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July 10, 2014

West bats come to life in 33rd MHSBCA All-Star game; beat East squad 19-7

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Notre Dame Prep's Aiden Cullen (9) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run to right field at Comerica Park Thursday night. Cullen's blast wasn't enough for the East, though, as the West all-star team rolled to a 19-7 victory.

DETROIT — A trifecta of big innings, that’s how the West was won.

Well, that’s how the West team won, anyway.

Comerica Park was host to some of the best high school players Thursday night as the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association hosted its annual All-Star game.

And on the heels of a five-run second inning, a five-run eighth and a six-run ninth, the West squad rolled to a 19-7 victory over the East.

“Pitching was the difference here,” said East skipper Darren Audia of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. “We walked too many guys and gave them some runners. And when they had guys on base, they made their hits count.”

“We left the ball out over the plate too many times,” said  Buster Sunde (Foley), also a coach on the East squad. “Give them credit, though. They sure hit the ball very well.”

The East actually got the scoring started right away when Daniel Jipping (Plymouth Christian Academy) ripped an RBI single in the top of the first inning.

But after an easy go of it in the bottom half of the first, Bishop Foley standout pitcher Garrett Schilling was roughed up in the bottom of the second.

Moments after tying the game at 1-1, Tyler Kyro (Jackson High) had a two-RBI single.

TJ Baker (Clinton High) picked up an RBI double, and Klye Rago (Berrien Springs) earned an RBI sacrifice fly.

Schilling, the Xavier University bound right-hander who was injured by a line drive to the face during his senior season but returned and helped Foley to a regional final, allowed five runs in the frame, and the West found itself with a 5-1 advantage.

Phil Carey (Tecumseh High) made it 6-1 on a sacrifice fly in the third, but the East found some life in the top of the fifth inning.

With a runner of first, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Aiden Cullen ripped a no-doubt home run to right to make it 6-3.

“I’m speechless, really,” Cullen said while beaming after the game. “I thought it was just a good hit, and I was booking to first. But when I rounded the bag the guys were going crazy. I was like, ‘did that really just happen?”

“What a perfect thing to happen to a kid like that,” Audia added. “He’s one of the best players Prep has ever had, and to see him round third base and the smile he had, that’s something I’ll never forget.”

The West responded in the sixth, scoring once on a passed ball and then on a single by Alexander Sova (Herbert Henry Dow) to take an 8-3 lead.

In the top of the seventh, Austin Petravicius (Wyandotte Roosevelt) brought home a run on a single, and in the top of the eighth, Brad Schaenzer (Lake Orion High) did the same for the East to make it 8-5.

The dagger came in the bottom half of the frame, though, when Carey added to his brilliant night with a bases-clearing, three-RBI double to the corner in right.

He stole third moments later and then scored on a wild pitch.

After the game, he was named the West Most Valuable Player.

Kyro added to the West’s offense with a sacrifice fly.

Jipping made things a little closer in the ninth, beating out a grounder with the bases loaded to plate two runs for the East.

With each team batting in all nine innings, no matter the score, the West added six more runs to end the game 19-7.

Cullen was named MVP of the East squad.

Each team featured 18 players from across the state, nominated by their high school coach and eventually selected by the All-Star game coaches.

The 33rd annual event drew an attendance of more than 1,200 fans on what turned into a perfect night at Comerica.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.