Schoolcraft collides with Homer with state semifinal berth at stake
HOLLAND — Schoolcraft’s baseball team is back in a familiar spot one year after losing in the Division 3 state quarterfinals.
Larry Phelps’ Eagles are three wins away from a state title after falling short with a 11-4 loss to Jackson Lumen Christi in the 2016 quarterfinals.
No. 5-ranked Schoolcraft (24-9-1) meets No. 4 Homer (36-5) at 5 p.m. at Hope College. The winner advances to Friday’s 11:30 a.m. semifinal at Michigan State University’s McLane Stadium against the winner between Traverse City St. Francis and Grand Rapids West Catholic from the Petoskey quarterfinal.
Schoolcraft makes its second consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals and has never advanced beyond that round. The Eagles are battle-tested having faced many larger enrollment sized schools this season.
Phelps’ ball club breezed through district play with consecutive wins over Galesburg-Augusta (17-1), Constantine (18-5) and No. 7-ranked Comstock (10-0).
In Saturday’s regional tournament at Coloma, Schoolcraft edged Watervliet 2-1 and beat Buchanan 4-2 in the finals.
Meanwhile, Homer defeated district foes Hillsdale (11-0), No. 8-rated Bronson (1-0) and No. 14 Jonesville (3-2). The Trojans defeated Delton-Kellogg (6-0) and rallied from five runs down to beat Michigan Center (7-6) in the regional finals.
Homer makes its first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2013. The Trojans won two state titles and appeared in a third state title contest between 2003-06 under current head coach Scott Salow.
Getting the start on the mound for Homer is Joe Roth.
Roth, the Trojans’ ace is 12-1 on the season and if he needs any help Homer also has Zach Butters.
“Homer has a good baseball tradition. They are well coached. At this point of the season you are going to see quality teams and Homer is definitely that,” Phelps said. “But we are preparing for them just like we have everyone else on our schedule this season.”
Schoolcraft is led by the senior trio of pitcher Ricky Clark, along with the Anspaugh twins Caleb (catcher) and Nolan (first base).
Clark and the Anspaugh twins have all signed national letters of intent to play the next four years at the Division II level for Grand Valley State University.
In the win over Watervliet, Clark went 3-for-3 with one RBI. Caleb Anspaugh added an RBI single for the Eagles and senior Blake Bales added a double.
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