Madison HeightsMay 15, 2014
Defense of three straight state titles begins May 27 for Foley
By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer
MADISON HEIGHTS — Buster Sunde’s theme, since the time he arrived and took over the Madison Heights Bishop Foley baseball program, was an insistence on having a better team at the end of the season than he did at the start.
The result of that approach — three state titles in the past three years — speaks for itself.
But, as he spoke last week about the 2014 postseason, which officially kicks off May 27, Sunde knows things are much different for his Ventures this time around.
“We don’t have the same team now as we did a few months ago,” Sunde said.
Injuries and misfortune have reshaped Foley.
Star pitcher Garrett Schilling is still recovering from surgery to repair his cheekbone after taking a line drive to the face.
Michael Reid, another solid pitcher and one of the team’s best hitters, is out after a knee injury, and Nate Grys, a veteran hitter at the top of the order, has been limited due to a nagging hand injury.
“The playoffs are going to be a challenge, and the guys know that,” Sunde said.
But has it changed the team’s approach or goal for the next three weeks?
“Nothing changes,” Sunde said. Foley became the first baseball team in MHSAA history to win three state titles in a row last spring. “We’re going to go out, have the best team that we can take the field with, and we’re going to play hard.”
The Ventures officially open the Division 3 playoffs at 4 p.m. May 27 when they travel to Waterford to take on Our Lady of the Lakes.
The winner faces Macomb Lutheran North in a 10 a.m. May 31 district semifinal at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest, with the final set for 3 p.m. that same day.
Healthy or not, Foley is still a heavy favorite to run the table in the district round and eventually get all the way to East Lansing for the final weekend.
“We have guys on this team who’ve played a lot of baseball games in their career,” Sunde said. There is an outside shot Schilling and Reid return to the team before the playoffs are over. “I think our hope is the experience from the past few years is something they can fall back on.”
Foley took part in the Catholic League championship May 15 in a game played after press time. For complete coverage from Comerica Park, visit our website at www.candgnews.com and click on the Sports tab.
Other playoff baseball action
In a D-2 district at Clawson High, Madison Heights Lamphere opens against the host school at 4:30 p.m. May 27.
The winner takes on Warren Fitzgerald at 10 a.m. May 31.
In the other semifinal, Hazel Park High battles Ferndale High at 12:30 p.m.
The final is set for 3 p.m.
In a D-3 district at Harper Woods High, Madison High takes on Detroit Communication Media Arts at 7 p.m. May 27 in an opener.
The winner faces Detroit Consortium College Prep at 1 p.m. May 31 in the semifinal, with the district final set for 3 p.m.
In softball action:
The state softball playoffs also get going May 27.
In the Clawson district, Lamphere is hosting Clawson High at 4:30 p.m. May 27 in an opener. The winner takes on Fitzgerald at noon May 31.
Hazel Park battles with Ferndale at 10 a.m. May 31, with the final set for 2 p.m. that day.
Harper Woods drew a bye in the opener and takes on either Detroit-Henry Ford Academy School for Creative Studies or Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in an 11 a.m. May 31 semifinal.
The final is scheduled for 3 p.m.
At Lutheran Northwest, Foley takes on Macomb Lutheran North in a semifinal at 10 a.m.
Northwest and Our Lady of the Lakes play at noon, and the final is set for 2 p.m.