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June 14, 2012

Sunde’s enjoyment of playoff ride comes from players experience

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Sunde’s enjoyment of playoff ride comes from players experience
Brad Baldwin slides safely into third during the regional round. Foley was back in Battle Creek for the third straight season. See next week’s issue for a full wrap on the baseball finals.

When the Madison Heights Bishop Foley baseball team beat Hillsdale High June 12 in a Division 3 quarterfinal, there was a bit of surprise associated with the win.

Not because the Ventures were headed back to Battle Creek to defend their 2011 state title.

Not even because the victory was the 39th in 42 tries this season.

“It was just kind of a weird game,” coach Buster Sunde said of a 1-0 escape act.

Despite stranding 11 runners on base, Foley marched through, and on June 15, it played in the state semifinals for the third year in a row.

The game was played after press time.

Still, as he spoke a day after beating Hillsdale, and two days before taking on Saginaw Nouvel, Sunde made it very clear that, win or lose in Cereal City, his appreciation for this team and his guys could hardly be measured in final results.

“We work these kids so hard all year long,” he said. “We’re out there three hours at a time for practice, so to see them mature and get better at this game is an awesome experience. The goal is to win it all, but ultimately, the satisfaction us coaches get is when the kids see how this all pays off.”

A special week
There was more to the past few weeks for the Sunde family than just capturing some playoff milestones.

On June 6, Foley senior Brett Sunde, a Royal Oak resident, was selected by the Oakland Athletics in 35th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.

The selection came nearly 30 years to day after Buster Sunde was chosen by the Chicago White Sox in the 1982 draft.

“I’m just so proud. I mean, I know how hard he works and the things he does to be as good a player as he is,” Buster said of his son, speaking more as a father than as a coach.

“I look at this last year, where he gave up a football season, a sport he loves, to focus on baseball. I couldn’t be prouder of the commitment he’s shown and dedication he’s poured into this game.”

Brett is planning to forego pro ball for now and will play next spring at Western Michigan University, just like his dad did 30 years ago.

See next week’s issue for a complete wrap on the Ventures’ journey to Battle Creek.

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