BASEBALL: Sweet Repeat: Lake Orion Baptist captures third straight MACS state title | North Oakland Sports

BASEBALL: Sweet Repeat: Lake Orion Baptist captures third straight MACS state title

| June 13, 2018 | Comments (0)



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LAKE ORION — Without three of its seniors gone on a senior trip to Europe in mid-May, Lake Orion Baptist hit a little hiccup in its quest for a league title.

The Lions dropped a pair of games late in the regular season, falling to Bloomfield Hills Bloomfield Christian (5-4) and Davison Faith Baptist (12-7). Those defeats cost LOBS a share of the Wolverine Christian Conference title.

Lake Orion Baptist more than made up for it in the postseason.

The Lions defeated Vassar Juanita Christian 10-4 in the state semifinals on May 29, then followed that up with a convincing 10-0 shutout of Davison Faith Baptist in the state finals of the Michigan Association of Christian Schools tournament June 2 at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest High School.

The MACS state crown marked the Lions’ third straight after losing in the state championship game six times during the previous 10-year span.

“It’s our third straight after we had so many runners-ups,” noted Cole Welby, the school’s seventh-year head coach and athletics director. “I think the biggest reason (for the success) is the pitching. We’ve been very blessed with solid pitching over the years. That makes a huge difference for a small school like ours. In our league, we’ve had the best pitching the past three years.”

Senior Michael Slezak, a 6-foot left-hander who earned Wolverine Christian Conference League MVP honors this season, saved one of his best career efforts for his final prep game. He fired a complete game effort that included 11 strikeouts against only one hit and two walks for the Lions (23-2).

Slezak helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI, including a two-run triple to end the championship game via the mercy-rule in the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Junior brother Paul Slezak, who hit an impressive .638 this season — only 10 points shy of tying the single-season school record for batting average — finished 3-for-4 in the finals, had four RBI, scored three runs and swiped three bases.

Lake Orion Baptist’s baseball team celebrated its third straight MACS state title in 2018. Courtesy Photo | Lake Orion Baptist Athletics

Overall in the finals, Lake Orion Baptist’s championship run ended with a 16-hit attack.

Senior shortstop Mason Rowe finished 4-for-4, scored three runs and had an RBI in the finals. Junior catcher Bradley Browne was 3-for-3 and scored a run, and senior Evan Shonts, who did not play as a junior or sophomore, supplied a hit and scored a run. Austin Browne, Phil Verley and Mark Slezak also had hits for the Lions, while Mark Slezak and Browne also scored a run apiece.

“I’m proud of this group,” said Welby. “We had a great season. Even when our three seniors were gone, and we lost another player to a broken arm and only had nine players for a few games there, we still competed. And when we got our seniors back, we played some great baseball in the (state) tournament.”

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