By Kayleigh Rahn
Memorial Day 2018 was a memory maker for the Tuscola Community High School baseball team.
As they have all season, the Warriors (37-3) have proven that they are among the best ball teams in the state as they earned a super sectional title and a shot at the state championship.
It took several innings to find their stride, but the Warriors had just enough time to put away Pleasant Plains with a 2-1 win Monday, May 28 in Springfield.
Senior hurler Noah Pierce collected the win for the Warriors, and he had squad behind him that proved defense wins games.
After a scoreless first, Pleasant Plains was the first on the board with a run-one second inning. The Warriors sat down in order in the bottom of the second before a fluke third inning with two rare base running errors by the Warriors allowed the Cardinals to keep the lead.
“We made a couple of base running mistakes tonight, which is very uncharacteristic,” the coach said. “It isn’t uncommon for me to get a guy thrown out being aggressive, but it is odd when one of our players makes a mental mistake on the base paths. We work hard on base running as a very important part of what we do.”
The sound defense Tuscola is has become known for kept Pleasant Plains at 1 as shortstop Dalton Hoel made a sliding stop to keep the ball in the infield.
“We put a strong emphasis on defense from the first day of practice,” Coach Duff Hoel said following the win. “Pitching and defense wins championships. Our infield is very experienced and the expectations for each of them are very high. They understand and welcome those expectations and have worked very hard to be quality defenders.”
Later Warrior left fielder Cale Sementi snagged a fly at the left field foul pole in the top of the fifth.
“Our outfield is ever changing lately,” Hoel said. “First, Will Little went down early in the year with an injury. Now Haden Cothron is out with an injury, so our outfield corps is very thin, especially if Noah is on the mound and can’t play right field. We’ve asked Sementi, Lucas Kresin, and Cameron Ochs to perhaps play out of position a bit and become good outfielders. They have all responded well and worked very hard to learn to read the ball in the outfield.”
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, May 30 edition of The Tuscola Journal.