After both dominating their way to regional titles on Saturday, Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Riverview Gabriel Richard went head to head in the Division 3 state quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The Pioneers held the powerful Ventures’ offense to only one run through the first three innings at Carleton Airport.
However, Foley exploded for four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth en route to an 8-0 victory.
Next up for the Ventures (23-12-1) is a battle with Caro on Friday morning in the state semifinals at Michigan State University.
To advance to the quarterfinals, Foley overpowered Almont 11-0 for the regional title on Saturday. Richard (20-8) crushed Dundee 18-5 to earn its regional crown.
Justin Campbell started on the mound for the Ventures and went the distance. He struck out five batters, walked only one and allowed just five hits. At the plate he was 1-for-3 with an RBI and reached on an error.
“You get the same guy every single time you come out, said Ventures coach Greg Fettes of Campbell. “He’s a competitor, he’s going to battle for you… the kid’s a player.”
Also for Foley, Evan Finegan finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Mason Minzey was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.
Foley got on the board in the bottom of the first thanks to a Chase Gearing single that knocked in Max Stevenson and gave the squad a 1-0 lead.
Stevenson had reached with a single and stole second, which was one of nine Foley steals on Tuesday.
With the bases still loaded, Richard starting pitcher Matthew Silka got out of the inning with a line drive caught on the infield.
In the bottom of the third Silka struck out the Ventures’ Alex Dixon with two outs and the bases loaded.
To load the bases that inning, Finegan singled, Gearing was hit by a pitch and Santos Guzman walked.
Richard filled the bases in the top of the fourth after Zach Swain singled and both Haydon Burke and Josh Tufts reached on errors.
With two outs, Campbell got Shawn Szpaichler to swing and miss at a 2-2 pitch and ended the threat.
Foley’s Payton Schuster kicked off the four-run fourth inning with a one-out single and Stevenson walked.
Minzey drove in Schuster with a single to put the Ventures up 2-0. Minzey moved to second on the throw home and Stevenson made it to third.
Next up was Campbell, who hit a rocket back at the mound that hit Silka’s leg and went into the outfield. Stevenson easily scored from third and gave Foley a 3-0 advantage.
Yet another hard hit ball came back up the middle, this time off the bat of Finegan, and it allowed courtesy runners Benji Alderson and Jonathan Hubanks to cross the plate and gave Foley a commanding 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Evan Ludwick reached with a one-out single and then stole both second and third. Schuster drove him in with a double and gave the Ventures a six-run lead. A bad throw into the infield allowed Schuster to advance to third.
After a walk to Stevenson, a sacrifice fly from Minzey scored Schuster and made it a 7-0 game.
Stevenson stole second and third and came home after an error on a hard liner hit by Finegan.
Swain and Jac Lemieux singled for Richard in the sixth and Tufts was hit by a pitch, but the Pioneers were unable to push a run across and ultimately went on to the 8-0 defeat.
“I’m definitely proud the season we had,” said Pioneers coach Mike Magier. “I wish we had a better outcome today, obviously. They had their ace back and we threw three sophomores today.
“It’s good for the program, moving forward, I think it will help them get better for postseason play in the years to come.”
Richard’s Jacob Hanoian and Zach Loewengruber also had hits in Tuesday’s game.
On the mound, Silka pitched 3.1 innings, while Burke and Frank Klamerus combined for the other 2.2 innings.
The Ventures’ semifinal game with Caro is set for 9 a.m. on Friday at MSU. The winner will play either Stevensville Lakeshore or Chelsea for the championship the following day at 11:30 a.m., back at MSU.