Grosse-Pointe has come-from-behind victory against Idaho
A closer look at the Grosse-Pointe, Michigan 5-4 win over Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Friday at Lamade Stadium Stadium.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Ryan Knaebel’s walk-off single — Michigan overcame a four-run deficit to win a state semifinal but this comeback was more impressive as it rallied from four down in the fifth and scored four times in the sixth inning. Knaebel delivered the hit of his life thus far when he rocketed a 3-1 pitch off the third-base bag into left field as Elliott Nederhood sprinted home with the winning run. Grosse-Pointe won the first non-consolation game in four Series appearances as teammates literally jumped for joy and swarmed Knaebel.
MICHIGAN PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ryan Knaebel – This could go to so many different players, but Knaebel’s walk-off hit clinched it. He finished 2 for 3 with a double, RBI and reached base in three of his four at-bats.
IDAHO PLAYER OF THE GAME: Christopher Reynolds – The Idaho ace dominated at the Northwest Regional and might have been even better against one of the country’s most explosive offenses. Reynolds overpowered Michigan, allowing no earned runs and two hits in 4 2/3 innings and striking out 11. Since regionals, Reynolds is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has surrendered just five hits in 15 2/3 innings and struck out 32. He owned the big stage Friday.
BIG INNING: Michigan sixth — This was a quite remarkable comeback after Idaho had dominated the first five innings. After scoring a two-out run in the fifth to make it 4-1, Michigan’s powerful offense finally awoke and produced the best moment in its illustrious league’s history. Michigan delivered five hits and the first five batters reached base to start the inning. Preston Barr ignited the rally with a lead-off double before scoring on Cameron Schafer’s single and an error. Elliott Nederhood followed with an RBI single and scored the tying run when Sharpe singled and an error was made. Knaebel capped the stirring comeback with his walk-off single.
BEST EFFORT: Michigan’s comeback – What else could it be? Some professional teams have shrunk under circumstances similar to those Michigan faced, trailing 4-0 with two outs in the fifth inning. Whatever happens moving forward, Michigan’s comeback is something its players, coaches, league and fans will never forget. In a memory-filled summer, this was its finest moment yet.
FLASHING LEATHER: Michigan shortstop Preston Barr, who threw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in relief and earned the win, robbed Cooper Smith of a first-inning RBI single. Smith hit a liner headed toward left-center field, but Hill jumped high and knocked the ball down, nearly making the catch. Hill stuck with the play, picked up the ball and made a rocket throw to first that beat Smith by a step. Michigan third baseman Jarren Purify ended the fourth inning when he stopped a hard-hit Jake Danneberg grounder down the line and combined with second baseman Cameron Schafer to turn a pretty double play. Purify continued his defensive clinic in the fifth inning when he saved two runs with the Series’ best play yet. He made a brilliant diving stop of a Chase Saunders shot that looked like it would go for a double. Purify not only made the fantastic stop but also a cannon-like throw across the field. Take that play away and Michigan might not have later celebrated a win.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “It’s huge to get that fist win under your belt and represent the state of Michigan,” Michigan manager Kurt Barr said. “Everyone is pulling for us at home and everyone is hoping that we would be able to do this this year. For all the support we’ve received, it feels really good to be able to do this for them.”
“This was a wonderful, awesome baseball game. This is a good team and we played excellent baseball against them,” Idaho manager Sean Cherry said. “From the beginning all I’ve asked this team is that they go out and play as well as I know they’re capable of playing and this was as good as these guys were of playing tonight. They played an excellent game tonight.”
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Knaebel said of the walk-off hit and reaction. “That’s what you want. You want your friends cheering.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan advances to Sunday’s winners’ bracket final and will play the Georgia-Hawaii winner. Idaho tries to keep its world title dreams alive Saturday when it plays the Georgia-Hawaii loser in an elimination game.