Pontiac — Notre Dame Prep coach Jason Gendreau was proud of the way his team bounced back from its lone loss of the season Wednesday afternoon, defeating Detroit Western 5-2 to improve to 17-1.
“This was a big game for us because it’s a day after the first loss,” said Gendreau, noting Notre Dame Prep — ranked No. 6 in Division 2 — had lost 2-0 to Auburn Hills Avondale on Tuesday. “You’re going against someone I respect as a very good opponent. They threw a very good pitcher (Malik Abdul) at us today, and so a larger school (Western), coming off of a loss, the little school (Notre Dame Prep) has to defend its home territory.
“I felt like we did just enough early on to stay in it, and then a few breaks happened, not only with their play, but also we hit the ball.”
Notre Dame Prep came back from an early 2-0 deficit, pulling even with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, then scoring three more in the fifth to more than double its win total (8-22) from a season ago.
Detroit Western right-hander Malik Abdul no-hit Notre Dame Prep through the first three innings before Wade Bonnici and River Shea had back-to-back singles to open the fourth. They moved up to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Tommy Cavanaugh who reached safely on an error. Bonnici and Shea scored later in the inning.
Abdul, who throws in the high 80s for Western (10-6), was knocked out of the game the following inning when Jack Krausmann and Ryan Knutson had consecutive singles to start the fifth.
Then, Michael Porter greeted reliever junior Christian Gutierrez with an RBI single and Knutson scored on a sacrifice fly by Bonnici for a 4-2 cushion.
Shea, a junior right-hander, improved to 6-0 (1.65 ERA), giving up runs in the first and second innings. He helped his own cause with an RBI double in the pivotal three-run fifth.
Shea received excellent defensive support, including a great diving stop by third baseman Jack Crowe to take a would-be RBI extra-base hit off the bat of Tennessee-bound William English to end the second.
“I just had to buckle down and just keep going after them the rest of the game after the first couple of innings,” said Shea who was taken out after giving up a lead-off walk in the seventh, scattering four hits and one walk.
“I feel like I have a lot more command of the zone right now. I’m not giving up any free passes. I’m making them put the ball in play and my defense has helped me out a lot.”
Left fielder Josh Fischer’s over-the-shoulder grab in deep left in the top of the fifth in a tie game robbed English of yet another extra-base hit.
“It was hit to my left initially and then with the wind today it was slicing to my right and I just planted my foot, threw my glove up and it happened to go in,” explained Fischer.
Left-hander Jacob Genord came in to retire the three batters he faced to improve to 6-0 with a save.
Detroit Country Day (12-2) is out to a hot start this season. With a loaded lineup featuring multiple Division 1 commits, Country Day is one of the top teams in the state.
With the weather finally breaking, head coach Steve Lepkowski’s team can finally get more games in during the week. Wednesday was a great day for baseball and a great day to throw a no-hitter. Junior Aaron Dolney (Nebraska commit) threw six innings of no-hit baseball against Royal Oak, striking out eight and walking two.
“Dolney had great command of his off-speed today,” Lepkowski said.
“After the first inning he got into a grove and went out there and dominated.”
As the game went on, Country Day started to notice what was at stake for Dolney. “In the fourth inning the boys started to pick the intensity level up and they made the plays for Dolney,” Lepkowski said.
Royal Oak had no answer for Dolney. The pitcher was on his “A” game.
Country Day was able to give Dolney some run support. Dolney helped his own cause, going 2-for-4.
Freshman Saborn Campbell went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs and junior John Campbell Jr. (Boston College commit) went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
After the first inning, Country Day took command of the game.
“We scored four runs in the first inning and when Dolney took the mound we were able to back him up,” Lepkowski said.
Lepkowski said he likes the way his team is playing.
“This was a good team win for us, we’re starting to come together more and more and the chemistry is really good,” he said.
Country Day will look to improve its record on Saturday, traveling to Auburn Hills Avondale for a doubleheader.
Detroit Osborn 15, Detroit Southeastern 0: Isaiah Watts threw a no hitter, striking out six, Jayson Maryland went 3-for-3 and Teiontae Waters went 1-for-2 with a triple for Osborn (6-0, 5-0 PSL East 2).
Grosse Pointe South 7, Utica Eisenhower 3: Cam Shook was the winning pitcher, going six innings, striking out six with one walk and going 3-for-3 with a RBI, and Steve Cavera had two hits for South (12-5, 4-4 MAC Red). Eisenhower is 8-7, 3-5.
Rochester 4, Clarkston 2: Noah Stout was 2-for-2 with two home runs and Nick Stepke had two hits, scored a run and pitched six innings to pick up the win for Rochester (14-5). Clarkston is 7-4.
Freelance writer Kevin Moore contributed.