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June 13, 2012

De La Salle baseball team heads to state quarters for first time since 2009

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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De La Salle baseball team  heads to state quarters for  first time since 2009
Guys on the De La Salle baseball team celebrate a home run during a June 9 regional semifinal game. The Pilots went on to beat Utica Ford 12-10 in the semi, then beat New Baltimore Anchor Bay in the final. They played in a D-1 quarterfinal after press time.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — After the Pilots won their first Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 regional title since 2009, Warren De La Salle baseball coach Matt Cook said that was a goal the team’s seniors set at the outset of the 2012 season.

“They knew we lost in the regional final in 2010 and 2011, and they didn’t want to do that again,” Cook said.

The Pilots’ state quarterfinal matchup with Hartland High was played after press time. The Division 1 state semifinals are June 15 in Battle Creek.

De La Salle last won a state title in 2009, which is the last time it won a regional title.

In capturing the regional title, the Pilots (18-21-1) had to win two games June 9. Those contests were complete contrasts of one another.

In a regional semifinal against Utica Ford II, De La Salle gave up a 10-6 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning before winning the game 12-10 in eight innings.

In the regional final with Anchor Bay, the Pilots busted the game open and put it out of reach with a huge 14-run fifth inning on their way to a 15-3 five-inning win over the Tars. De La Salle was down 2-1 going into that decisive fifth stanza.

Sophomore Dominic DiPuma put the exclamation point on De La Salle’s regional title win with a two-out grand slam in that big fifth inning to put the Pilots up 15-2.

“I just looked fastball and thought curve,” said DiPuma, who went 3-for-4 in the regional final. “I was just able to get my bat out there and take it over.”

Cook said he was just looking to come out of the fifth inning tied with Anchor Bay. He said he told any runners who advanced to third to look for a squeeze call because he wanted to manufacture one run in any way possible.

“The win is really good for the kids, especially after we lost in (the regional final) the last couple years,” Cook said. “We’re not done yet, though.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.