Buchanan wins seventh straight district title

Published 7:38 pm Sunday, June 5, 2022

BUCHANAN — The goal for the Buchanan baseball team is to get back to East Lansing and compete for a Division 3 state championship.

The No. 1-ranked Bucks took the first steps toward that goal by beating Lawton 15-2 and No. 7-ranked Bridgman 6-2 in the Division 3 District championship Buchanan hosted Saturday.

Neither the Blue Devils, Bees, or the weather could stop the Bucks from winning another championship. The reward for claiming their seventh consecutive district crown is a spot in the Division 3 Regional semifinals Wednesday in Centreville against Climax-Scotts.

The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., with the winner advancing to the regional final at Adrian College Saturday.

Buchanan Coach Jim Brawley knew his team would have its work cut out for it in the opening round of the state tournament. The Bucks would have to go through three tough opponents in order to get the opportunity to move on.

“You asked about the draw and you don’t want to complain about things, but we had to beat Brandywine, and then we had to get up in the morning and play a Lawton team that won its district last year and had everyone back. And then you have to sit around. It is really tough sitting around and having to come back and play against a Bridgman team that is going to put the ball in play. You are not going to strike them out.”

Brawley was correct in his assessment of the Bees, who scored two runs early and seized the momentum.

With a light, but steady rain falling for the remainder of the championship game, the Bucks battled back, finally getting the bats going in the fifth inning when they scored five runs and took control of the contest.

Down 2-1, Buchanan drew back-to-back walks with one out by Cade Preissing and Matthew Hoover. Murphy Wegner singled to load the bases for Macoy West, who singled to score both Preissing and Hoover to give Buchanan a lead it would not relinquish.

The Bucks added a pair of insurance runs as Hunter Carrington and Connor Legault both delivered run-scoring singles.

Buchanan then turned it over to ace pitcher Hoover, who after giving up the two runs in the second inning, dominated Bridgman for the remaining five frames. Hoover ended up scattering six hits, while striking out 10 and walking just two. He did hit three batters.

“He pitched against them the first time and it was the exact same situation,” Brawley said. “I think they scored three against him the first time. They just put the ball in play and then we don’t may a play that will get us out of an inning and they score one or whatever. I thought even when they scored two, I thought they had a chance to score another one, but our left fielder did a great job getting the ball in. We didn’t lose our minds.

“We always feel like we are going to score six. We feel that no matter who is throwing, with our hitters, we are going to score six. And that kid [Jayce Warren] was very good on the mound today.”

In the semifinal against Lawton, which the Bucks defeated in the regional semifinals last year, Buchanan jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one inning and just kept rolling from there, adding three runs in the second, four runs in the third, two runs in the fourth and a run in the sixth.

The Blue Devils scored a run in the fourth and one in the fifth to account for their scoring.

Hoover was 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs to lead the Bucks, who also got three hits from Drew Glavin, Preissing and Nick Finn.

Carrington, Glavin, Hoover, Finn and Preissing all had doubles.

West picked up the victory as he worked all five innings, allowing four hits with 10 strikeouts.