By Hank Minckiewicz
The Roosevelt baseball team had the misfortune of drawing a pre-district game at the start of the Michigan High School Athletic Association district playoffs this season. But no matter, Coach Brian Cotner’s Bears battered their way to a district championship anyway.
Playing in a tournament at Lincoln Park, the Bears crushed River Rouge in the pre-district affair 15-0, routed Anderson 13-3 and clubbed the host Railsplitters 9-3 in the title game.
In between the pre-district and the start of the actual district, Roosevelt found time to sneak in a 3-2 non-league win over Riverview.
While the Bears were unstoppable in the district, things were a little different in the regional semifinal as the Bears ran into powerful Woodhaven and fell 7-2. The loss ended Roosevelt’s season and left the Bears with a final record of 16-18.
Wyandotte actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Woodhaven with two runs in the bottom of the first, but that was all the offense the home team would generate. Woodhaven, meanwhile, got even in the fourth, went ahead 3-2 in the fifth and sealed the deal with four runs in the top of the seventh.
Manny Gutierrez and Dominic Nael each had two hits for Wyandotte and Ryan Meade and Tristan Mathis each knocked in runs. Donovan Canterberry started, went six innings, allowed three runs and took the loss.
After beating Wyandotte, Woodhaven’s stay in the state tournament lasted just one more game as the Warriors fell to Birmingham Brother Rice 7-2 in the regional championship game.
Brother Rice led the entire way and iced the game with three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Brother Rice then beat U-D Jesuit to reach the MHSAA Division 1 semifinals.
During the district tournament, Roosevelt scored seven runs in the third inning of the championship game against Lincoln Park and the outcome was decided.
Jake Nothnagel, Catertberry, Meade, Gutierrez and Nael all had RBI during the seven-run uprising in the third. Mathis was 4-for-4 to key a 14-hit Roosevelt attack.
The beneficiary of all the offense was Canterberry, who went the distance on the hill, allowing two runs and four hits, while striking out five.
To reach the district final, the Bears beat Anderson for the third time this season.
The game was never really in doubt as Roosevelt scored two times in the first inning and 11 times over the course of the final four innings. Anderson, which had six hits, did manage three runs in the bottom of the sixth to avoid being shut out.
Meade and Canterberry had three hits each and Nael and Tyler Kurdi each knocked in three runs. The Bears outhit the Titans 16-6.
The pitching victory went to Gutierrez, who went 5 ⅓ innings, fanning six.
The pre-district game with Rouge lasted only until the third inning when the mercy rule was invoked.
Roosevelt scored six runs in the first inning and nine more in the second.
Gutierrez, Meade and Robbie Longoria each had two RBI in the game and pitcher Kurdi got nine outs in a three-inning no-hit performance.
In their two at-bats, Roosevelt collected seven hits and nine walks.
In the non-league game with Riverview, Roosevelt trailed most of the way, but scored one run in the fourth and two in the bottom of the seventh to walk off the Pirates. Brayden Calhoun singled in the winning run.