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BASEBALL: Huston's late game heroics give Decatur extra innings win over Gladstone in D-3 semifinals.

   | Jeff Dullack

State Champs! Sports Network

EAST LANSING – After watching defensive mishaps behind him force his team to lose a 1-0 lead with two outs in the seventh inning, Cody Huston took matters into his own hands.

After a scoreless eighth inning of work on the mound, Huston watched teammate Carter Smith reach base and the batter just before him in the lineup, Matthew Botti intentionally walked, and on the first pitch of his at bat, Huston drilled a double to deep left field, scoring Smith and giving Decatur a 2-1 win over Gladstone in eight innings.

Decatur now advances to the Division 3 state championship game, where the Raiders will face the winner of the second D-3 semifinal between Reese and Grosse Pointe Woods University of Liggett.

“I wasn’t on today, I was having a little bit of an off day hitting, so it was the right time to do it, I guess,” Huston said of his game-winning hit. “I thought it was my time to step up and help my team out, they had my back the whole game and it was my turn to step up.”

With Decatur (24-6) clinging to a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Gladstone’s (29-5) Christian Groleau walked to reach base and while attempting to steal second was able to advance to third base after a throwing error.

The next batter, Sam Pouliot grounded out to second base, but was able to score Groleau to knot the game to send the game to the bottom of the seventh and a scoreless frame on the mount from Pouliot sent the game to extra innings.

Decatur head coach Ben Botti said that despite Gladstone forcing extra innings, there was no doubt in his mind that his squad would come out with the win.

“I just figured we were going to score one in the bottom of the seventh,” he said. “And we didn’t so Cody went out there and did his job and got them out of the inning, got a little lucky that the kid missed first base tagging up. But losing never crossed out minds, that was not an option, I just figured the kids would pull it out.”

Huston returned to pitch in the eighth inning and tallied one of his five strikeouts and got a couple of easy outs to keep the game tied at 1-1 heading to the bottom half of the inning.

Huston finished the game, surrendering just one hit on the afternoon, while walking just two to earn the complete game win.

Huston said that despite already throwing over 100 pitches through seven innings, he was more than ready to go back out for the eighth inning and even more innings after that.

“I could have gone as many more as my team needed me to,” he said. “My curve ball was hit and miss, the change-up was here and there, so everything was just hit and miss and I just had to keep throwing.”

Decatur took the lead in the fifth inning when Joby Kawaski connected for an RBI double that scored Smith to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.