Final week of competition means big games for Catholic League teams
Jun 11, 2019
METRO DETROIT — Heading into the final week of 2018-19 interscholastic competition, eight Catholic League teams still have their hopes for state championships intact.
Team titles will be decided in baseball, softball and soccer on Friday and Saturday at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Winning the semifinals (and softball quarterfinals) are the next step to getting there.
Here is a brief look at the eight remaining squads:
Baseball: Birmingham Brother Rice (26-11)
KEY PLAYERS: Tito Flores, senior RF; Jack Orlowsky, senior 3B; Tyler Sarkisian, senior P
LATEST WINS: The Warriors defeated Fenton, 9-1, in the super-regional final Saturday at Novi. Jake Coulter shut down the Fenton bats with a complete-game effort, striking out eight. Earlier in the day, Brother Rice upset fifth-ranked Romeo in 12 innings, 4-3, in the regional championship game.
NEXT STEP: A Division 1 semifinal vs. Portage Northern, 11:30 a.m. Thursday at McLane Stadium
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Warriors are hoping fulfill the promise they showed when they were the top-ranked team in the pre-season polls. With a win, the Warriors will advance to the Division 1 state championship vs. Macomb Dakota or Rockford, 9 a.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The Warriors made the Division 1 semifinals last year before their season was ended by Woodhaven. Brother Rice won state titles in 2008, 1994 and 1992, and has made three other appearances in the final — most recently in 2013.
Baseball: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (32-9-1)
KEY PLAYERS: Dillon Kark, senior 2B; Logan Wood, junior P; Harrison Poeszat, senior C
LATEST WINS: Mikey Gall allowed just three hits over six innings and struck out six as the second-ranked Eaglets downed St. Clair Shores South Lake, 10-0, in the super-regional final Saturday at Detroit Country Day. Prior to that, St. Mary’s beat St. Clair 9-3 in the regional championship, with Wood getting the win.
NEXT STEP: A Division 2 semifinal vs. Muskegon Oakridge, 2:30 p.m. Friday at McLane Stadium
WHAT’S AT STAKE: By winning Friday, the Eaglets will play for the Division 2 state championship vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central or Trenton, 11:30 a.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: St. Mary’s hopes to take the next step after losing a 1-0, extra-inning semifinal thriller to eventual champion Stevensville-Lakeshore last June. The Eaglets won it all in 2015, 2003 and 1998 and have three other appearances in the final game.
Baseball: Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett (22-8)
KEY PLAYERS: Alec Azar, senior P; Kellen Banaszewski, senior 2B; Billy Kopicki, senior SS
LATEST WINS: The fourth-ranked Knights scored three runs in the final inning in a comeback win over Saginaw Valley Lutheran, 4-2, in the super-regional final Saturday at Brown City. Earlier, Liggett beat Madison Heights Bishop Foley, 13-3 in five innings, to win the regional title.
NEXT STEP: A Division 3 semi-final vs. Gladstone, 11:30 a.m. Friday at McLane Stadium
WHAT’S AT STAKE: With a victory, the Knights will advance to the Division 3 state championship vs. Pewamo-Westphalia or Homer, 2:30 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Dan Cimini’s squad has been one of the most dominant in the state this decade, winning championships in 2016, 2014, 2013 and 2011, with another finals appearance in 2012 and a semifinal berth in 2017 (in Division 1). The Knights won their first state championship in 1979.
Softball: Warren Regina (27-11)
KEY PLAYERS: Maria Muglia, senior P; Leah Munson, senior SS; Miranda Nicholas, sophomore IF/P
LATEST WINS: The Saddlelites got by L’Anse Creuse, 5-4 in extra innings, to win the regional Saturday at Utica Ford. The regional semifinal wasn’t as much of a nail-biter, as Regina beat Macomb Dakota 13-1.
NEXT STEP: A Division 1 quarterfinal rematch from 2018 vs. Garden City, 4 p.m. Tuesday at Wayne State University
WHAT’S AT STAKE: With a win, the Saddlelites will return to the final four, with a semifinal vs. Bay City Western or Lowell at 3 p.m. Thursday at MSU’s Secchia Stadium. The state championship game is 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Guided by Diane Laffey — the winningest coach in state history — Regina made the Division 1 semifinals last year but was edged 1-0 by eventual state champion Caledonia. The Saddlelites are 6-0 when they’ve appeared in the state final, winning titles in 2015, 2004-07, and 1989.
