BATTLE CREEK — At some point, this streak will have to end.
One of these years, Madison Heights Bishop Foley's baseball team won’t be the last team standing in Division 3.
Not this team.
Not this year.
The Ventures did what no other baseball squad has in MHSAA history Saturday, beating Grandville Calvin Christian 12-5 to claim the third straight Division 3 state title.
“It’s pretty special, because nobody else has done it,” coach Buster Sunde said following the game, played at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek. “It’s so rewarding for these guys, to see all their hard work pay off.”
Foley (35-2-1) got things going in the bottom of the first when Nathan Grys doubled with two outs and then scored on a Billy Malak single.
Mike Murley’s double in the second inning scored Austin Lukaschewski for a 2-0 lead, and after Brad Baldwin singled to left, Murley came around to make it 3-0.
Calvin Christian scored twice in the third despite not getting a hit, but Foley answered right back when Michael Reid had an RBI sacrifice fly to bring home Grys.
Foley put two more runners on in the fourth, and after a wild throw from catcher to second on an attempted pick-off advanced both a base, Garrett Schilling ripped a two-run single up the middle.
He eventually came all the way around to score, the final 90 feet on a wild pitch.
By the time the inning was over, Foley pounded five hits and led 9-2.
Grandville’s offense bounced back in the top of the fifth, picking up its first three hits of the day, and coupled with two Foley errors crossed the plate three times and pulled within 9-5.
In the bottom of the fifth, though, Murley drew a walk, stole second and reached third on a sacrifice fly. Schilling walked and stole second before Grys drew a walk.
Malek’s double down the first-base line scored two, and a throwing error brought Grys home, as well.
Foley led 12-5 through five and never looked back.
“We had some really good approaches at the plate,” Sunde said of his offense. “After the semifinal (6-0 win against Bridgman), people suddenly thought we were a small-ball team. But when I saw the guys take batting practice today, I knew it was going to be a good day.”
Asked about the defense, which was assessed three errors and allowed the five runs despite Calvin Christian only getting four hits, Sunde just laughed.
“You know, we’re a team that can go weeks without an error, and then we come here and play like that,” he said. “But we did that in last year’s final, too. The important thing is that we hung with it, we stayed focused and found a way to get the job done.”
Malak finished the game with two hits, two walks and three RBI, while Murley had two hits, an RBI and scored three times.
So now, the challenge is four titles in a row?
“That’d be awesome, wouldn’t it?” Schilling said with a smile. “I came in as a freshman and we did it. I think this senior class would love to go out with four in a row.”
Calvin Christian ends the season 24-4.