East Lansing — Tulane-bound left-hander Justin Campbell took the mound Saturday afternoon at Kobs Field, trying to lead Madison Heights Bishop Foley to the Division 3 state championship.
Campbell, a 6-foot-4 senior, allowed the first three batters to reach safely on singles before getting out of a jam and then settled down to help Bishop Foley (25-12) earn a 3-0 victory over top-ranked Traverse City St. Francis (38-4).
The state title was Bishop Foley's first since the school won three straight D3 championships from 2011-13. St. Francis last won a state title (Class D) in 1990.
And, Campbell had a lot of help from his teammates to get the job done.
In fact, Bishop Foley left-fielder Evan Ludwick picked up Connor Sweet’s line single and fired the ball to third baseman Alex Dixon to retire Gabe Callery who started the game with a single.
After Nathan Schmuckal singled, Campbell struck out Danny Passinault for the second out and got out of trouble when Cooper Peterson lined out to right.
“I started off pretty rough, had to fix some things,” said Campbell, who improved to 13-1 with a 0.70 ERA. “I had to change my arm slot a little bit to get more movement on my ball because it was too flat and had to throw my curveball a little harder because I wasn’t getting enough drop. They started hitting it and I recognized I couldn’t do that and had to make an adjustment and I did. And, near the end of the game fatigue caught up to me a little bit, but you have to battle through that, I mean this is the state championship game.
“I’ve never been in something like this, it’s unreal. I really don’t know how to describe this. I’ve been in big games before, but this is something else.”
Peterson’s twin brother, junior left-hander Casey Peterson matched Campbell pitch for pitch.
Peterson was coming off a combined no-hitter with Joe Muzljakovich in a 3-0 quarterfinal win over Grand Rapids West Catholic Tuesday, striking out nine in 6⅓ innings before giving way to the pitch count.
Peterson got out of trouble in the opening inning when he got Chase Gearing to fly out to center with the bases loaded.
But, Peterson couldn’t escape trouble in the bottom of the fifth of a scoreless game.
With two runners on and two out, Bishop Foley junior catcher Mason Minzey hit a liner to center and the center fielder came in only to watch the ball go over his head for a two-run triple. Campbell followed with an RBI single to help his own cause to open up a 3-0 cushion.
“I saw that pitch right down the plate, fastball and ripped it and felt no way that ball was hit that shallow,” said Minzey, knowing the center fielder broke in. “I felt I put a good swing on it and drove it out there. When the ball went over his head, it was like that’s a triple all day, exactly what we needed, a two-out hit.”
“Mason’s a great player and he’s going to Texas Tech for a reason,” said Bishop Foley second-year coach Greg Fettes of Minzey, who entered the game with a .330 average. “He’s got some pop off the bat and that ball carried. The center fielder, before he knew it tried to hit the brakes and fell down. I felt one mistake was going to win this game and it did.”
Minzey had high praise for Campbell.
“That guy's electric,” Minzey said. “He’s the best pitcher I’ve ever caught. His cutter really worked well today and everyone was swinging at his curveball. He didn’t throw his fastball as much, but he pounded the zone and did what he had to do.”
Peterson suffered the loss, his second of the season. He had allowed just one earned run this season prior to the title game.
Stevensville Lakeshore 1, Bay City John Glenn 0: Max Gaishin made quick work in leading Stevensville Lakeshore to the Division 2 state championship at Kobs Field, tossing a six-hit shutout in a title game that lasted just one hour, 15 minutes. Gaishin struck out five without allowing a walk, throwing 103 pitches.
Well, Alex Dingee was equally impressive, if not better for John Glenn, giving up the run on just two hits while striking out two without allowing a walk. He threw just 56 pitches in six innings.
Dingee’s lone mistake was a one-out triple to Sean Branch who scored on Ryan Remus’ sacrifice fly in the third which was the difference, handing Lakeshore (36-6) its first state championship since the 1990 Class B title.
Matt Fisher had two hits for John Glenn (34-9).
Portland St. Patrick 6, Hudson 2: Dan Mackowiak went 4-for-4 with an RBI as undefeated Portland St. Patrick (29-0-1) lifted the Division 4 championship trophy. Brendan Schrauben had two hits, including a triple, and Brandon Scheurer also had two hits and drove in a run for St. Patrick, which scored three runs in the first inning. Devin Fedewa gave up two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking five to pick the win. Isaac Davis collected two hits for Hudson (27-17).