There was a lot to “glove” Saturday morning for fans of Livonia Franklin’s baseball team during the Patriots’ 3-1 Division 1 district semifinal victory over Garden City.
The victors flashed some serious defense – especially during the final two innings – to back a stellar complete-game pitching effort from Adrian Reed, who scattered five hits, walked two batters and hit one.
The victory propelled head coach Matt Fournier’s team into the final against Dearborn, which rallied to edge Dearborn Fordson, 4-2, in Saturday’s second game.
The district championship was pushed back to Monday at 4 p.m. at Dearborn High due to heavy rains.
The late-inning web gems were started in the bottom of the sixth by right-fielder Tyler Camp, who fielded a sharp, one-hop line drive off the bat of lead-off man Jassen Matuscak and fired it to first to get Matuscak by a step.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Franklin center-fielder Joe Chinavare sprinted into deep right-center field to track down a long blast by Vinnie Bakerian, who shook off a bad-hop grounder to the nose while playing shortstop one inning earlier.
The game ended when Patriot second baseman Hunter Sellers made a slick back-hand stop of Matt Kindred’s sizzling grounder and retired him with a quick throw to first baseman Ryan Prohaska.
Garden City starting pitcher Nick Montroy was splendid as well, limiting the Patriots to nine hits while not issuing a walk. All three Franklin runs, which came in the fourth inning, were unearned due to three GC errors – the Cougars’ only fielding miscues in the game.
The Patriots’ decisive fourth frame started when Reed reached on an error and Prohaska singled with no outs. Nick Curtis, who was pinch-running for Reed, advanced to third on Mitch Gonyaw’s long fly-out to center field.
Tyler Camp then drove in the contest’s first run with a sharp single. Camp then scored when Jake Fry’s ground ball to third was thrown away. Fry came home with the third run seconds later when the ensuing throw across the diamond eluded GC third baseman Travis Kidd.
With his team trailing 3-zip, Montroy opened the bottom of the fourth by drawing a walk, but Reed buckled down and retired the next three Cougars on two strike outs and a ground out.
GC scored its lone run in the fifth when Kidd drilled a one-out single. After Tyler Kelly popped out, the Cougars loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Bakerian and Matt Kindred before Montroy drew an RBI walk.
Camp was the only Patriot with two hits. Kidd had two singles for the Cougars, who finished with a 15-8 mark.