Madison HeightsMay 24, 2012
Foley snaps losing streak at Comerica, claims first Catholic League title in program history
By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer
DETROIT — In each of the past two seasons, Madison Heights Bishop Foley has taken its high-powered baseball team to Comerica Park for shot at a Catholic League title.
And in each of the past two seasons, the Ventures returned home empty-handed.
The third time was certainly was the charm.
In a brilliant display of offense and dominant pitching, Foley rolled past Allen Park Cabrini 10-2 in a May 24 C-D Division championship game, capturing the program its first Catholic League title ever.
“I’m so happy for the kids that they get to experience and be part of this,” coach Buster Sunde said after the win. “We work so hard and practice so much, and expect so much out of these guys. It’s nice to see all that kind of pay off.”
“This was huge. We wanted this one badly,” said senior Brett Sunde, who played in his third straight Catholic League final. “To us, this is like one step below a state title, so to finally get it is awesome.”
Foley got going right away, scoring in the top half of the first inning when senior Luke Ortel walked to start the game, stole consecutive bases and scored on a Sunde sacrifice fly.
The Ventures added three more runs in the third, one more in the fourth, one in the fifth, and then blew the game wide open in the top of the sixth, loading the bases on a single and two walks with nobody out and eventually plating four more runs.
Meanwhile, Brian Bayliss was nearly perfect from the mound.
The senior took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a lead-off single. He was eventually replaced in the sixth, after striking out five, walking one and giving up two runs on four hits.
“This is how he’s pitched all year,” Buster Sunde said smiling of his right-hander. “He can spot three different pitches, and that makes him very hard to hit.”
Brett Sunde led the offense, finishing with a single, a double and three RBI.
Sophomore Garrett Schilling also had two hits for Foley, which improves to 34-3 on the season.
But the Ventures, who are the defending Division 3 state champs, entered the game 0-4 all-time in league championships.
They lost the 2010 and 2011 games by one run to Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, dropped the 1991 A-B final 3-1 to Harper Woods Notre Dame, and lost the 1979 A-B game to Birmingham Brother Rice 4-0.
Still, the playing in the final and at Comerica the past two years wasn’t lost on Buster Sunde or his guys.
“I think the experience of being here and knowing what to expect makes a big difference,” the skipper said. “The guys came out attacked at the plate. They wanted to hit the ball.”
Foley officially begins its state-title defense in the New Haven High district at 4:30 p.m. May 29 against New Haven.
“We hope to use this momentum and roll it right into the playoffs,” Buster Sunde said of his team, which has been ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll all season.
Cabrini falls to 20-12-1 with the loss.