When it comes to the Diamond Classic, there are always high expectations for the Grand Ledge baseball team.
The Comets, who captured their 24th Classic championship last year, have won the Greater Lansing tournament five of the past six years.
And on Thursday night, Grand Ledge moved one step closer to grabbing back-to-back Classic titles with a 5-0 victory over Division 3 No. 8-ranked Lansing Catholic at Municipal Park.
The Comets will face Mason in a semifinal matchup on June 1.
“If you’re from Grand Ledge, you always want to be in the Diamond Classic, and you always want to go as far as you can go. And hopefully do what you set out to do,” Comets coach Pat O’Keefe said.
Grand Ledge scored all five of its runs in the top of the third. With one out remaining, Comet senior Jake Ellis connected on a pitch by the Cougars’ Riley Creamer and jumpstarted the six-hit inning.
Cooper Alspaugh’s RBI single scored Ellis from second base, and then Luke Lalumia followed that with a two-run double.
Sam Goodman and Wyatt Rush drove in the final two runs to round out the inning.
“It was a good spark,” Ellis said. “But the guys behind me always got my back and I always got their back.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Lansing Catholic had an opportunity to cut into Grand Ledge’s lead, but left three runners stranded. In the sixth, the Cougars had two runners on base with only one out, but once again failed to bring anyone home.
“We struggled bringing guys in,” said Lansing Catholic senior Drew Pence, who went 2 for 3 in the game. “They’re a great hitting team, and they put the ball in places we couldn’t field it.
“We didn’t make many mistakes. We just couldn’t get it done today.”
Pitcher Tyler Waldrop threw a complete game for the Comets and racked up nine strikeouts in the process.
Earlier this season, the Cougars swept Grand Ledge. And Ellis said that was something that the team used as motivation heading into the quarterfinal showdown.
“The Diamond Classic is always big for us, and with these guys double-dipping us during the season we wanted to get revenge,” Ellis said. “We wanted to start good in the Classic.”
Creamer had five strikeouts and Nic Olson, who replaced Creamer on the mound in the sixth, had two strikeouts and went 1 for 3 from the plate.