Detroit — Nine straight division titles.
Detroit Western International used a pair of four-run innings to thwart Detroit Renaissance, 8-6, on Monday for the Public School League Mega Division title at Wayne State’s Harwell Field.
Logan Foster’s suicide squeeze tied the game, Aaron Betancourt had a two-run triple and coach Juan Carlos Sanchez held a championship plaque for the ninth straight season.
“It never gets old, I tell ya that,” said Sanchez, whose Western (10-1-1) team has won 10 of the past 12 city titles. “Winning doesn’t get old.”
Western reliever Ryan Carver struck out four batters in 21/3 innings to earn the win and Christian Gutierrez’s two-RBI single in the fifth cushioned the victory.
William English (double) and Enrique Sawicki had an RBI apiece for Western, whose loss to Renaissance earlier in the year erased a seven-year unbeaten streak in PSL games.
“The boys were hungry,” Sanchez said.
Renaissance (8-3) jumped ahead twice with clutch two-out hits. Jamal Abdul Jr. belted a two-run double in the third, and Caleb Nelson’s RBI single and alert baserunning gave Renaissance a 5-4 lead in the fourth.
Joe Smith went 3-for-4 for Renaissance, which placed two runners on base with no outs in the seventh but committed a baserunning blunder to quash its chances of tying the game.
“We had our chances early,” said Renaissance manager Leon McKissic, whose team led 3-0 in the third. “Two years ago, we probably would have laid over and crumbled. But they just kept fighting.”
So did Western, which trailed by a run in the fifth inning when Foster, the team’s best bunter, stepped into the box. Sawicki stood on third base and Sanchez called the suicide squeeze.
It tied the game 5-5 — and it led to a four-run inning.
“I couldn’t ask for a better situation for him,” said Sanchez, whose team scored the go-ahead run in the fifth when Betancourt scored on a passed ball. “It was perfect timing.”
Osborn 18, Henry Ford 4 (3 inn.): A 10-run first inning helped Osborn win its first city title in 27 years.
Osborn’s East-West Division title was aided by its all-city players: Pitcher Juwan Thomas struck out six and drove in three runs, Teionta Waters went 3-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs, and Anton Brown had four RBIs.
“We’ve been knocking on the door for the past three to four years,” Osborn manager Keith Powe said. “We finally got over the hurdle.”
Michael Tobais (2-for-3) hit a solo homer and Curtis Chatfield went 3-for-3 for Osborn (9-0).
Birmingham Groves 13-5, Birmingham Seaholm 2-1: In Game 1, Max Novik threw a four-hitter, striking out six and walking two for Groves (22-7, 10-3 OAA White). He was also 3-for-3 with three RBIs. John Kowalchuk was 2-for-2 with a double and a home run. In Game 2, Andrew Martin threw a complete game, allowing one run on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walks. Chaise Ford was 2-for-3 with three RBIs for Groves.
Detroit Country Day 17, Southfield Christian 8: Jon Campbell went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs, Ben Yared was 2-for-2 with two doubles and Alec Jbara was 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Country Day (19-5).
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 12, Detroit King 2 (6 inn.): Connor McCarron was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Will Morrison (3-run) and Billy Kopicki were each 2-for-3 with a home run for Liggett (22-1).
Melvindale ABT 10, River Rouge 1: Zjai Smith was 3-for-4 and drove in two runs, and Rene Juarez struck out 11 while yielding no hits and one unearned run for ABT (19-4, 14-0 MMAC). Juarez was 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs. Ralph Gaston had seven strikeouts in relief for River Rouge.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 3, Royal Oak Shrine 2: Matt Pezolt threw a complete game, giving up two unearned runs on four hits while striking out 10 and walking four for Notre Dame (10-15). Brian Blakeslee, Andrew Carpenter, Will Gurzik and Tom Cavannaugh were each 2-for-3. Andrew Jaeger tossed a complete game for Shrine (20-8-1), allowing three runs on 11 hits while striking out two and walking three.
Sterling Heights Stevenson 14, Grosse Pointe South 3 (5 inn.): Luke McGuire allowed three runs on five hits, striking out eight as Stevenson (18-6, 10-3 MAC Red) wrapped up its seventh consecutive MAC Red title. Mario Camilletti, Frank D’Ascenzo and Todd Taperd each had three hits. South is 17-9, 6-7.
Clawson 11, East Detroit 8: Ariana Inez and Aly Orville each had two hits and two RBIs for Clawson (8-12, 5-7 MAC Silver).
Madison Heights Lamphere 12, Royal Oak 2 (5 inn.): Leeanna Radick hit a three-run home run and drove in five runs for Lamphere (8-7). She also threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts. Alexis Wark had two doubles and three RBIs. Royal Oak is 7-8.
Bruce Mason is a freelance writer; freelance writer Al Willman contributed.