Grosse Pointe Farms
South coach reflects on baseball team’s run to state title
Posted June 17, 2014
EAST LANSING — The Grosse Pointe South baseball team battled its way all the way to the 2014 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 state championship game, getting hot at the right time by beating Sterling Heights Stevenson and Battle Creek Lakeview — which had a combined record of 69-8 — and earning a spot in the title game.
The final matched the Blue Devils against defending D-1 champ Bay City Western and took place June 14 at Michigan State University.
South (27-18) came up short, falling to the Warriors 6-2, as Bay City Western became the first D-1 team to win consecutive state titles.
Blue Devils coach Dan Griesbaum, who led South to a state championship in 2001, was proud of his team following the loss.
“We don’t have any reason to hang our heads — none at all,” Griesbaum said. “Anytime you’re one of the final two teams, that’s a tremendous accomplishment, especially considering where we were early on.”
South struggled to start the season, going 1-5, and were 7-12 at one point before finishing 2014 on a 20-6 tear.
Bay City Western (38-8) started things off with a bang, plating three runs in the top half of the first inning. The inning was punctuated by a two-RBI double by Warriors senior first baseman Justin Gorr. South senior starting pitcher Jimmy Menchl, who picked up a win in both regional games and the state quarterfinal, was on the hill.
Western added a run in the second when a two-out RBI double by senior shortstop Seth Freed scored Warriors sophomore starting pitcher Jason Clark from third base. Western scored on a sacrifice fly from Freed to make it 5-0 in the fourth. A South error in the top of the fifth allowed Western’s Zach Schiermer to score from third to make it 6-0.
Clark was strong on the mound for Western. In a complete-game win, the sophomore allowed two runs on three hits, and struck out five on 78 pitches.
South (27-18) looked to start a rally in the bottom of the fifth, as senior right fielder James Fishback and junior left fielder Jake Stone drove in runs to cut the Western lead to 6-2. South tallied three hits in the frame — representing their first base runners of the game.
“The first inning set the tone,” Griesbaum said. “You can’t take anything from Bay City Western. They’re obviously a talented, well-coached team, and they were better than we were today.”
Griesbaum’s last day as a teacher was June 14. The South coach, wrapping up a 35-year career as an educator, said he plans to return as Blue Devils coach. He said the run to the state title game capped the end of a storybook season.
“Obviously, it could have been a little (better) with a win, but the clock struck midnight on Cinderella,” Griesbaum said. “But this has been one of the most satisfying years I’ve had, in terms of taking a group from the beginning and kind of molding them into what they became at the end. That’s what coaching is all about.”
About the author
Staff Writer Jason Carmel Davis covers prep sports throughout Macomb County. Jason has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2011 and graduated from Michigan State University.
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