Sunny skies, chilly winds, burgundy turf, green grass — and a dark cloud
May 16, 2019
RIVERVIEW — If you happened to be Downriver last Saturday in the area of Riverview, you may recall the un-springlike weather so typical this year: partly sunny, bone-chilling breezes.
But, did you see the dark cloud over Gabriel Richard High School?
On the school’s burgundy artificial turf, the CHSL was staging its girls lacrosse championships under fair skies.
On the adjacent diamond, on God’s turf, green and slightly sodden, the Gabriel Richard and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett baseball teams were squaring off in a battle for first place.
Gloom hovered over Richard’s dugout, and has been since earlier in the week when ace hurler Matthew Silka suffered a broken bone in his right (pitching) hand, hit by a ball during batting practice.
Silka threw a one-hitter in Richard’s Division 3 state championship game last June, and a no-hitter in his first game this season.
To say he’s critical to the hopes of the top-ranked Pioneers to repeat as state champ is the understatement of the year.
More about this situation later.
CHSL Division 1: Bloomfield Hills Marian 16, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 13.
The chilly weather didn’t faze the players from either team as they raced up and down the field in a near-frenzy. The score was tied seven times, and the lead changed five times.
“It was crazy,” summed up Marian coach Sherry Pifer-Elliott. “The momentum kept changing.”
The Cranes scored four goals in a row to wind up the first half, flipping a 4-6 deficit to an 8-6 lead.
Marian (14-1) — ranked No. 2 in Division 2 — opened the second half with four consecutive goals to go ahead, 10-8. That advantage lasted just six minutes when eighth-rated Cranbrook (8-7) put together another four-pack to go back in front 12-10.
From this point, Marian took command. Junior Mia Hannawa and sophomore Coco Chinosis (Marian’s leading scorer with 56 on the season) led a 6-2 homestretch surge with two goals each for the victory.
Hannawa had five goals for the game. Chinosis, Tessy Klein and Amanda Timmis each had three scores for Marian.
Cranbrook spread its offense among eight players, paced by Mallory Brophy and Jess Geiger with three goals apiece.
Cranbrook beat Marian in last year’s CHSL championship and in the regional semi-finals of the state tournament. The Cranes went on to its second straight Division 2 title.
Both teams begin state tournament action May 22.
Pifer-Elliott in her third year at Marian likes her squad’s “chemistry. They love practicing, and they love the sport. They pull together. There is no individual star.”
CHSL Division 2: Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 10, Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart Academy 9.
“We’re just happy to be here,” Liggett third-year coach Jennifer Larson said during pre-game warmups. This was a first for the Knights since Liggett joined the CHSL a couple of years ago.
She was beyond happy at the conclusion. Her squad had trailed from the get-go, at one time by five goals, 7-2. They closed the gap to 8-5 at halftime, then limited Sacred Heart to just one goal while tying the score at 9-9 with 7:34 left in the game.
Two minutes later, at 5:38, junior Maggie Dunn crammed the ball into the net past goalie Adrianna Rugiero for what turned out to be the winning score.
The Knights executed a nerve-wracking stall the remainder of the game, maintaining possession to the final horn, preventing Sacred Heart an opportunity to score.
“You don’t think we didn’t practice that (putting pressure on)?” said a disappointed Gazelles coach, Kris Sanders, her fourth year at Sacred Heart after 17 years coaching Livonia Ladywood.
“We didn’t do the right things in the second half that we did in the first,” she continued. “We couldn’t maintain the momentum.”
Senior Emma Wujek had five goals for Liggett, including the one to tie the game at 9-9. Dunn had three goals, and Elise Buhl one.
Alexandria Knight scored three times for Sacred Heart. Maria Wilson, Victoria Pilut and Shea Henderson each had two scores.
Back to baseball: Gabriel Richard 2-3, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 0-9.
Pioneers coach Mike Magier is keeping his cool in light of his team’s situation.
“We’ll take care of business,” he said. Silva’s hand will be in a cast for about 10 days. “We’ll know after that if he will be able to pitch again.”
The brunt of the starting duties will be shared by junior Cole Atkinson and seniors Frank Klamerus and Jacob Gosen, Magier said.
Atkinson turned in an outstanding performance in the first game, protecting a 2-0 lead his teammates gave him in the first inning off Liggett’s Alec Azar. He allowed five hits and struck out five.
The Knights jumped all over three Richard hurlers to take the second game. The split gave Richard the league title.
Both teams will be involved in playoffs this weekend to determine who makes it to the May 24 date at Comerica Park.
But the date Richard has in mind is June 1, the opening round of district play in the state tournament. The Pioneers will meet Taylor Preparatory at 10 a.m. on Allen Park Cabrini’s field, the opening salvo in what they hope will be a journey to another Division 3 state championship.