Warren Mott upends Warren De La Salle in D-1 baseball pre-district
May 29, 2013
WARREN — The Warren Mott baseball team plated four runs in the top half of the seventh inning of its 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 opening-round district matchup with city rival Warren De La Salle to down the Pilots 6-2.
The game was played May 29 at Warren Cousino.
Mott (18-14) advances to face Cousino in a semifinal slated for 10 a.m. June 1 at Cousino. The winner of that battle will face either Royal Oak or Berkley High in a district final set for 3 p.m. June 1 at Cousino.
"We talked about how to beat De La Salle because they have a great program. We talked about team ball — a lot of bunts and sacrifices, and giving up your life for the team," Marauders coach Shawn Maloney said. "We executed. They just had a bad inning like every other team has had before. But we took advantage of that and kept putting them down."
Nine Mott players had plate appearances in that seventh inning, with the first five reaching base. The Pilots (18-16) changed pitchers to start the seventh after junior hurler Zack Bell went six innings, scattering three hits and allowing two runs.
Marauders senior outfielder Joey Slivik led off the seventh with a walk. Mott then played smallball, as senior first baseman Nick Maluchnik reached on a bunt single when no one covered first base. Marauders senior Pierson Heythaler, who picked up the win after pitching 2.1 innings and allowing just one hit, then reached on an error, with Slivik scoring from second what would prove to be the game-winning run. Mott would plate three more runs in the top half of the seventh, and De La Salle was unable to put a rally together in the bottom half of the inning.
"(Maluchnik) is our power hitter — he has no bunts the entire year. Then he lays down a beautiful bunt and they don't cover first base because they're not thinking he's going to bunt ... before you know it, we've got their confidence down and we took advantage of that," Maloney said.
"They put the pressure on us. I told our guys after the game I'm a firm believer in creating your own breaks ... and they were the beneficiary of a couple of breaks, but you create your own and (Mott) did a very nice job of that in the seventh inning," said Pilots coach Matt Cook, who led De La Salle to an appearance in the 2012 D-1 state title game.
The district opener was a rematch of an April 26 matchup that saw the Pilots get a 6-2 win in a game De La Salle broke open late.
"It was like a flip," Maloney said. "They were 6-2 better than us before, and we were 6-2 better than them today. Maybe if we played 100 times it'd be 50-50. But today was our day, fortunately."