Wednesday, August 3, 2011

District 9 West Michigan Big League Baseball Gets the Southern Treatment at the Big League World Series

Easley, SC 8/3/2011

The District 9 Big League Baseball team from West Michigan has wrapped up play at the World Series in Easley, SC with a deceiving 1-3 record. With a tough draw the D-9 team started out with 4 time World Champion South Carolina District 1. The game featured many scoring chances early by both squads and very good pitching performances. Jake Ritsema (Kenowa and Aquinas college) held the Host team scoreless thru 2 and battled thruought the game. A 6-2 loss was the final result with the D-9 team stranding 9 batters and 7 in scoring position. Manager Chris Lamange pointed out that the Host team has 6 players going to play division 1 baseball in the fall. "They were a fundamentally sound team with alot of fire power" Lamange said. Game 2 featured D-9 against the 2008 World Champion from Greenville, SC who represented the Southeast region. Down 3-0 in the 3rd inning Zack Schwenneker (East Grand Raoids and Michigan State) belted a Grand Slam to give the D-9 team the lead. Chad Macherwicz (Kenowa Hills) held the SC District 7 team at bay until the 5th when they hit 3 home runs and scored 7 runs in the 5th and 6th innings. "We had chances and didn't cash in while Greenville did" Lamange said. "I think the host team may be a little stronger top to bottom but these are two very good teams". In game 3 the D-9 team defeated the West team from Hayward California 6-4. A great pitching performance by Matt Krzkywa (Catholic Central) helped keep the West at bay and then a relief performance by Austin Goodyke (Calvin Christian) closed the door. The West has won the World Series several times since 1977 so this was a big win. In the final game of pool play D-9 played the East from Cumberland, NJ. After taking a 5-0 lead early and 3 strong innings pitched by Zac Malewitz (East Grand Rapids) a few mistakes and a couple big hits and the East tied it at 5 in the 5th. Jake Ritsema came in to close and held the East scoreless until a double to left, a sacrifice and a grounder scored the winning run for the East in extra innings.Peter Cupery (Holland Christian) led the bottom of the 8th off with a single and then a pop fly that looked like a sure hit was turned in to a double play by the East after a diving catch by the 2nd baseman. "6 hits in two innings and then 2 hits in 6 innings was the story of this game" Lamange said. I feel we could have gone 3-1 just as easily as 1-3 in this World Series Lamange said. The breaks just didn't fall our way.

The real story of the World Series is the hospitality shown by the staff and mostly the host family of Chris, Alan, Taylor and Aaron Schaaf. The team landed on Monday and after checking in to the village and pictures, were treated to a home cooked meal at the Schaaf's house. During the tournament anytime someone needed anything from a bandaid to consoling Big Momma Schaaf was always there. The team went to Lake Keowee on Sunday and boated all day. The highlite was jumping off of a 35 foot high rock in to 70 foot waters. Coach Lamange's mom Betsy took the challenge and plunged in to the lake. Last night the Schaaf's had a Southern Boil at their house for the whole team. "Wow, what a great dinner Macherewicz said" The team is touring Clemson University today before attending the Finals tonight that will be televised on ESPN featuring the Southeast against Puerto Rico at 6:00 PM.

Also representing the D-9 team and not mentioned are MJ Oshinski(Catholic Central), Matt Brown(Kenowa Hills), Ryan Elble(East Grand Rapids) EJ Grochawalski(Union/GRCC), Grant VanPutten(Holland Christian), Jake Bruns(Holland Christian), Travis Kraii(Grand Rapids Christian), Kyle Corey(West Catholic) and Trent Zwiers(Calvin Christian/Calvin College). A star studded team that we are all very proud of. Tony Macherewicz and Ed Grochawalski were the other coaches.