ORCHARD LAKE — Baseball, barbecue and sunshine.
It’s all on the menu May 17 at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, and head baseball coach Matt Petry will do everything in his power to make sure the first two options go as planned — rain or shine.
“It’s a day for our seniors and a day for some teams to get together, and enjoy the campus and playing baseball all day,” Petry said last week of the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Invite, as he’s dubbed it. “It’s a great time of the year to get ready for the playoffs.”
Catholic League rival University of Detroit Jesuit, along with Macomb Dakota and Oxford High, will join St. Mary’s on campus.
It’s the second year in a row the event has been held, with St. Mary’s and U of D acting as co-hosts.
“We try to invite some good teams from around the area that we otherwise wouldn’t play,” Petry explained. “We’ll, hopefully, see some higher-end pitchers and get a good feel for playoff baseball.”
U of D and Dakota will begin the day at 10 a.m., followed by St. Mary’s against Dakota at 12:30 p.m., U of D against Oxford at 3 p.m., and St. Mary’s against Oxford capping things at 5:30 p.m.
St. Mary’s and U of D won’t play during the day, since they’ve already faced each other four times in league contests.
“We’ll be grilling all day, having food between games, and having some fun,” Petry said. “It’s really a cool day for everyone to enjoy themselves.”
As he spoke, Petry and St. Mary’s were still preparing for the Catholic League playoffs, which began May 10, after press time.
The A-B Division final is set for 12:30 p.m. May 15 at Comerica Park.
The May 17 games will also give the Eaglets a chance to play with a four-ball, three-strike count, as opposed to the three-ball, two-strike count they do most of the season in league play.
“The majority of our games are three, two,” Petry said. “When you change it back to four, three, you kind of get a feel for what it will be like in the state playoffs.”
The 2014 state tournament officially begins with district openers May 27.