Orchard Lake St. Mary’s celebrates June 19 with the Division 2 state championship trophy after defeating Stevensville Lakeshore 9-0 in East Lansing on the campus of Michigan State University.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s celebrates June 19 with the Division 2 state championship trophy after defeating Stevensville Lakeshore 9-0 in East Lansing on the campus of Michigan State University.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


OLSM baseball caps off remarkable season

Eaglets take second straight D2 state title

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 26, 2021

 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s pitcher Tommy Allman delivers to the mound during the Division 2 state championship game June 19. Allman struck out seven over 6.1 innings.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s pitcher Tommy Allman delivers to the mound during the Division 2 state championship game June 19. Allman struck out seven over 6.1 innings.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ORCHARD LAKE — It was only a few years ago that the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball team fell to Stevensville Lakeshore in a Division 2 semifinal game in East Lansing.

It was a team they hadn’t seen much over the years and eventually fell in extra innings. Lakeshore eventually went on to win that 2018 state title.

In reaching the semifinals, the Eaglets proved they had what it took to make it all the way the following year, winning the 2019 title. And as fate would have it, St. Mary’s would get a chance to avenge that loss to Lakeshore this postseason.

After dominating opponents throughout the 2021 season, Lakeshore was the last team standing between OLSM and back-to-back titles. The 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. The Eaglets and Lakeshore battled through 3 innings of scoreless baseball before St. Mary’s finally exploded for six runs in the fourth inning, eventually going on to win 9-0.

“It was just their attention to detail, their personal motivation and responsibility,” Eaglets coach Matt Petry said of what made his group special. “They knew what was on the horizon for them, and they wanted to make sure that they could better themselves as best as possible even with all the restrictions out there.”

There is a simple reason for success according to Petry. Throughout the season, his group was as battle tested as can be, which gave them a key advantage going into the Division 2 tournament.

They don’t play many teams in Division 2, 3 or 4 during the regular season. Instead, they opt to play against Division 1 opponents out of league, which prepares them for the bigger schools in their league such as Birmingham Brother Rice and Warren De La Salle.

After navigating that tough schedule, the Eaglets had no problem finding their way to a title. They finished the year with a 43-1 overall record, with the only blemish being a 2-1 loss to Saline High back in April.

Though every team likes to win every time out, Petry said that loss reminded St. Mary’s that they weren’t invincible. Dating back to the 2019 season, the Eaglets had gone 51 games without a loss.

“It served as kind of a wake-up call for us,” Petry said. “I think it happened at the perfect time. I think it was heading into the second half of the Catholic League year, kind of refocus us to get our goals accomplished, which were winning the Catholic League regular season, winning the Catholic League tournament and then ultimately a state championship. I think that helped us refocus.”

As he looks ahead to next year, Petry noted that goals for his group are still the same. However, there will be much more of a challenge for the Eaglets going forward.

With a growing enrollment, OLSM will push up to Division 1 next season. Petry said that he had thought about that previously, but with enrollment increasing, the decision was made for him.

Still, with a strong group coming back and most of his schedule being against Division 1 teams anyway, not much will change expectation-wise for the St. Mary’s baseball program.

Most of his team’s starters will return, but the Eaglets will have to replace players such as Tommy Allman and Alex Mooney, among others.

“In Division 1, there’s just going to be more quality opponents, but as far as the top end schools, I think the top end schools in Division 2 are right there, if not better than the Division 1 schools,” Petry said.

With all the success that the team did have this year, including being nationally ranked, Petry was named National High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year.

“That’s definitely a program award,” Petry said of the honor. “It’s nice for our program to be recognized on a national scale in some of these national polls out there.”

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