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 Ferndale High senior Lee Chafin squares up during a district semifinal against Warren Fitzgerald June 1. Ferndale went on to win the program’s first district title since 2011.

Ferndale High senior Lee Chafin squares up during a district semifinal against Warren Fitzgerald June 1. Ferndale went on to win the program’s first district title since 2011.

Photo by Sean Work

Ferndale High baseball wins district title, falls in regional

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published June 11, 2019


FERNDALE — Back in April, Ferndale High baseball coach Chris Bailey said, “I think it’s (going to) happen this year.”

What Bailey was referring to was winning a district championship.

Coming into this season, the Eagles had lost in a district final in three of the last four years, including what he said was a “heartbreaker” against Livonia Clarenceville last year.

Ferndale’s chance to come away from this season with better memories came on June 4.

After beating Warren Fitzgerald 12-0 in a Division 2 district semifinal June 3, the only team left that stood in the way of the district title was Hazel Park High.

The final took place at Ferndale, and with the game tied 2-2 going into the last half of the seventh inning, the Eagles had their chance to seize the program’s first district title since 2011.

With the bases loaded and one out, senior Sanford Smith III helped secure just that for the program via a base hit to score the game-winning run.

After that, the celebration was on for the Eagles.

“This has been my fifth year doing this, and district has just kind (of) passed us by all five years,” Bailey said following the game. “I’m so happy for the kids. I got guys on here who have been with me for four years now that are seniors. They’ve been wanting this so bad. They’re emotional. … It’s a great feeling. They deserve it.”

Although Ferndale went on to lose to Livonia Clarenceville 3-2 in a regional semifinal June 5 at Clarenceville, Smith got to leave the program with his first postseason championship.

“To experience this, it’s very memorable,” Smith said following his game-winning hit against Hazel Park. “Coach Bailey, he’s been helping the program for some time now, and we haven’t been able to come up with a district championship. But now we’re able (to), and it’s a very good feeling.”

Although it was a hit that turned out to be the grand finale in the district final, there were a couple of other factors that Bailey thought were the keys to the Eagles’ success.

“Our pitching has been really, really solid all year long, and it’s kept us in games even if the bats aren’t going,” Bailey said.

Winning a district title is something that Bailey said Ferndale “geared up for the entire season,” and now that the goal has been accomplished, it could help the Eagles if they are in a similar position going forward.

“There’s been kind of a monkey on our back, beating Southfield (A&T), and we did that this year,” Bailey said. “There’s been a monkey on our back beating Royal Oak (High), and we finally accomplished that this year. And then the monkey on our back of finally winning this district, and that happened today. So I think that it can only go forward from here, especially for the guys that are coming back that are on this team right now. Now they got a little taste of it, and they (seemed) to enjoy it.”

In local softball news
Ferndale fell to St. Clair Shores South Lake 4-3 in a D-2 regional final June 8 at Harper Woods High. In the semifinal, the Eagles beat Livonia Clarenceville 21-0 to advance.

Ferndale’s district championship win came via a 10-3 victory against Warren Fitzgerald June 3.