Portland, Eaton Rapids top seeds for Capital Diamond Classic

Portland, Eaton Rapids top seeds for Capital Diamond Classic

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Portland, Eaton Rapids top seeds for Capital Diamond Classic

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Portland and Eaton Rapids have earned the top seeds in the 53rd annual Dean Shippey Capital Diamond Classic field that was announced Tuesday.

The field also includes Grand Ledge and East Lansing from the CAAC Blue, Haslett, St. Johns and DeWitt from the CAAC Red, and Potterville from the CMAC. Defending champion Lansing Catholic joins Portland from the CAAC White, and Charlotte joins CAAC Gold rival Eaton Rapids among the mid-Michigan area high school baseball teams selected by the Capital Diamond Classic committee.

The tournament opens with two games at Kircher/Municipal Park on Monday. Quarterfinals follow at Kircher/Municipal Park on May 21 and at Cooley Law School Stadium on May 22.

Portland (17-2) and Eaton Rapids (17-3) received byes to the May 22 quarterfinals.

“I’m pretty excited that our kids will have a chance to start right out at Cooley Law School Stadium,” Portland coach John Davids said. “Two of the better teams in the Lansing area (Lansing Catholic and DeWitt) will play before us (5:30 Monday at Kircher/Municipal Park). It’s a challenge, and we look forward to it.

“I think our kids are really confident. But it’s a big stage, a big arena. We have five underclassmen and one senior who didn’t play last year, and this is going to be a new experience for them. We have some kids who are going to have large eyes when they walk out there for the first time.”

Eaton Rapids will face the winner of Monday’s 7:30 p.m. contest between St. Johns (17-4) and East Lansing (14-8).

“It’s exciting for the kids and the community. It’s a great honor to be placed up there with Portland and other great teams,” Greyhounds first-year coach Rick Acker said. “Getting the bye helps us a lot, because we have a big conference (CAAC Gold) doubleheader with Mason on Monday. Getting to play on Thursday helps us with pitching. Pitching and playing good defense have been the keys to our success all year.”

In the May 21 quarterfinals at Kircher/Municipal Park, Haslett (15-6) faces 23-time Diamond Classic champion and 2013 runner-up Grand Ledge (17-7) at 5:30 p.m. before Charlotte (18-4) meets Potterville (15-5).

Diamond Classic committee members believe Potterville is either a first-time participant or is in the field for the first time since the 1970s. The State Journal was unable to reach current or former Potterville athletic staff who could confirm one or the other.

Next Wednesday and Thursday’s quarterfinal winners advance to the semifinals at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 2, at Cooley Law School Stadium. The championship game, at the same site, will follow at 7 p.m. the next day.

Rain dates are June 4 and 5 at Kircher/Municipal Park.

Eaton Rapids went 7-1 and Portland is 5-1 against teams in the Diamond Classic field.

“I don’t think that there is a dominant team in the Lansing area,” Davids said. “If you look at the records, this is the tournament with the most parity in quite some time. There are four or five teams that can win this thing.”

The Raiders are coming off a sweep of Grand Ledge last Saturday in Grand Rapids.

“Last year when we lost to Grand Ledge (9-4 in nine innings in a Diamond Classic semifinal), it was a huge step for us, but the two wins this year validated our program,” Davids said. “Still, you’ve got to be honest. It fell where Grand Ledge had to throw their No. 3 and No. 4 (pitchers), and we had the opportunity to throw our No. 1 and 2. How your pitchers fall into place is either a huge advantage or huge disadvantage in those games, and we definitely had an advantage.”

Who pitches in Diamond Classic games is important as well, and it depends many times on who pitches as teams try to compete for league, district and regional titles.

“It just depends on how our district falls into place,” Davids said. “It looks like our No. 1 or 2 (pitcher) can throw that first game.”

The Diamond Classic semifinals will come just two days after May 31 district semifinals and finals.

“You have to give your kids the opportunity for a state tournament run,” Davids said. “But we’re not going to be making excuses if we’re throwing (our No.) 3 or 4 in the Diamond Classic semifinals. Those kids can pitch too, and we have to hit it and play defense and play the game.”

The other teams who make the semifinals may also be in the same situation.

“The playing field is open and fair,” Davids said. “Sometimes a break for the Diamond Classic is a loss in the districts, and sometimes you have the depth to overcome things like that, as teams in the past have.”

Staff writer Scott Yoshonis contributed to this report.

53RD ANNUAL CAPITAL DIAMOND CLASSIC

Monday, May 19, at Kircher/Municipal Park

Lansing Catholic (11-8) vs. DeWitt (12-9), 5:30 p.m.

St. Johns (17-4) vs. East Lansing (14-8), 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21, quarterfinals at Kircher/Municipal Park

Grand Ledge (17-7) vs. Haslett (15-6), 5:30 p.m.

Charlotte (18-4) vs. Potterville (15-5), 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 22, quarterfinals at Cooley Law School Stadium

Portland (17-2) vs. Lansing Catholic or DeWitt, 5:30 p.m.

Eaton Rapids (17-3) vs. St. Johns or East Lansing, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, June 2, semifinals at Cooley Law School Stadium

Portland, Lansing Catholic or DeWitt vs. Grand Ledge or Haslett, 5:30 p.m.

Eaton Rapids, St. Johns or East Lansing vs. Charlotte or Potterville, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 3, championship at Cooley Law School Stadium

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NOTE: Rain dates are June 4-5 at Kircher/Municipal Park

DIAMOND CLASSIC CHAMPIONS

2013 – Lansing Catholic

2012 – Grand Ledge

2011 – Grand Ledge

2010 – Grand Ledge

2009 – Grand Ledge

2008 – DeWitt

2007 – Okemos

2006 – Grand Ledge

2005 – Holt

2004 – Charlotte

2003 – Grand Ledge

2002 – Grand Ledge

2001 – Grand Ledge

2000 – Holt

1999 – East Lansing

1998 – Grand Ledge

1997 – Grand Ledge

1996 – Grand Ledge

1995 – Grand Ledge

1994 – Grand Ledge

1993 – Grand Ledge

1992 – Grand Ledge

1991 – Sexton

1990 – Grand Ledge

1989 – Howell

1988 – Everett

1987 – Grand Ledge

1986 – Lansing Catholic

1985 – Waverly

1984 – Grand Ledge

1983 – Everett

1982 – Waverly

1981 – Grand Ledge

1980 – Grand Ledge

1979 – Harry Hill

1978 – Harry Hill

1977 – Everett

1976 – Waverly

1975 – Waverly

1974 – Grand Ledge

1973 – East Lansing

1972 – East Lansing

1971 – Eastern

1970 – Everett

1969 – Eastern

1968 – Eastern

1967 – Everett

1966 – Everett

1965 – Grand Ledge

1964 – Howell

1963 – Grand Ledge

1962 – Everett

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