by Calli Townsend
The St. Clair 11U All-Star team is battling its way through the State tournament. The Saints stand 0-2 in pool play with one game left to go before seeing which teams advance to bracket play. With two pools of six, the top four in each pool will move on.
On Saturday, the team faced Midland and fell 17-3 in four innings.
The Saints started off hot with a 3-0 lead thanks to a trio of singles and good base running.
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Midland found its stride, however, in the top of the second inning with a 10-run rally. The team put two runners on base and then took a 4-3 lead after four consecutive successful bunts. From there, the St. Clair defense struggled to fill the gaps in the field to get the last two outs.
“We just gave them a couple more outs than we should have and didn’t make the plays when we were supposed to make plays,” head coach Steve Fiscelli said. “You can’t give extra outs to good teams and they were a good team.”
The Saints lost all momentum after that, struggling to move runners around the bases for any more runs. Midland went on to score seven more to secure its victory.
“We get that one bad inning and can’t seem to find a way out of it,” Fiscelli said, “and we can’t get ourselves over the hump unfortunately.”
A similar story was told in Sunday’s game against Traverse City. The Saints mustered a bit of a comeback in the bottom of the second, but their opponent’s 7-0 early lead was too large to overcome.
With two quick outs in the second, the Saints’ lineup caught a spark with back to back singles by Collin Lum and Reid Parlardg. Scott Eames was then walked to load the bases.
Lucas Turrell had a nice single to score Lum, and Austin Fiscelli walked to score Parlardg.
Both teams were scoreless in the third, but a triple for Traverse City opened the floodgates for five more runs, totaling 12 on the game for a 12-2 victory.
Fiscelli said his players struggled to find the right gaps to get the hits they needed to stay in the game against both teams.
“They sort of all struggled in their own way,” Fiscelli said. “Austin, Levi and Jarred are our go-to hitters, and then add Griff to that mix too. They’ve been putting the ball in play for us in both games we’ve played, just sometimes they’re right at people and we don’t get rewarded for it because they make the play.”
The Saints will play in the final round of pool play today against Plymouth-Canton at 10a.m. in Bay City.