Softball: Riverview Gabriel Richard (10-18-1)
KEY PLAYERS: Chelsea Collins, junior P; Sharmaye Becraft, senior P/OF; Sarah Collins, freshman OF
LATEST WINS: Chelsea Collins no-hit Wixom St. Catherine as the Pioneers defeated the Stars, 4-1, in the regional championship Saturday. In the regional semifinal, Gabriel Richard scored seven times in their first at-bat and kept the bats booming to defeat Detroit Cristo Rey 11-0 in five-inning Mercy-rule game.
NEXT STEP: A Division 3 quarterfinal vs. Dundee, Noon Tuesday at Novi High School
WHAT’S AT STAKE: If all goes well Tuesday, the Pioneers will advance to the final four, with either Grandville Calvin Christian or Schoolcraft awaiting a semi-final matchup at 3 p.m. Friday at MSU’s Secchia Stadium. The state championship game is 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Gabriel Richard has won the state title twice, but it’s been awhile — 1992 and 1975. Since then, the Pioneers returned to the finals in 2005, when they were shut out by Freeland, 4-0.
Soccer: Bloomfield Hills Marian (16-1-0)
KEY PLAYERS: Jansen Eichenlaub, senior F; Neve Badalow, senior D; Sara Stroud, senior M
LATEST WINS: The top-ranked Mustangs nipped Catholic League rival Dearborn Divine Child, 1-0, in the regional championship Friday at Detroit Country Day, as Sara Stroud scored on a second-half penalty kick. Marian also downed Madison Heights Lamphere 7-0 in the regional semifinal on June 4.
NEXT STEP: A Division 2 semifinal vs. Flint Powers, 7 p.m. Tuesday at Novi High School. Marian has won the last two state titles in Division 2; Powers has won the last two in Division 3.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: With a win, the Mustangs will progress to the Division 2 state championship vs. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern or Marshall, 9 a.m. Friday at DeMartin Soccer Stadium.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Marian has won five out of the past 10 Division 2 state championships, and has appeared in the final contest another two times. In all, the Mustangs have won seven titles, third-most among all schools.
Soccer: Warren Regina (13-4-3)
KEY PLAYERS: Mariana Muskovac, senior M; Jordyn Collier, junior F; Katy Feskorn, junior F
LATEST WINS: Behind goals from Riley Bobowski and Jen Mateyak, Regina won its regional for the second year in a row by turning back Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard 2-0 on June 6. Earlier in the week, the Saddlelites eked out a 3-2 win vs. Grosse Ile in the regional semifinal.
NEXT STEP: A Division 2 semifinal vs. Essexville Garber, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Howell Parker Middle School
WHAT’S AT STAKE: By winning, the Saddlelites will make program history and play in the Division 3 state championship game vs. Grand Rapids South Christian or Boyne City, 1 p.m. Friday at DeMartin Soccer Stadium.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: While Regina has reached the semifinals on three prior occasions (2018, 2005 and 1984), the Saddlelites have yet to break through to the championship game. Last year’s semifinal resulted in a 1-0 shootout loss to eventual champion Flint Powers.
Soccer: Royal Oak Shrine (21-3-3)
KEY PLAYERS: Chloe Woodbeck, senior F; Allison LaPoint, junior GK; Ellie Plunkey, sophomore F
LATEST WINS: The Lady Knights got a second-half goal from Ellie Plunkey to eliminate defending champion Lansing Catholic 1-0 in the regional final on June 6. Two nights earlier, Shrine was an offensive juggernaut, beating previously undefeated Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 8-0.
NEXT STEP: A Division 4 semifinal vs. Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Troy High School
WHAT’S AT STAKE: With a win, the Lady Knights will advance to the Division 4 state championship vs. North Muskegon or Kalamazoo Christian, 1 p.m. Saturday at DeMartin Soccer Stadium.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: This is new territory for Shrine, which had never even won a district championship prior to this spring.