By Calli Townsend
The Almont Raiders fought a tough battle in the MHSAA Division II Region 31 semifinal game against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep on Wednesday. The teams were tied at two heading into the bottom of the seventh, and the Fighting Irish took advantage of having the last at bat. With one out and one runner on base, Prep’s Ben Sermo scored the final run on a wild pitch to end the game 3-2.
Wednesday’s game was a battle of two pitchers. Almont’s Brandon Hunsaker pitched for the entirety of the very defensive game. He threw 78 pitches and faced 27 batters. He struck out four batters and allowed four hits. Tommy Joppich of Notre Dame Prep earned the win after pitching all seven innings as well, throwing five strikeouts and only allowing two hits.
The first run of the game came after Notre Dame Prep loaded up the bases. A grounder by Joshua Samuels scored Zach Moenart. Then Sermo was hit by a pitch to score Luke Babich.
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Almont got on the board in the top of the third when Blake Cody got on base with a single, and then scored when Brendan Haldeman grounded out to shortstop.
A solid Raider defense caused six consecutive outs in the third and fourth innings for the Fighting Irish. Almont then scored in the top of the fifth after Cody singled to third, earning his second hit of the night. He then stole second. Blake Bunch was put in to pinch run, and later scored on a fielder’s choice throw. Cody led Almont at the plate, going two for two and scoring one run.
With the score tied at two, Almont failed to find power at the plate, with three up and three down. Haldeman walked Sermo, who then stole second and advanced to third on an error, and a wild last pitch of the game allowed him to score.
Almont finishes the season with a District title and a 21-7 record. Notre Dame Prep (23-8) will advance to the regional final on Saturday, June 12 at 12:30p.m. in Novi, Michigan.