It was a beautiful summer day at Cooley Law Stadium when the Shamrocks met the Williamston Hornets in the 57th annual Diamond Classic. The Diamond Classic is becoming rather familiar territory for the Shamrocks, while it had been a few years since Williamston had been invited to play. While bearing similar records, Williamston has a far larger student enrollment at 619, versus St. Patrick’s 102. This is nothing new for the Shamrocks however, as they regularly play larger schools in the brutal CMAC.
Excellent defensive play was evident throughout the game, with only two errors between the two teams. After three innings, it was still a scoreless game. At the top of the fourth inning, the first two batters grounded and struck out when Will Simon had a great at bat and was walked. Next up was freshmen Chase Fitzsimmons who put a ball in play and hustled hard making it a close play at first base, which lead to a fumbled catch by the first basemen which allowed Will Simon to score from second. After a quick three up and three down for Williamston, the fourth inning ended 1-0, with St. Patrick’s holding a narrow lead.
After a quick two outs, the fifth inning had some additional excitement, when Devin Fedewa earned a walk after fouling off four pitches in his at bat. He quickly stole second base, bringing Dan Mackowiak up to bat. Dan ripped a base hit to left field, scoring Devin from second base. When it was their turn, Williamston followed that with back to back doubles, scoring one run and leaving the score 2-1 Shamrocks.
It was all small ball from the Shamrocks in the sixth inning as they put another run on the Hornets. It started when Sam Mauren had a solid base hit to right center, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Will Simon which advanced Sam to second base. Chase Fitzsimmons again put the ball in play, leading to Sam Mauren making it to third base with two outs. Up next was Seth Hoppes, who earned a walk and advanced to first base. Then masterful base running from Sam and Seth came when Seth slow-stole second base, which drew the throw to second, which allowed Sam to sneak in from third base before they tagged out Seth. Putting the score at 3-1 Shamrocks.
After a quick three outs for the Shamrocks, Williamston entered the bottom of the seventh down 3-1. After a great double from the first batter, the second batter laid down a base hit bunt. The next batter was retired by the pitcher, Brandon Scheurer. Williamston then laid down a weak hit, but a bobbled ball at first base allowed one runner to score and left runners on first and third, with one out. Relief pitcher Devin Fedewa was brought in, but the first batter hit a laser beam over the left fielders head, which scored two runs and gave the Williamston Hornets a 4-3 victory.
Offensive leaders for the Shamrocks were Chase Fitzsimmons, who went two for three, with one RBI, Sam Mauren, two for three, and Dan Mackowiak who went one for three with one RBI. Brandon Scheurer pitched 6.1 innings, gave up three earned runs, and had eight strikeouts.
Coach Bryan Scheurer had a bittersweet smile on his face when interviewed after the game. “I couldn’t be more proud of our effort and grit tonight. Baseball is about little things leading to big things, and tonight was had a few little things not go our way”. After being asked about the upcoming state playoffs and the prospects he added, “We wouldn’t be human if this one didn’t hurt, but we are going to take this as a positive going forward. Williamston is a very fine baseball club, and we saw their best tonight.” After an incredibly strong regular season schedule, hopefully the Shamrocks will have grown enough as a team to continue playing at an elite level and have some success in the state tournament.