John Raffel

Sports Scene

It was fun while it lasted for the Lansing Catholic Cougars, but coach Mike Scott and his players were hoping to enjoy one more victory before the season ended.

The Cougars lost to two-time champion Bishop Foley Catholic 8-2 in the Division 3 title game on June 16 in Battle Creek.

We put everything out there; they were the better team,” Scott said. “They hit the ball a lot better. They got those two-out knocks.

We had to deal with a lot of adversity all year…injuries, the whole way. If one guy got hurt, the next man up, the next man up, the next man up. We had multi-position guys. Everyone was a part of this.”

Brian Bayliss went the distance for Bishop Foley in the win against Lansing Catholic.

He’s a good one, he’s special,” Scott said. “I’m sure he’s going somewhere. He has a bright future. We’re that scrappy team that keeps playing.”

The Ventures scored two runs in the first inning and in the third. Lansing Catholic came back with single runs in the fourth and fifth, but Bishop Foley put it away with four runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Tommy Cotter had a hit and an RBI for the Cougars.

We had an injury, and our second baseman, Austin Krause, had his first start there,” Scott said. “That’s Tommy Cotter’s first start at shortstop.”

Dillon Rush was the starting and losing pitcher for Lansing Catholic, which ended its season at 31-7. Scott’s three-year record at the school coming into this season was 42-52.

Give credit to Bishop Foley, they were the best team today,” Scott said. “But I wouldn’t trade these kids for anything. They battled the entire year. I’ve had my heart ripped out like these kids. I know how they feel. Over time, they’ll look back and they’ll realize how special of a time this was.

You pour your heart and soul in this entire tournament until the bitter end. You get to this point and eventually you have to turn the page. There’s a little bit of time of mourning and you’re back at it next week for some of these guys.”

On Tuesday in quarterfinal action, Lansing Catholic ended Parchment’s season 6-5 in nine innings.

In Friday’s semifinal game with Mancelona, Catholic stormed to an 8-1 win. Mike DeClarke had three hits and two RBI for Lansing Catholic. DeClarke was the winning pitcher, allowing one run on five hits. He didn’t allow a walk.

He was hitting spots,” Scott said. “He didn’t have walks…A lot of first-pitch strikes….He was hitting the corners and staying ahead and making the second pitch. You always want to see those seniors succeed once you get to the tournament….It’s their team, they steer the way. Our three seniors have done that.”

We’re expecting to get the win,” Lansing Catholic outfielder Eric Plaehn said prior to the showdown with Bishop Foley. “It means everything. It’s been our hitting and pitching. Our pitching is going great. It’s always been talked about. We have to start hitting, throw first and throw strikes.”

All hands on deck getting to the state finals,” Scott said. “You don’t have to be the best team all season. You just have to be the best team that day.”                              

Scoring runs with two outs was a key for Lansing Catholic.

Hitting strikes, you can’t control whether you’re getting base hits or not, but you can control if you’re hitting the ball hard,” Scott said.