April 17, 2014By Bob St. John
Grosse Pointe North has had its share of tough losses in recent years to arch rival Grosse Pointe South, including several in the state playoffs.
However, the Norsemen might have turned the corner and earned the upper hand when they swept the Blue Devils in a doubleheader last weekend, winning 5-4 and 6-1.
"We played outstanding defense and didn't commit an error in either game," North head coach Frank Sumbera said. "We had some nice performances today and earned two nice wins."
In the opener, Jacob Zacharias was the winning pitcher, going all seven innings for the Norsemen, while Richie Kish suffered the loss, giving up four runs, but only two earned.
The Blue Devils got off to a fast start when Jimmy Menchl hit a home run on the first pitch of the game.
However, the Norsemen came back with two runs in the bottom of the first when Sal Ciaravino singled and advanced to second on a walk to Zacharias.
Dan Robinson hit into a fielder's choice and Alex Huguenin walked to load the bases.
Malik Bruton's groundout scored a run and Troy Williams followed with a run-scoring single for the second run.
The Blue Devils scored a run in the top of the third to tie it 2-2, but the Norsemen tallied three runs in their half of the inning to take the lead for good.
Bruton had another RBI single, while Williams and Andrew Lock also drove in runs to give the Norsemen a 5-2 lead.
Kish singled home two runs in the fourth inning and that was the rest of the scoring as Zacharias shut them out the rest of the way to get the win.
In game two, Lock was the winning pitcher, going six innings, while Tommy Burke pitched the final inning.
Lock gave up only three hits.
"We actually out-hit North in the first game, but didn't make the plays in the field," South head coach Dan Griesbaum said. "We're going through a rough stretch right now, but the division games are ahead and it's a new season."
South took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but once again North tied it and added two more runs in the second for a 3-1 lead.
They added three runs in the fifth inning to add more breathing room and put the game away.
Leading the offensive charge were Robinson, Zacharias, Williams, Nick Mazzola, Tristin Richardson, Burke and Ciaravino.
For the Blue Devils, Andrew Fabry took the loss, while the offensive leaders were Menchl, Williams, Doug Graham and Kish.
In other games last week, North blanked Detroit Martin Luther King 7-0, improving to 5-2 overall.
South played two tough Catholic League Central Division foes, losing 10-4 to Birmingham Brother Rice, ranked No.1 in Division 1, and 5-4 to U-D Jesuit.
"I hope these tough one-run losses turn into one-run wins for us later in the season," Griesbaum said. "We have suffered a few tough losses so far."
The Blue Devils out-hit the Warriors 9-7, but the home team had its hits at the most opportune time.
James Fishback hit a solo homer and Ron Williams had three hits. Adam Eaton suffered the loss.
Against the Cubs, Fishback took the loss, while Will Norris and Williams each had two hits, while Austin McMahon had a hit and two RBIs.
Grosse Pointe South dipped to 1-5 overall.
The Grosse Pointe South alumni players host its ninth annual Alumni game Sunday, May 18, at Grosse Pointe South's baseball field.
The game is set for 1 p.m.
"Whether you still play or haven't picked up a bat in years, your participation will help make this game a fun experience for all," said former Grosse Pointe South Dugout Club president Don DeLaura. "Please help us spread the word through an old fashioned call, text, email, twitter, facebook, etc."
Grosse Pointe South 2013 graduate Carmen Benedetti had three doubles, a sacrifice fly and four RBIs in U-M's 17-9 win over host Illinois Saturday, April 12.
He was also 2-for-4 the following day in the Wolverines' 4-2 victory over the Fighting Illini.
For the season, Benedetti is 20-for-70 (as of Sunday, April 13) with two runs, six doubles, 13 RBIs, 26 total bases and eight walks.
The Wolverines are 16-19-1 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten.
Another South graduate, Cam Gibson, is hitting .296 for the Michigan State Spartans. He is 37-for-125 with 20 runs, five doubles, three triples, one homer, 10 RBIs, 51 total bases, 20 walks and 10 stolen bases.
MSU is 20-13 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten.