Chelsea stuns Indians, beats Maples for district title

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Jacob Britt hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to tie the game 9-9 for Tecumseh. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

A dramatic come from behind effort by Chelsea in district varsity baseball action closed Tecumseh’s season on Saturday, June 2, with the Bulldogs taking a 10-9 win in the semifinal to advance to the championship final against Adrian. Chelsea went on to win the district title by one run, handing Adrian a 5-4 loss to also end the Maples’ season.

It was all Tecumseh in the first frame and a half of the semifinal with Jared Powell smacking a grand-slam home run over the center field fence that gave the Indians a 7-0 lead in the second inning. But the Bulldogs began a comeback in the bottom of the inning that brought them within two runs. Tecumseh chased off the Bulldogs’ starting pitcher, Logan Marable, but his replacement, Alex Maloney, seemed to change the game’s momentum with his high intensity attitude and leadership on the mound.

Chelsea played small ball and added another run in the third inning to make it a 7-6 game and the Indians added another run in the top of the fourth inning for an 8-6 advantage.

Tecumseh’s starting pitcher, Phil Carey, gave up a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning that gave the Bulldogs a 9-8 lead.

Jacob Britt went in on relief and helped record a scoreless fifth inning and he tied the game in the sixth inning on a solo homerun shot over the right field fence.

Britt had two outs recorded in the bottom of the sixth inning when Chelsea’s Tanner Starkey hit an RBI double that drove in the game-winning run.

The Indians looked to be back in the game right off the bat in the bottom of the final inning with lead off hitter Eric Eldred getting hit by a pitch. Spencer Adams hit a single to put two men on and Brad Vannatter tried to advance the two runners with a sacrifice bunt but it was caught by the pitcher for the first out of the inning.

Nick Cowen stepped to the plate and hit a single but the Bulldogs took the force out at third base and the Indians had just one out remaining. A force out at second base followed and the Indians season was over.

“It’s tough to go out like that after the season we had,” said Tecumseh coach Tom Bullinger. “Especially after how we started the game.”

The Indians were pushing to extend their new season wins record to 30 but just couldn’t make it happen, finishing with a new school record season of 29 wins and six losses.

“We talked about the momentum,” said Bullinger. “We got it early and knew it would shift. We have to be able to play through it and did for a while but couldn’t keep the momentum. Chelsea did a great job of coming right back and getting guys on but we just didn’t play Tecumseh baseball for us to win that game.”

It was an abrupt ending to the season where fans milled about for a while as the realization that the season was over sunk in. Tears were shed by the players and coaches when the Indians gathered one final time on the old concrete steps leading down to the field and Bullinger could be overheard telling his boys how proud he was of their efforts this season and that he loved them.

“We figured we were the best team here, we talked about it, but we just didn’t get it done,” Bullinger said. “It’s a hard thing to swallow.

“I love these guys. They worked hard and I appreciated their effort all year.”

It was Bullinger’s sixth year as the Indians’ head coach.

Carey pitched 3.1 innings and gave up eight hits while walking one and striking out three. Britt gave up three hits while walking one and striking out two.

The Indians produced nine hits with Powell (4 RBI) and Vannatter (RBI) each going 2-for-5 at the plate.

Powell (catcher), Britt (outfield), Vannatter (infield) and pitchers Eldred and Carey were each named to the All-District team for Tecumseh.

Powell, Britt, Eldred, John Terry, Max Patterson and Spencer Adams were each selected for the Academic-All District team.




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