Things Change, Result Same for Ventures

June 14, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

BATTLE CREEK – Last season as a sophomore, Garrett Schilling was Madison Heights Bishop Foley’s number two starting pitcher and earned a complete-game victory in the team’s Division 3 Semifinal.

Now the team’s ace and a junior, he did exactly the same Friday against Bridgman.

Bishop Foley advanced to the championship game with 6-0 victory at Bailey Park

Some things haven’t changed since a year ago. And yet, so much is different for Schilling and the Ventures.

Many of the teammates surrounding him in the lineup last spring graduated, with his catcher Brett Sunde moving on to Western Michigan University. 

But Schilling and his current crew find themselves one win away, again, from an MHSAA title – which would be their third straight if they can defeat Grandville Calvin Christian on Saturday. 

“We’ve just got a great group of guys. We’re all a family here,” Schilling said. “If one guy has a bad day, the other guy is picking (him) up. We haven’t really skipped a beat. We just have to keep rolling.” 

The top-ranked Ventures take on Calvin Christian at 3:30 p.m. at C.O. Brown Stadium.

And there’s a good chance Schilling could see the mound for a few more innings, if needed. 

He improved to 15-0 this season by beating Bridgman, and he’s 31-0 during his varsity career. He was nearly untouchable this time, giving up three hits, walking none and striking out nine. 

Schilling throws five pitches, and Bishop Foley coach Buster Sunde said his ace can throw all of them for strikes on demand.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Sunde said. “He’s got command of so many pitchers. It’s so hard even when (batters) see him the second time around. He’s not throwing the same pitches to hitters.” 

Schilling also was 2-for-4 at the plate with one of the team’s six stolen bases and a run scored. Sophomore Nathaniel Grys was 2-for-4 with two RBI, and junior Austin Lukaschewski was 2-for-3.

Senior Brady Wasko was one of three Bridgman players to hit safely, and he also pitched in relief to finish the game for the Bees (26-6-1). 

Grandville Calvin Christian 5, Whittemore-Prescott 1

Junior Jamie Bristol won a competitive pitching battle, allowing only four hits and striking out six for Calvin Christian (24-3). He also had a hit and an RBI. 

Whittemore-Prescott senior Tyler Janish also threw a complete game, but only two of the Squires’ runs were earned. Janish gave up only five hits, one walk, and he struck out seven. 

Senior third baseman Josh DeYoung was 2-for-3 with two RBI for Calvin Christian, which scored three runs in the first inning and built the 5-1 advantage by the end of the second. 

The Cardinals were making their first appearance in an MHSAA Semifinal. They finished this spring 24-6. 

Click for full box scores.

PHOTOS: (Top) A Bishop Foley batter swings through a pitch, but the Ventures found the ball enough to score five runs against Bridgman on Friday. (Middle) Calvin Christian catcher Danny Carrasco prepares to unload a throw to second base during Saturday's win over Whittemore-Prescott. (Click to see more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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.)