SOUTHFIELD — From two wins two years ago, to the brink of a district title Friday afternoon.
The turnaround with the Southfield Christian baseball program has been profound, and Friday in a home district final against Novi Franklin Road Christian, the Eagles just about punched their ticket to the regional round for the first time since 2007.
“We’ve been saying all year that we wanted to be playing our best baseball come districts, and today was the absolute best we’ve played all year,” coach Rich Satterfield said following a 2-1 loss in the Division 4 game. “We wanted to play our best and have a chance to win, and we did that here today.”
Franklin Road started the scoring with a solo home run from Jacob Weaver in the top of the third inning, but the Eagles answered right back in the bottom half of the frame.
Will Wilkinson led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a dropped fly ball, and then scored moments later on a single by Jonathon Springer.
The game stayed locked at 1-1 until the sixth.
Paul Alex led off the inning with a walk, stole second and reached third on a single by Mike McSweeney.
Franklin Road then attempted a squeeze, but catcher Andrew Manier, pounced on the rolling bunt and then dove back to the plate to tag out Alex.
McSweeney eventually reached third, though, and then scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by Evan Lorey.
The Eagles (8-9) never threatened again.
“We left too many on base,” Satterfield said as one of the big differences. His team beat Roeper 13-1 in the semifinal, but stranded a number of runners in the final, including the bases loaded in the second and two on in the third. “I also think the big thing is, they made more plays than we did. We made some clutch plays, but they made a few more.”
Asked if he was disappointed to reach a district final and come so close only to fall by a run, Satterfield smiled and said, “absolutely not.”
“I don’t know if we’ve had a marque game around here in a while, where people wanted to come out and see it,” he added. “But this was one of those. It was great to see the guys battle the way they did.”