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June 12, 2014

Grosse Pointe South defeats Battle Creek Lakeview to advance to state championship

Five-run fourth inning sparks Blue Devils to victory

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Grosse Pointe South defeats Battle Creek Lakeview to advance to state championship
Grosse Pointe South and Battle Creek Lakeview take the field prior to the start of a Division 1 semifinal.

One more to go.

Grosse Pointe South used a five-run fourth inning and clutch relief pitching from Andrew Eaton to move past Battle Creek Lakeview 6-4 in a MHSAA Division 1 state semifinal on Thursday afternoon at Michigan State University.

South took a 5-1 lead going into the fifth, but Lakeview answered right back with three runs off of four hits to start the inning. Eaton then entered the game in relief and got two outs before walking a pair of Spartans. 

With the bases loaded, Eaton struck out the next batter to end Lakeview's rally.

"I was a little nervous there, but I just had to calm myself down and get through it, and I'm really happy I did," Eaton said.

After working a quick sixth inning, Eaton found himself in a bases loaded jam again in the seventh, but he induced a fly ball to close out Lakeview.

"I just knew I had to get the three outs to finish the game. I needed it. I had to have it," Eaton said.

It was the first relief appearance for Eaton this season. 

"I was a starter, and I really haven't pitched in the closing role for South yet," Eaton said. "I had to make an adjustment, but I'm really glad it worked out for us."

Offensively for South, the uprising in the fourth was sparked by an RBI single from Brett Bigham. An error with the bases loaded scored another run on the next at-bat to give South a 2-1 lead.

A double play nearly derailed South's inning, but Colden Gosselin kept the momentum alive with a base hit that scored James Fishback.

"I was really nervous coming up to the plate, because this was my first time hitting in the playoffs, and I just zoned in and did my job. I choked up and tried to drive it anywhere I could," Gosselin said. 

Jimmy Menchl followed with another run-scoring base hit, and a wild pitch allowed Gosselin to score the fifth run of the inning.

Jacob Herbers pitched a complete game for Lakeview (32-6). Herbers and Jake Givens each had one RBI, and Nick Jones drove in two runs with a double in the fifth inning.

South (27-18) advances to play the winner of Clarkston and Bay City Western in the Division 1 state championship at 11:30 a.m. on June 14 at MSU. 

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.