In Play with Tom Markowski

Bay City Western escapes district tournament, leans on seniors for more success

Baseball   | Tom Markowski

Bay City Western escapes district tournament, leans on seniors for more success

Auburn – It’s never easy for Bay City Western to advance to the regionals.

This season had its own hurdles to climb as Mount Pleasant, a finalist in Division 2 last season, moved up to Division 1 and was placed in the district with Western held at Midland. Western and the other teams in the district, all from the Saginaw Valley Association, did receive a break when Saginaw Heritage, another Saginaw Valley team, was moved out to make room for Mount Pleasant.

The district draw had Mount Pleasant playing Western in a pre-district forcing the winner of that game to win three games to advance. Western defeated Mount Pleasant, 7-3, in that game and then defeated Midland Dow, 7-1, in a district semifinal setting up a showdown with Midland in the final.

Western took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before Midland loaded the bases with no outs. Western coach Tim McDonald brought in his ace, Jason Clark, to close the door. Clark walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to tie the score at 2-2. Clark retired the next batters in order to send the game into extra innings.

Midland had runners on the corners with one out in the eighth and once again Clark worked his way out of that jam.

In the 10th Clark singled and scored the winning run on Brady Leppek’s triple.

“This team just finds ways to win,” McDonald said. “They willed that one.”

Western (35-3) will play another team from the Saginaw Valley, Lapeer, in a regional semifinal at Saginaw Valley State on Saturday. Heritage likely awaits the winner in the final.

Western reached the regionals semifinals last seas