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Multiple Teams · Baseball Advances to regionals


Livingston Daily

HARTLAND — With John Baker and Nathan Lohmeier on hand to pitch back-to-back games in districts Saturday, the Hartland baseball team was feeling pretty good about beginning its title defense against both Lakeland and Milford.

The reigning Division 1 state champions threw Baker, a Bowling Green commit and the hero of last year’s state finals, against Lakeland, and the result was a dominant 11-1 victory to reach the district finals. Lohmeier went against Milford and led the Eagles to a 15-5 triumph.

“I thought we played a complete game in both games,” said Hartland coach Brian Morrison, also commending the Eagles for the job they did at the plate to score 26 runs on the day. “I thought we hit real well and … I thought we pitched well.

“John was outstanding and Nathan was real good at times, and when he wasn’t, he was quickly able to correct it.”

Baker went seven dominant innings against Lakeland, striking out 12 and giving up just four hits. The one run that Lakeland scratched across the plate was unearned. He allowed the Hartland offense time to get going, as the score was only at 1-0 through three innings thanks to Baker’s own RBI double in the first inning to score Jack Slavin.

Hartland would scratch two across in the fourth and fifth innings to make it 5-1. In the sixth, the Eagles busted the game open by scoring five runs. Alex Vydick had the biggest hit of the inning with a two-run double to make the score 10-1.

“Vydick was outstanding all day,” Morrison said.

Against Milford, the offense got things going early with Baker again driving in the game’s first run, scoring Vydick, who led the game off with a double and advanced to second on Slavin’s sacrifice bunt.

The score stood at 5-0 before Milford could get to Lohmeier in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Milford hadn’t had a hit in the game until the fourth, when it plated two. Those runs would hardly matter, however, as the Eagles put together 10 more runs over the course of the next three innings to support their pitcher.

Hartland moves on to face Livonia Stevenson next Saturday at Novi.

“We just gotta keep doing what we’re doing,” Morrison said. “The potential is there. I think we’ve kept getting better and better, and we’ve played in some good games and played different teams. All that helps you get ready for tournament play.

“But baseball is weird, you gotta play good on that day.”

Like Hartland, Howell certainly played good on Saturday.

The Highlanders joined Hartland and Fowlerville as district champions with a 7-0 win against Ann Arbor Skyline and then a 8-4 win over Dexter to clinch their fifth consecutive district title.

“We love winning that district,” Howell co-coach Mike Weatherly said. “It’s not easy to do.”

Howell made it look easy against Skyline, however, with Sam Weatherly and Bailey Burton holding Skyline to two hits over seven innings. Sam Weatherly pitched four innings and gave up a hit with four strikeouts while Burton went three innings to close it out.

Spencer Ford started in the championship game with Sam Weatherly in relief to wrap it up.

“I was really happy,” Mike Weatherly said. “It’s a tough, tough district, and we did a good job of jumping on top of Skyline and put them in a tough position right away. That’s what we were trying to do. We got five (runs) in the first inning and got great pitching from Sam and Bailey.

“Second game, Dexter, we had played them early in the season and split with them (in a doubleheader). We knew we had our hands full.”

Dexter actually led for most of the game, first taking a 1-0 lead and then going up 3-2 after Howell temporarily pulled ahead thanks to a two-run home run from Caleb Balgaard that Mike Weatherly said “kind of jumpstarted us.”

Howell took the lead for good on Bryan Rendell’s bases-loaded, bases-clearing double.

“It was just a gratifying win against a great club,” Mike Weatherly said.

Howell moves on to face Holt in the regional semifinals on Saturday, the same team that made up a two-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Highlanders last season in the regional finals and ended up knocking them off.