Saline came from behind to defeat a scrappy Ann Arbor Huron team and win the district championship for the fifth straight season. Saline defeated Lincoln, 9-0, in the district semifinal earlier Saturday in the tournament held at Saline High School. The Hornets play in the regional tournament at Southgate Anderson Saturday. Saline plays Plymouth at 10 a.m. Woodhaven and Edsel Ford also play in the region.
“It wasn’t always easy, but this team persevered and found a way to get it done,” said coach Joshua Reeves.
It’s been the story of this team, which started the season with eight new starting position players after a senior-laden Saline team won its first state championship last year. Since then, the Hornets have lost their only returning position player to off-the-field issues. Then head coach Dave Sontag left the team to concentrate on his fight with leukemia.
And yet here we are in June and Saline went 15-0 on its way to the SEC Red title and they’ve won their first post-season trophy.
Logan Evans earned the win in relief. Evans pitched three innings of no-hit baseball, walking just one batter. Danny Weidmayer started and allowed three runs, one earned, on one hit and two walks. The Hornets booted the ball around, making four errors.
Senior Paul Kiyabu drove in Alex Morrison for the game winning run in the bottom of the fifth, snapping a 3-3- tie. Morrison had led off the inning with a single. He stole second and third.
The Hornets were down 3-2 after the top of the fourth. Kiyabu and Vinnie Patteri started the bottom of the inning with singles. They advanced on a ground out by Noah Nelson. Jacob-Ohren-Hoeft drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly to center.
Huron opened the scoring in the top of the first. Saline made two errors in the infield and Huron bunted the runners over before driving in one run with a groundball to second. Saline answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Ohren-Hoeft walked. Cole Daniels singled. Jack O’Keefe singled to drive in Ohren-Hoeft and tie the game.. Morrison reached on a ground ball fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners. Morrison stole second and a Huron error allowed Daniels to score.
Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders Three Stars of The Game
- Paul Kiyabu had two clutch hits. He scored the tying run and drove-in the game-winning run.
- Alex Morrison had two hits and four stolen bases. His base-running led to an error that scored Saline’s second run. And he stole two bases before Kiyabu’s scored him for the game-winner.
- Logan Evans pitched three innings of terrific, no-hit relief and earned the win.
Senior Cole Daniels threw a three-hit shutout as Saline defeated Lincoln, 9-0, in the district opener. Daniels struck out eight and walked two. Jack O’Keefe doubled and drove in four runs with just one hit – which mirrored the Hornets’ performance. They scored nine runs on just four hits.
Saline put up runs in each of the first two innings before O’Keefe gave Daniels breathing room in the fifth. Noah Nelson walked. Then he stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Lincoln intentionally walked Cole Daniels with two out. That brought up O’Keefe, who admits he took it a little personally that they intentionally walked Daniels to get to him.
“That hurt a little bit. But I’m like, ‘Alright.” I made them pay, so,” O’Keefe said. “I’m trying to put it in play, put it right over the second basemen’s head. When you put in in play, good things happen. I’m just trying to help our team.”
O'Keefe smashed a double into the gap in left-center, scoring two runs. Saline led 4-0. Saline scored five more runs in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of two walks and three errors.
The Hornet defense made no errors in the first game.
The Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders 3 Stars.
- Cole Daniels threw a shutout and was dominating at times. He had a no-hitter until the fourth inning. Daniels also drove in a run with a hit and walked twice.
- Jack O’Keefe drove in two runs with a double and brought in a couple more when his hard infield grounder ate up the shortstop.
- Noah Nelson walked twice, scored two runs, stole a base and played great at shortstop.