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June 15, 2012

Incredible season for De La Salle included trip to state final

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Kevin Carroll delivers a pitch during the regional round of the D-1 baseball playoffs. De La Salle advanced to Battle Creek for the final four despite starting the season 2-14.

BATTLE CREEK — Gloves went skyward.

Students and fans in attendance charged the field in celebration.

Teary-eyed parents grabbed cameras to catch every lasting moment.

And this wasn’t even a championship game.

What it was, however, was a magical ride with at least one trick left.

The Warren De La Salle baseball team, 2-14 at one time this season, beat Howell High 3-2 in a Division 1 semifinal in Battle Creek June 15.

The D-1 final was played after press time.

Check out next week’s paper for a complete wrap up of the June 16 final.

“We’re having a blast right now,” said coach Matt Cook following the semifinal win, which improved his squad to 20-22-1. “We’re not supposed to be here, but here we are. We’re loose. We’re relaxed. We’re having an awesome time.”

Kevin Carroll pitched one of the best games of the season in the semifinal, going all seven innings while striking out six Howell (30-11) hitters.

Leading 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning, sophomore Dominic DiPuma led off the frame with a towering home run to left field.

Howell answered in the bottom of the sixth with a run of its own, but Carroll set down the Highlanders in order in the bottom of the seventh, sending the Pilots back to the final for the first time since winning it all in 2009.

“We never let being 2-14 affect us,” Cook said. “The kids bought into what we were teaching.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.