Keeping the record going is the main objective for Wyatt Rush and the Grand Ledge baseball team.
And the Comets will have a chance to do that and add to their Diamond Classic dominance Tuesday night.
Defending Classic champion Grand Ledge extended its season and punched a ticket in the title game by hanging on for a 7-5 victory over Mason in Monday’s semifinal at Cooley Law School Stadium.
“We work the whole season to win this tournament,” said Rush, who picked up the pitching win. “It’s kind of the cap to the end of the season.”
Grand Ledge will be going for its 25th title in the 54-year history of the Classic when it faces St. Johns in the championship game. The Comets (30-6-1) have won five of the last six Classic titles.
“It never gets old,” veteran Grand Ledge coach Pat O’Keefe said. “That’s one thing you always say. The Diamond Classic is one of the best tournaments if not the best invitational in the state of Michigan.”
The Comets, who took the lead for good on Sam Davison’s two-run single past a drawn in infield in the third inning, had to fend off Mason to reach the final.
The Bulldogs (19-12) scored three in the sixth on run-scoring hits by Alex Balderas and Cody Carpenter and had runners on the corners in the seventh. But the game ended when Jake Scavarda, who was caught in a rundown between first and second, was ruled out for running out of the baseline.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Balderas, who was at the plate when the game ended. “I thought if that call hadn’t happened and we stay on first or even if that play happens and it’s clean, Jake is on second and Austin (Montas Burt) scores. It’s a one-run game and I think we could have had it.”
Second-year Mason coach Scott Berman thought there were a few tough calls that went against his team in the seventh – the final play and a close one at first to start the inning. Berman said miscues in the game’s early stages also hurt.
“The truth of the matter is we made too many mistakes early in the game and we shouldn’t have left it to that as disappointed as I was,” Berman said.
Grand Ledge capitalized on those mistakes to take control. Cooper Alspaugh and Luke Lalumia each reached on errors to start the third. The Comets would load the bases and then Davison singled up the middle to score a pair and break the 2-2 tie.
“I was just focusing on the pitch out of his hand and I wanted to make sure I hit the ball and got it in play,” Davison said. “I let everything else to fall in place.
“I was kind of hoping to get it through the infield and did what I did.”
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS: DeWitt’s Connor Grice, East Lansing’s Reece Piotter, Fowlerville’s Cullen Ritchie, Grand Ledge’s Jake Ellis, Haslett’s Mason Roberts, Lansing Catholic’s Jake Szombati, Mason’s Austin Montas Burt, Portland St. Patrick’s Daniel Bosworth and St. Johns’ Austin Pohl were announced as Diamond Classic scholarship winners between games Monday.