Will Krushena’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled Detroit Country Day past visiting Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 4-3, in a Division 2 regional final Saturday.
Country Day (29-8) advances to face Dearborn Divine Child, a 15-0 winner over Center Line, in a quarterfinal at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Novi.
“I thought when it was hit, it was a double,” Country Day coach Steve Lepkowski said. “It just carried over the fence. It’s a special moment for us.”
Krushena (2-for-4) led off the eighth and sent a 2-1 fastball over the right-center field fence against St. Mary’s Drake Titus — who to that point had shut down Country Day out of the bullpen, striking out the top of Country Day’s order in the seventh.
“I didn’t know if we were ever going to score on him to be honest,” Lepkowski said of Titus.
Krushena’s blast gave Steve Mann the win to push his record to 6-2. Mann threw three scoreless innings in relief, striking out two and walking one.
“He’s more of a position guy and he’s filling a need because of injuries,” Lepkowski said. “He’s become our top reliever. He was put in a tough position and you can’t say enough about what he did on the mound for those three innings.”
Jeremiah Tyler started for Country Day and earned a no decision. He went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out four and walking six.
“We battled back and forth,” Lepkowski said. “(St. Mary’s coach) Matt Petry does a great job and I have a lot of respect for his program.”
Lepkowski said he’d let the team celebrate before getting back to business this week.
“I think we’ve got to get down from this high,” he said. “I think we’ve got to take tonight, enjoy it, collect ourselves and get back focused on the task at hand. At this point, you’re playing good teams. Nobody is sneaking into the quarterfinals.”
BASEBALL REGIONAL FINAL SCORES
Hartland 3, Detroit Catholic Central 1
Portage Northern 6, Howell 3
Rochester 12, Rochester Adams 9
Rockford 7, Caledonia 2
Saline 13, Temperance Bedford 7
Traverse City West 3, Bay City Western 2
U-D Jesuit 14, Detroit Western 4
Warren De La Salle 5, Grosse Pointe North 0
Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 4, Onsted 1
Dearborn Divine Child 15, Center Line 0 (3 inn.)
Detroit Country Day 4, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 3 (8 inn.)
DeWitt 12, Portland 2
Gaylord 1, Fremont 0
Holland Christian 2, Ada Forest Hills Eastern 1
Linden 4, Clio 0 (8 inn.)
Niles 12, Sturgis 1
Gladstone 7, Boyne City 2
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 2, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 1 (8 inn.)
Jackson Lumen Christi 8, Bronson 7 (8 inn.)
Mason County Central 8, Carson City-Crystal 5
Napoleon 15, Adrian Madison 5 (5 inn.)
New Lothrop 10, Bad Axe 0
Schoolcraft 7, Grand Rapids West Catholic 0
Standish-Sterling Central 10, Beaverton 0
Centreville 8, Decatur 0
Concord 6, Adrian Lenawee Christian 3
Gaylord St. Mary 15, Hillman 4
Muskegon Catholic Central 2, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 0
Norway 14, Indian River Inland Lakes 1
Portland St. Patrick 6, Bay City All Saints 5
Sterling Heights Parkway Christian 12, Novi Franklin Road Christian 3
Unionville-Sebewaing Area 6, Harbor Beach 5
Al Willman is a freelance writer