The Haslett baseball team voted to save its top two pitchers for a Thursday doubleheader against St. Johns that will decide the CAAC Red title.
It didn’t help the Vikings on Wednesday.
Grand Ledge piled up 16 hits against the six Vikings who pitched during the Comets’ 17-0 victory in a quarterfinal game of 53rd annual Dean Shippey Capital Diamond Classic.
Nick Kamrada faced the minimum nine batters and gave up no hits in the three innings he pitched for the Comets (22-7), who advance to a 5:30 p.m. semifinal on June 2 at Cooley Law School Stadium against the winner of today’s 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal at Cooley between Portland and DeWitt.
“My curveball was working pretty well,” Kamrada said. “I could pretty much put it anywhere I wanted in the zone. I’ve had some good luck pitching, and the guys behind me have been covering me all the way. They gave me a lot of run support.”
Christian Keller homered to start a 10-run fourth inning, in which 16 Grand Ledge batters stepped to the plate.
“It was fastball, high and inside, and I just turned on it and took the best swing I could,” Keller said of his first ever Diamond Classic homer.
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The Comets’ Keefer Johnson doubled, and Nate Langenfeld singled to open the first inning with a run. Grand Ledge added two runs in the second inning and four in the third.
“Luke LaLumia had a good day at the plate (with four hits),” Grand Ledge coach Pat O’Keefe said. “We had several kids that really stepped up today.”
O’Keefe, in his 46th year, understood Haslett’s situation.
“They saved their best pitchers,” he said. “I know there’s lots of times this time of year when you’re forced to make a decision about what are you going to play for. My hats off to (Haslett coach) Jeff (Woodworth). He let the kids decide, and he said that was their choice.
“Obviously, our bats were very hot today, and it was nice to play on such a beautiful day. We haven’t had one like that all season.”
Woodworth, whose team got its only hit off Grand Ledge reliever Devin Kilbourn in the fourth inning, had plenty of praise for the Comets.
“You come to a big tournament like this, and you get not only mid-Michigan’s best program but one of the best in the state for the past 30 years,” Woodworth said. “Maybe we were a little gun shy, but we didn’t play very well and pitch very well. We pitched a bunch of cats, and whoever was out there, they hit them. They’re good, and we knew they were good.”