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Wolves take sting out of Avondale Yellow Jackets

The Clarkston Boys Varsity Baseball team gathers around their second consecutive MHSAA District trophy. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
June 08, 2011 - Wolves' fans watching the softball game at the top of the hill turned their heads just in time to see junior Matt Rodgers hit Avondale's pitch in the bottom of the first inning.

After the connection, the ball soared through the air to the left side of the field. As Avondale defenders in the outfield watched for a possibility of a catch - the ball went over the fence to the north side of Flemings Lake Road.

The home run brought in two runs for the Wolves, tying the score 2-2 in the MHSAA District Finals.

The boys ended the game with a win, 12-9 over the Yellow Jackets and won their second consecutive district title.

"The bottom line is our kids competed," said Clarkston Boys Varsity Baseball Head Coach Phil Price. "Matt was a helluva player today. He started the game. Avondale hit a two-run homer and Matt answered and went 'we are here to play, we aren't going to roll over.' It really set the tone of the game."

Rodgers hit built the momentum for the game as the boys headed into the bottom of the second inning one point behind, 3-2.

Jacob Forsten hit a double during the inning to bring in the first of the runs. The next run came from Jake Sims as the senior was walked with the bases loaded for 4-3.

Avondale took a brief time out to switch their pitchers but the trade went against them as Jassiel Gonzalez hit a single and brought in a run.

Dylan Peck was the next to score and hit a two run double to bring the score 7-3. One more single, this time from Jared Sperry, put the boys 8-3 to close the second inning.

The Wolves went for three more points in the bottom of the third winning with a run off Chase Toth's single and runs from Rodger's and Peck's walk.

Avondale caught up in the next winning and kept the Wolves to 11 points through the next two innings.

Both teams switched up pitchers quite a few times, Andrew Fairse began the game for Clarkston and Vince Siwicki, Forsten and Rodgers came in later in the game.

"You have to give credit to Andrew," said Price. "He closed out the first game and then came back, opened the second game and pitched his heart out. Vince did a great job. He came in and gives us a few quality innings then Jake came in and shut them down and Matt closed the game."

Gonzalez brought in the last run in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the score, 12-9.

The Yellow Jackets were sent back to the dugout to pack up their belonging after Rodgers was brought in for the seventh inning and threw the last three outs.

The boys began the district playoffs against Waterford Mott, beating them in 10 innings, 7-6.

"The first game we didn't compete the first couple of innings," said Price. "They battled, they scraped and got back in there."

The boys were behind 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Rodgers hit a single to bring in a run.

Peck tied the game hitting the ball to the right field for a two run double as the boys celebrated tying the score in the dugout with dancing.

"It really gave us a huge lift," said Price about the hit.

Mott responded with a run at the top of the seventh inning and the boys tied the score again with a run off a single from Nicholas Mazzone.

The game went into three extra innings until Peck's single hit went to left field. As the ball kept going Toth ran home to end the game, 7-6.

"We have a great bunch of kids on this team and it is a pleasure to keep on playing," said Price. "The seniors, I think they ended last season not quite satisfied. They want a chance to go out with their best game win or loss. They want to play to their ability."

The boys head to Oxford High School on Saturday for MHSAA Regional playoffs. Clarkston plays Utica Eisenhower at 11 a.m. Romeo and Hartland head against each other at 12:30 p.m.

"It is going to be a nice week because will will be able to practice," said Price. "We haven't had time to practice this year, do some quality things and work on some things. I really look forward to that."

The finals for Regionals begin at 2 p.m.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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