GR Christian gets it done

GR Christian gets it done


GR Christian gets it done


The Grand Rapids Christian Eagles got a shot at redemption and made the most of it.

After losing in the state championship game to St. Clair last year, Grand Rapids Christian fought to get back to the Division 2 finals where they took down the Bay City John Glenn Bobcats, 6-1, on Saturday in the Michigan High School Athletic Association state baseball tournament at C.O. Brown Stadium.

Grand Rapids Christian broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with an Alex VandeVusse bases-loaded, safety-squeeze and that’s all the Eagles would need for their first baseball state championship in school history.

“It’s a special group. We had a lot of kids that were here last year when it didn’t go our way and they made it their goal from the last game last year to today that we’re going to win this thing,” Eagles head coach Brent Gates said. “We know how hard it is to get here two years in a row. You see so many great teams along the way.”

The Eagles scored a run in the first inning when Taylor Pruis singled, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and then scored on a Kurt Hoekstra sacrifice fly.

Bay City John Glenn looked poised to answer in the bottom of the inning as the Bobcats had runners on first and second with one out, but the Eagles’ first baseman, VandeVusse, made an incredible double play to end the inning.

VandeVusse used his bare hand to catch a sharply hit one-hopper that took a bad bounce, threw a strike to second base for a force out and got back to first to complete the double play with a sprawling scoop.

“What a play that was,” Gates raved. “It was almost like an old Ozzie Smith play. That’s a game-changer right there.”

In the fourth inning Bay City John Glenn knotted the score at 1-1 on a Sam Brooks RBI double.

That’s when Gates made the decision to take out the Eagles’ starting pitcher David VanVliet in favor of Hoekstra.

Hoekstra entered with one out and a runner on third base. He quickly dispatched of the next two batters to end the threat and was lights out the rest of the way, earning himself the win, as he allowed only one base runner in the next three innings.

“Kurt’s our guy in these situations,” Gates said. “That’s the kid we want out there with the ball. He’s a senior, he’s been there, done these things and obviously he came through today.”

The Eagles’ Joel Schipper and Pruis opened the sixth inning with singles and Hoekstra was walked setting up VandeVusse for the go-ahead RBI squeeze bunt.

The Eagles scored two more runs on a throwing error in the sixth and tacked on two more in the seventh on a Taylor Pruis 2-RBI single.


Hudsonville scored four times in the top of the sixth en route to a 9-6 triumph over Warren DeLaSalle.

Hudsonville (33-5) received a three-run home run from starting pitcher Tyler Bear, a double and two RBI from Logan Magsig and a hit and an RBI from Zach Bohl. Keegan Bear went the final 3 1/3 innings for the mound win, and Magsig had the save.

DeLaSalle (20-23-1) was led by Kevin Carroll with a hit and two RBI, Joe Loria with two hits and an RBI, Joe Rydzewski and Dominican DiPuma with a hit and an RBI each, and Mike Abiragi with two hits.


Brett Sunde hit a home run, drove in two, walked twice and scored three times as Madison Heights Bishop Foley downed Lansing Catholic Central, 8-2.

Garrett Schilling had two hits and two RBI for Bishop Foley (38-3), Luke Ortel went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Billy Malak went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Brian Bayliss struck out eight over seven innings on the mound.

Dillon Rush and Jacob Phifer had a hit and an RBI apiece for Lansing Catholic (31-7).


Decatur scored twice in the third inning and twice in the fourth as it defeated 2011 champ Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, 4-1.

Decatur (36-6) got a complete-game five-hitter from winning pitcher Tim Cervin, a hit and two RBI from Theodore Rufo, two hits and an RBI from T.J. Stambeck, and a double and an RBI from J.T. Kawaski. Alexander Daar, who scattered six hits and struck out five, suffered the mound loss for Liggett (25-4).


More USA TODAY High School Sports