BASEBALL: Saline Advances in Playoffs With 9-1 Win Over Huron
The MHSAA playoffs. It's either win or your done.
And Saline's not done.
Saline opened the playoffs with a 9-1 win over Huron Tuesday in the MHSAA District tournament at Saline High School.
The Hornets slayed another bogeyman Tuesday. For the first time since 2019, Saline won its opening game of the playoffs. Saline won its first SEC Red conference championship since 2018 this season.
"It feels good to come out and win a game - especially a pre-district game that we've struggled in the last couple of seasons. Overall it's just a great feeling to get the playoff win and get the jitters out of the system," said starting and winning pitcher Jackson Muir.
The senior standout Muir gave up a run on three hits while striking out nine in five innings of work. Muir also went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Fellow senior Zach Fidh pitched two innings of scoreless and hitless relief, striking out two.
Senior Cade Tousa was 2-for-3 with two runs scored while senior Roman Laurio was 2-for-3 with a run, RBI and three stolen bases. Tate Bezeau was 1-for-2 with a double and sacrifice fly. Sam Kreuzer was 1-for-3 with a run and RBI.
Saline hosts the district semifinals and finals Saturday. The Hornets play Skyline at 10 a.m. Pioneer and Dexter play in the other semifinal.
The Hornets want to win and keep this season going as long as they can, coach Al Zeiher said.
"It's a different feeling in the playoffs - because there's no tomorrow, it's either win or your done. Experiencing that is beneficial as we try to continue to advance," Zeiher said. "It always feels good to win in the playoffs."
Early in the game, Saline might have a slight case of playoff jitters.
Muir walked the first batter he faced and then Locke hit a double to center to give Huron a 1-0 lead.
Saline got the run back in the bottom of the first. Tousa singled to center, stole second and took third on a passed ball. Laurio walked and then Jackson Conley's fly to right scored Tousa.
Muir settled in and struck out the side in the second inning.
The Hornets took the lead in the second. Muir reached on a single to shortstop.
Courtesy runner Josh Folk took second and third when Locke's pickoff attempt went awry.
Folk scored on Kreuzer's fly to center. Saline led 2-1 after two.
Muir gave up just a single in the third.
In the bottom of the inning, Cade Tousa singled to right.
Locke nearly picked him off on his first attempt - but did get him on the second try.
Laurio singled to right, stole second and took third after tagging up, but he was stranded there.
Muir continued to roll in the top of the fourth. He struck out the first batter, walked the second batter and then struck out the third batter.
After the runner took second on a wild pitch, Muir got the next batter to hit a grounder to third where Furlong tagged out the runner to end the inning.
The bottom of the fourth began with Tate Bezeau taking a fastball to the helmet. Muir doubled to center, moving pinch runner Sullivan Mills to third.
Sam Kreuzer singled to center to score Mills. After Reed Muir reached base on an error after a bunt, the bases were loaded.
Ian Furlong's grounder to short brought home Folk to make it 4-1. Tousa walked to load the bases again. Locked balked to score Kreuzer, making it 5-1.
Muir gave up a leadoff single in the top of the fifth. He struck out two River Rats but walked a batter.
Muir got the next batter to ground out to Tousa who stepped on second base for the force out.
Tate Bezeau got things started in the bottom of the fifth with a double to left, but he was stranded as the Hornets made three straight outs.
Zach Fidh relieved Muir in the sixth. He retired the River Rats in order with two ground outs and a K.
In the bottom of the sixth, Saline took advantage of some shoddy fielding.
A hustling Furlong reached on an error by the first basemen. Then Tousa reached on an error by the rightfielder. Saline had runners at second and third.
Laurio dropped a bunt that scored Folk, for a 6-1 lead, and moved Tousa to third.
After an infield fly and a walk, Bezeau hit a sacrifice fly to right. Tousa beat the throw with a great slide past the catcher to make it 7-1.
Jackson Muir followed with a double to left that scored Laurio and Miles Padot. Saline led 9-1.
In the top of the seventh, the lead-off man reached on an error. Fidh struck out the next batter but then hit the next to put runners at first and second.
Fidh struck out the next batter for the second out.
The game ended on a pop up to Tousa.
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