BASEBALL: Rochester upsets Adams to win first regional title since 1998

| June 11, 2016 | Comments (1)



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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Each year at least one school makes an unexpected run deep into the Division 1 baseball postseason.

This year, that school is unranked Rochester.

The Falcons, although no strangers to long postseason runs in its history, remained alive in the 2016 tournament with a pair of wins Saturday to claim their first regional title since 1998.

The Falcons survived Troy, 2-0, in the semifinals, then came back to down favored Rochester Adams, 12-9, in a wild regional final tilt that featured five lead changes.

“Last year Hartland finished third in its league, then got hot and captured the state championship,” reminded Rochester coach Eric Magiera, who has just one senior on his 18-player roster. “We always believed that we had the talent to make a run and who knows, maybe reach the state quarterfinals. And here we are, set to play Hartland in the quarters.

“You know we knew we would have a good team this season,” continued Magiera. “But we had a stretch where we were hit hard by injuries. We lost our No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 hitters for about three weeks and went on a little bit of a slide. But now that we’re healthy, we’re really starting to click.”

Rochester captured regional titles in 1985 (Final Four), 1991 (state runner-up), 1997 (state champions) and 1998 (state quarterfinalists), but has struggled to get past the regional semifinals for nearly two decades.

The Falcons (24-17) will face defending D-1 state champion and 10th-ranked Hartland (32-5) at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Wayne State University.

Rochester is 13-1 in its last 14 games. Hartland is 26-2 in its last 28 games with a senior-heavy roster.

“I think we might have flown under the radar a little bit with the injuries and the fact that we have just the one senior,” said Magiera. “But we have a good team and we showed that today. We got a great pitching performance in the first game from Albert Nagy and we never gave up against Adams. Every time they took the lead, we came right back at them. And is a very good team. They won our league the past three years.”

Against Adams, which has won three districts and three OAA Red Division titles in the past four seasons, Rochester used one final comeback in the sixth to oust the Highlanders (28-16), who swept the Falcons in three regular season games in early May.

Down 9-7 entering the bottom half of the sixth, Rochester strung together three hits, two walks, a hit batsman, a fielder’s choice and sac fly to score five times and steal the game away from Adams.

Ryan Gladstone clubbed a bases-loaded RBI single and Kyle Matynka — the team’s lone senior — was hit by a pitch which scored another run to tie the game at 9-9.

Later in the frame, Mark Matynka pushed across the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, while Ben Compton addeda sac fly for the 11th run and Jacob Jackson laced a bloop RBI single for the 12-9 advantage.

Jackson pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief to gain the win on the mound, although he got out of a seventh inning jam with two runners on base. Sophomore cross-country standout Austin Remick made a diving catch in left field for the second out and Jackson ended the game by getting Joey Prechtel to ground out to second base.

Adams trailed 7-2 entering the fifth before erupting for seven runs in the inning. The Highlanders sent 12 batters to the plate, collected eight hits, a walk, a reached on error and a fielder’s choice during the rally.

Alex Kapitula, Alex Mannhalt, Ryan Goodsell, Karl Brycz, Chase Lusader, Jackson Hohauser and Matt McClennen all recorded an RBI in the fifth-inning outburst.

The Highlanders could not sustain the momentum.

“Usually when you have that many hits you win the game,” sighed Adams coach Jeff Hall. “You have to credit Rochester for coming back after we gained the momentum. They gained it right back and we couldn’t score again.

“I’m still proud of this senior group,” continued Hall. “They won three league and three district titles and I think they won something like 92 games at the varsity level. They had a great run.”

Rochester took a 1-0 lead in the second on Kyle Matynka’s RBI single.

Adams charged back with two runs in the third when McClennen slapped an RBI single and Anthony Kania recorded an RBI groundout.

Rochester regained the lead with six runs in the fourth. Nick Stepke ripped an RBI triple to kickstart the rally, while Matt Hawke reached base on an error, which plated another run.

Tyler Frankhouse came through with a two-run single to cap the - pitch

ROCHESTER 2, TROY 0: Rochester broke the game open with two runs in the top of the fifth and junior right-hander Albert Nagy made it stand in the second regional semifinal contest at Bloomfield Hills.

With the bases loaded and one out, Kyle Matrynka laced a two-run single up the middle that scored Drew Loftus and Tyler Frankhouse for the game’s only runs.

Nagy, a junior, finished with eight strikeouts and yielded only four hits over seven innings with the temperatures reaching 90.

Nagy ended the sixth and seventh innings with strikeouts, while in the second frame finished the inning with three straight punch outs with runners on second and third.

Troy won a district with one senior and finished the season 10-27.

“I thought we had a really slow start, but we played a lot better in the last month ey s peaking at the right time,” said Troy coach Tim Mullen. “We played well for the most part today. Their pitcher was just really on and they had that one inning where they scored the two runs on us. I don;t think with one senior anyone but else thought we could win a district. We kept working hard and we’re able to do that. Some teams would have folded based on the way we played the first half of the season.”

ROCHESTER ADAMS 10, BIRMINGHAM GROVES 6: Adams advanced to there regional finals for the first time since 2011 behind this 10-run outburst and the arm of Spencer Fleming.

The senior gave up six hits, three earned runs, struck out nine and walked none in recording the win from the bump.

Ryan Goodsell finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored for Adams. Anthony Kania was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Justin Seabolm finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, and Chase Lucader drove home two runs, scored once and had two hits for the Highlanders.

Junior Zach Warren belted a pair of home runs with four RBI for Groves (31-8). Andrew Martin finished 1-for-3 and drove home two more runs for the Falcons.

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  1. Rob Gladstone says:

    Has to be the biggest win in program history since late 90’s. Kids battled all day in the heat to win their first regional since then and did it against their arch-rival who they were 0-3 against before this one. Couldn’t have happened to a better group of kids. Look out for next year when they will have 10 seniors.

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