East Lansing — Clarkston’s bid to reach the state baseball finals for the second time in history came up short Thursday.
Bay City Western, the defending champions, received solid pitching from Scott Badour and clutch hitting from Jason Clark and Tyler Snover to defeat Clarkston, 6-1, in the Division 1 semifinals.
Western (37-7) will attempt to become the first team to win back-to-back Division 1/Class A titles Saturday when it plays Grosse Pointe South (27-17).
Clark had a two-out, run-scoring single to highlight a two-run second, and Snover had an RBI single with two outs to key a two-run third inning.
Western led 5-0 before Clarkston scored in the fifth on Nathan Witt’s RBI double. But a fine play by first baseman Justin Gorr ended any hopes for a Clarkston rally. With runners on the corners Alex Peck hit a pop-up just beyond the first-base dugout and Gorr reach over the railing, hitting it with his right hip before making the catch.
Badour, who threw 84 pitches, went the distance and allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two.
“It’s insane,” Badour said. “It’s almost more rewarding than last year because of everybody doubted us. We lost 10 seniors. We’ve had to scrap for runs. Pitching and defense has carried us.”
Clarkston (21-13) never came through with a big hit despite having at least one runner on in each inning except the seventh.
“They made some great catches,” Clarkston coach Phil Price said. “If those fall, who knows? But give them credit. They made the plays. We didn’t execute. We never got a break and we never made a break.”
Nathan Witt (Michigan State) pitched well nearly every time, but never seemed to get comfortable against Western. He gave up nine hits, a walk and hit three batters in 51⁄3 innings.
“He was a little nervous,” Price said. “He’s a high school kid. He put too much pressure on himself.”
Witt also didn’t receive any help offensively, although Badour had much to do with that.
“He wasn’t overpowering,” Western coach Tim McDonald said. “He set the tone. He’s totally composed out there.”
Grosse Pointe South 6, Battle Creek Lakeview 4
Bay City Western 6, Clarkston 1
Final: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Richmond 2, DeWitt 1
Mount Pleasant 7, Richland Gull Lake 1
Final: 9 a.m. Saturday
Decatur vs. Gladstone, 2:30 p.m.
University Liggett vs. Reese, 5 p.m.
Final: 5 p.m. Saturday
Beal City vs. Kalamazoo Christian, 9 a.m.
New Lothrop vs. Maple City Glen Lake, 11:30 a.m.
Final: 2:30 p.m. Saturday