By RANDY GREGORY
In a situation very similar to two years ago, the Rockford baseball team will face off with the consensus number-one team in the state as they try to advance the final few steps to another Class A title. Last time around it was a talented Portage Central team in the semifinals, this year it is a 39-2 squad from Bay City Western that presents a formidable roadblock in the quarterfinals.
“They (Bay City Western) are an excellent, well-coached team and present us with a real challenge,” said Rockford coach Ian Hearn. “They came out of a very tough district and are in the midst of a 30-game win streak. Just like Portage Central, they have several kids who are Division 1 college players including a pitcher who has signed with the University of Michigan.”
The Warriors emerged from their district with a pair of single-run triumphs over perennial state powers Midland and Bay City Central. They had a much easier go of it in regional play with an 8-0 win over Traverse City West in the opener and a 10-2 win against Grand Blanc in the finals.
“We are really looking forward to the challenge,” said Hearn. “We have played in a tournament at Bay City Western several times recently so we are familiar with some of their players. We know we have to be on top of our game to come out on top and we have been playing our best baseball of the season recently.”
Game time is scheduled for 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 11th at Theunissen Stadium on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Should the 28-9 Rams emerge triumphant, they will play the winner of the game between Detroit U-D Jesuit and Sterling Heights Stevenson on Friday, June 14th at Bailey Park in Battle Creek. If they win there, they would play the team that emerges from the other side of the bracket (Lake Orion, Birmingham Brother Rice, Howell or Temperance Bedford) at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek at 9:30 A.M. the following day.