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May 15, 2013

Prep baseball picks up huge win against Shrine, earns Comerica trip

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Prep sophomore pitcher William Mullen fires the ball to home plate during the May 11 victory against Shrine. The win propelled the Fighting Irish to the C-D title game.

LIVONIA — Matt Grassley doesn’t have a ton of head coaching experience — just one game, in fact.

But his perfect record as acting manager of the Notre Dame Prep baseball is something he doesn’t plan on risking any time soon.

“I’m going back to first base for the next game,” Grassley said with a laugh last weekend.

The Fighting Irish can laugh and smile all they want right now because, after a 15-6 victory against Royal Oak Shrine May 11 in the Catholic League C-D Division semifinals, the “next game” is today (May 16) at 4 p.m. at Comerica Park.

Prep had a shot to clinch its first league title since 1997.

“We’re extremely excited,” coach Darren Audia said of the title game against Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

For instant updates of the C-D championship game, or a complete game report following the conclusion, visit www.candgnews.com and click on the Sports tab.

As for the semifinal, Audia missed the win due to a prior family commitment.

“We’ve been talking about this all year,” Audia said of reaching the final. “We’re such a young team, with just two senior starters. So to do this is an awesome steppingstone for this program.”

Grassley called the Shrine game a “complete team victory.”

Prep needed it.

The Fighting Irish were down 5-2 going into the top of the fourth inning before taking the game over.

Prep put the offense to work, scoring five times in the frame and never looking back.

“We never gave in, and that was key,” Grassley added. “I told the guys we had four at-bats left as a team, and we had to take advantage of it. … We just kept swinging and started hitting the ball. We went out and did our job.”

However the final game played out — Prep was 15-9 taking on a 23-1 Foley team — the accomplishment of getting to Comerica, and having the chance to play in that environment, is something the coaches know their guys will cherish.

“I just want them to have the energy and excitement that I’m sure they will,” Audia said. “It’s an awesome opportunity.”

“It’s such an awesome achievement for our kids,” Grassley added. “To get there where we have one chance at something special is pretty cool.

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