Muskegon Catholic Central win Division 4 regional championship, but season ends with 11-6 quarter-final loss to Beal City


By Greg Gielczyk

MIDLAND— Trailing Beal City’s best finish 5-0 after three sets, Catholic Central rallied to level the game 5-5 in the fourth set.

But the Crusaders only scored once more and ended up losing to the Aggies, 11-6 in the MHSAA Division 4 quarterfinals to see their season end.

The Crusaders scored two runs in the fourth on three hits from Braden Gustin, Dewey Modaff and Sam Convertini.

In the fifth, the Crusaders went through three runs. Bryan Convertini scored a brace, followed by another hit from Modaff and another from Croix Klint.

Catholic Central actually had runners at second and third with two out in the fifth inning, but the Aggies second baseman got a one-line dive off the middle hit by Vince Szymanski.

Beal City responded with a top four run in the sixth, however, to take a 9-5 lead. The Aggies added two runs in the top of the seventh.

Crusaders head coach Steve Schuitema said the Aggies starting pitcher was hitting 90 miles per hour according to the radar gun displaying the numbers on the scoreboard.

But, the Crusaders knocked him out in the fifth inning.

“I was really proud of the kids for staying there and taking their hacks,” Schuitema said.

Sam Convertini took the loss on the mound.

Leading hitters for the Crusaders included Bryan Convertini with one hit and two RBIs, Modaff with two hits and one RBI, and Klint had one hit and two RBIs.

“I couldn’t have asked our team to play better,” said Schuitema. “It was a long day, it was hot, the kids were tired of playing great times and just

really never took a step back.

“We just kept fighting. I’m just very proud of this team. They were up 5-0 after three, and I was like, ‘Well, let’s stick around and keep this close, and see what happens.’

“Damn if they haven’t started tagging this kid a bit.” They weren’t used to him. He had a ridiculously low ERA (average run earned). He is a second year student. He’s going to be a real talent.

The Crusaders captured the regional championship with a wild 15-12 victory over a very good Dansville team whose starting pitcher is heading for Thomas Aquinas.

But he struggled with his control, and the Crusaders were able to catch him soon enough, scoring seven runs in the first inning to take an early lead.

It only lasted half an inning, as Dansville came back and scored seven runs in the second to even things up, 7-7.

Dansville took the lead, 10-7 in the third.

The Crusaders responded with three runs in the fourth inning to tie it again, 10-10.

Not so fast. Dansville rallied for a pair of runs to retake the lead, 12-10 in the sixth set.

This would be the last time Dansville would hold the service.

Catholic Central rallied for five runs late in the sixth and held on for the win.

“It was a very tight strike zone, and there were steps in both directions,” Schuitema said. “It was difficult for both teams.”

Owen Lyonnais took the victory in relief after coming out of the bullpen in the third and pitching 4 2/3 innings. He allowed just two runs on three hits. Modaff started the match.

Vince Szymanski had three hits, three RBIs and scored three runs for the Crusaders. Modaff had two hits and Sam Convertini had one hit and three RBIs.

“We had some really great plays made by Bryan Convertini all day,” Schuitema added. “He played on the right and central field. He was just fantastic.


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