MADISON HEIGHTS — The trek west on I-94 is becoming a rather familiar one for the Madison Heights Bishop Foley baseball team.
And if there are no other advantages heading into Friday’s Division 3 semifinal against Bridgman High, coach Buster Sunde will take that one — and run with it.
“It’s a plus. How much of a plus, who knows?” the Ventures’ skipper said with a laugh Tuesday night after beating Flint Powers Catholic Central 9-1 in a quarterfinal contest in Saginaw. “I think having the number of guys we do, with the experience they have, is an advantage. They understand what’s going to happen, how the day is going to go and what it takes to win at this stage. Maybe it’s not the biggest advantage, but it is a little.”
Foley (33-2-1) takes on Bridgman High at 2 p.m. June 14 in a D-3 semifinal at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek.
The Ventures are looking for their third consecutive state title, a streak that includes an 8-2 victory against Bridgman in 2011.
“They are a scrappy team, and we expect them to be ready to go,” Sunde said. “It’s on us to prepare now like we would against any other solid team.”
Bridgman beat Homer High 5-2 in its quarterfinal and arrives in Battle Creek with a 26-5-1 record.
Sunde said the key for his team is the same as it’s been all season long.
“We can’t give away anything,” he said. “Our game, the same as it’s been in the past, is centered around a solid defense and pitchers throwing strikes. If we don’t give up runs, we have a good chance to win against anyone.”
Garrett Schilling (14-0, 0.92 ERA) will get the start on the mound against Bridgman. If he can limit the damage, he’s got an offense behind him that’s scored 34 runs in the past three games.
As for any pressure being felt by Foley, the clear favorite entering the playoffs to win a state title?
Absolutely none,” Sunde said. “Our team, on day one, said that this season’s goal was to become a little bit better every day, no matter who we are playing. That’s the pressure we put on ourselves, and that’s the objective we are taking to Battle Creek and into, hopefully, two more games.”
The D-3 final is set for 3:30 p.m. June 15 at C.O. Brown Stadium.
Mike Moore will be covering the semifinals and final, should Foley advance. He will be blogging live during the games.
Follow along at www.candgnews.com and email Mike during the games at firstname.lastname@example.org.