By Calli Townsend
After Tuesday’s games were postponed due to rain for the Junior Boys District tournament in Richmond, the teams headed to Emmett for drier fields on Wednesday night.
First off was Marine City and Emmett in the loser’s bracket. Marine City won 17-5 for an opportunity to battle back into the semifinal game.
The two winners from Monday’s games, St. Clair and Richmond, played each other next. St. Clair defeated Richmond 8-3.
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Richmond turned around to play Marine City for a 25-14 victory and the chance to play in tonight’s championship game against St. Clair. It didn’t come easy, however, as the teams played a three-hour game that didn’t conclude until 12:45 a.m., according to District 7 Secretary Dave Bauman.
“Everybody was worn out. We were trying to be able to save pitchers for today’s game so our bats definitely carried us,” Richmond head coach Brad Sutherland said. “We were figuring out our pitching staff on the fly and just trying to get guys who could throw strikes.”
Sutherland said his team was able to finish the game and save pitchers for the next game against St. Clair, which gives him a bode of confidence for tonight’s game.
“This will essentially be the fifth time that we’ve played them,” Sutherland said. “They’ve been able to slink out from under our boot three times out of the four we’ve played them so far. I’m 100% confident that we can definitely stay with these guys. I’m just trying to continually make sure the kids know they can stay with these guys because they’re all tired and all beat up right now.”
St. Clair enters tonight’s championship game as the No. 1 seed after winning last night’s game. Haslem credited the defense for the victory.
“Joe Lindman threw 96 pitches last night in six innings for eight strikeouts. He threw a gem, a great game,” St. Clair head coach Jamie Haslem said. “Braydon Shaw came in and closed it out for one inning, a scoreless seventh, so it was a really good game defensively for us.”
Richmond got off to an early 3-0 lead to start the game. With one run scored by Matthew Yelenich in the first inning and two scored in the second, St. Clair had some catching up to do.
“It was a struggle, honestly we played very well against St. Clair, we had them, it was just one inning,” Sutherland said. “It was just one inning and they scored all their runs.”
The St. Clair lineup gained momentum in the third inning when the team rallied for seven runs and one special moment.
“You know what was kind of a neat thing, Braydon Ruprecht, I brought him up from the 13-year old team. He didn’t get selected on the 13u All-Star team so I grabbed him up because I wanted to have 13 players,” Halsey said. “He came in and had a two RBI single in the third inning which was our big inning.”
Ruprecht was subbing in for the No. 9 hitter when he came to the plate with bases loaded.
“For him to come up big like that off the bench, that was big,” Haslem said. “I’ll tell ya, he’s played really, really well. He didn’t think he was going to get to be an All-Star this year and I’m really glad I snagged him up. It was a big, big hit.”
St. Clair went on to score one final run in the seventh to make it an 8-3 victory. The rematch with Richmond is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight, July 8, in Emmett, Michigan.