Detroit — Cam Shook made sure Grosse Pointe South got its revenge on Macomb Area Conference Red Division champion Macomb Dakota, pitching his team to a 9-1 Division 1 state quarterfinal win Tuesday afternoon at Wayne State University.
Shook made his first start in more than a month and limited Dakota to one run on eight hits in six innings. He pitched out of trouble in the opening inning then again in the fourth and fifth to put South (29-12) into Thursday’s 2:30 p.m. state semifinal at Michigan State University against Midland.
Dakota (29-9) had won two of the three previous games between the teams during the season, but it had not run into Shook until Tuesday.
And Shook was emotional, looking into his dugout on numerous occasions with a big smile on his face, including the top of the first when he struck out Dakota's Brendan Miesch and Eero Perkola with runners on the corners to end the threat.
“This team has been through a lot and I know that they have my back so I relied on them a lot,” said Shook (7-2, 1.98 ERA), who will play football at Navy as a kicker. “(I looked at them) just to fire them up. That’s what really gets them going, seeing one of their team captains look at them to really prove to them that I mean business. That’s what gets them fired up and that’s why I do it.
“Hats off to Dakota, great team. We lost two games earlier to them in our division and it just proves don’t underestimate us. Unfortunately, in the first game we played against them I dislocated my knee in an at-bat and was out for four weeks. Obviously, they’re a great team, but it’s playoff time and we came to play today.”
So, what worked for Shook?
“Locating outside fastballs, that’s what really worked,” said Shook, whose fastball closes in on 85 mph.
South used the momentum from Shook working out of the jam in the opening inning by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first highlighted by an RBI single by Andrew MacCagnone off Dakota left-handed pitcher Jesse Gelardi and Cameron Mallegg’s two-run double to center.
South would take advantage of a pair of errors to score a run in the third, then two more in the fourth thanks to Davis Graham’s two-run, inside-the-park homer to open up a 6-1 cushion.
Graham, who will play baseball next year at Wayne State, was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored three times to lead South’s 11-hit attack. He also did a strong job behind the plate, catching a foul tip on Perkola’s strikeout to end the first.
“It was huge,” Graham said of Shook pitching his way out of the first-inning jam. “We really weren’t sure how his fastball would be today, but he really turned it on with those hitters and I knew then it would be a good day for him. He was hitting that outside corner every time, really was hitting his spots really well.”
And on his ability to catch the foul tip?
“A lot of those are mostly luck," Graham said. "You just set up and hopefully it goes in the mitt because it’s hard to react to those."
Graham hits .390 but isn’t used to running all out around the bases after connecting on a line drive.
“I hit third and I was pretty gassed, said ‘Oh shoot,’ when he (third base coach) waved me in,” Graham said. “It was the most I ran all year, but it was fun. I knew (the center fielder) was going to dive, didn’t know how far it would roll behind him, but I guess it went pretty far because I was able to go around and score.”
Joe Naporano, Jacob Hinkle and Mallegg joined Graham with two hits apiece. Naporano singled and scored in the first from the leadoff spot, and tripled and scored in the sixth when South batted around and scored three times. Hinkle had two singles from the No. 2 spot.
Gelardi finished 4-for-4, all singles, for Dakota.
Brother Rice breaks through
Birmingham Brother Rice 9, Northville 2: Brother Rice battled back from a 2-0 deficit and scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning at Wayne State to move one step closer to its first state championship since 2008.
Junior Tito Flores was the hero for Brother Rice, racking up five RBIs during the pivotal sixth with a three-run triple and a two-run double to highlight the comeback.
Brother Rice will face Woodhaven (33-5) in a Division 1 semifinal at 5 p.m. Thursday at Michigan State. Northville advanced to the state title game last season and lost to Saline.
Junior Tyler Sarkisian started and worked the first five innings for Brother Rice, with senior Jack Brockhaus coming in relief to earn the win.
Woodhaven junior left-hander Colin Czajkowski, a Michigan commit, tossed a 1-0 shutout over Grand Ledge in the quarterfinal at Chelsea and junior Kyle Ray was the hero in the walk-off win, driving a single with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Tuesday's quarterfinals results
■ Grosse Pointe South 9, Macomb Dakota 1
■ Midland 4, Holland West Ottawa 1
■ Woodhaven 1, Grand Ledge 0
■ Birmingham Brother Rice 9, Northville 2
■ Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 17, Livonia Clarenceville 2 (4 inn.)
■ Stevensville Lakeshore 4, Grand Rapids West Catholic 3
■ Saginaw Swan Valley 2, Muskegon Oakridge 0
■ DeWitt 4, Tecumseh 0
■ Gladstone 3, Standish-Sterling Central 2
■ Madison Heights Bishop Foley 8, New Lothrop 1
■ Riverview Gabriel Richard 10, Michigan Center 2
■ Schoolcraft 10, Montague 1
■ Gaylord St. Mary 10, Indian River Inland Lakes 1
■ Beal City 9, Muskegon Catholic Central 2
■ Unionville-Sebewaing 11, Plymouth Christian 2
■ St. Joseph Lake Michigan 4, Petersburg-Summerfield 3