton before prevailing in the bottom of the eighth inning, 4-3, on a walk-off single by senior Gavin Darling. 

“These guys, they never flinched and they never wavered,” Dutkowski said. “They developed into being a great team, not just individual talent.”

Powers wasted no time against Spring Lake, taking a 2-0 lead with one out in the top of the first inning on a two-run double to the gap in left-center by Darling. After a ground out, Darling scored on a Spring Lake throwing error to give Powers a 3-0 lead. 

Powers added another run in the second inning on a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-0. 

Teammates congratulate Michael Klein (6) as he returns to the dugout.In the third, Powers scored four runs to take an 8-0 lead on an RBI single by Hendershot, a walk with the bases loaded and a two-run single by freshman Connor Kelly. 

Powers then put three more runs on the board in the fourth inning to take an 11-0 lead. 

Hendershot was the winner on the mound, allowing two hits and striking out five in five innings of work. 

Spring Lake also was attempting to win its first Finals title, but had to settle for its third runner-up finish (to go with those from 1995 and 1978). 

The Lakers finished 32-10. 

“They are a good team, and this was their year,” Spring Lake head coach Bill Core said. “We just couldn’t keep them off of the bases, and our pitching wasn’t as sharp as it’s been. We gave them a couple of free passes, and they mixed in some good hitting. That’s a good team, and that’s why they’ve been ranked No. 1 in the state all year.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Flint Powers Catholic raises its championship trophy to complete the 2024 baseball season Saturday evening at McLane Stadium. (Middle) The Chargers’ Fischer Hendershot delivers a pitch. (Below) Teammates congratulate Michael Klein (6) as he returns to the dugout.