BASEBALL: Everest Collegiate downs rival Waterford Lakes for district title

| June 2, 2015 | Comments (0)




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DRYDEN — For the past six years, Clarkston Everest Collegiate’s baseball players competed on the same unified program with Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.

Now that the Mountaineers have split off from the Lakers, Everest climbed past its former teammates in a 3-2 victory Monday in a Division 4 district final at Dryden High School. The game was postponed from Saturday.

The two schools disbanded their cooperative programs in all sports last summer, so the two have now become rivals on the playing surface.

“I know them, but it’s not weird (playing) against them,” said Ben Bellestri, one of three seniors for Everest who played for the Lakers the past three years. Lucas Neme  and Sal Mastromatteo were the others who suited up for WOLL’s varsity last spring.

“Baseball a different sport,” continued Bellestri. “You just go out and play baseball. That’s all you’ve got to do.”

The Moutaineers (17-19) did just that behind the arm of freshman Grant Burgess. The gutsy ninth-grader scattered five hits over six inning of work, struck out four and walked three. Bellestri pitched the seventh inning to gain the save, eventually ending the 90-minute affair by forcing a 1-2-3 frame.

“We have come a long ways since the beginning of the season,” admitted Everest Collegiate coach Joseph DeLisle. “It was an important game, but it’s just another game. We were working on executing. We did enough (of it) today.”

Zac Irwin suffered the loss for Waterford Lakes (15-16). He finished with six hits, two strikeouts and a walk for the Lakers.

Locked in a 2-2 tie, Bellestri led off with a double and later plated on a bases-loaded RBI single by Ryan Smith for the go-ahead run.

Jake Bombardo scored the first run for WOLL in the first inning, when a teammate got caught in a rundown and he crossed the plate on the play.

Thomas Thibodeau tied the game for Everest when his RBI single scored Daniel DeWitt, who reached base on an error in the bottom of the second inning.

The Lakers took a 2-1 lead in the third when Zak Bell hit a one-out double and later scored off Andrew Kramer’s fielder’s choice.

The lead stood until the fourth when Burgess singled to open the frame and eventually scored on Smith’s infield single.

WOLL got out of a jam in the fifth inning, picking up a rare triple-play off a botched hit-and-run by the Moutaineers. The Lakers could not string together another rally, a micronism of Lakes’ season, and eventually succumbed to Everest.

“They put the ball in play and we didn’t,” sighed Waterford Lakes co-coach Greg Glover. “Grant Burgess pitched a nice game for them. We expected to knock the ball over the field today and we didn’t. They were the better team today. We just couldn’t (string together) hits at the right time. That’s baseball.”

Everest Collegiate will continue postseason play and participate in its first regional semifinal next Saturday at 12 p.m., facing Unionville-Sebewaing at Mayville High School.

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