Walled Lake Central is on the verge of securing the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division title while Orchard Lake St. Mary’s is trying to work its way out of a slump. And when the two met for a Thursday, May 12 crossover matchup, it was the host Vikings (16-7) that defeated the Eaglets in a 1-0 shutout.
James Sullivan hit 2-for-3 and hit the game-winning double, scoring KJ Schultz from second base.
Brandon Cichocki, Austin Telling and Sullivan all pitched to combine for the shutout, holding St. Mary’s to two hits.
The Eaglets (10-15 overall, 7-13 in the Catholic League) suffered their fifth straight defeat, as they are looking to pull a string of victories together before they begin play in the state tournament in two weeks.
St. Mary’s hosted Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook on Tuesday, May 17 after press time and will host Midland Dow on Saturday, May 21 as the Eaglets celebrate 100 seasons of St. Mary’s baseball.
The Vikings are currently 7-4 in the KLAA North, ahead of second-place Walled Lake Northern (6-5) and third-place Huron Valley Lakeland (5-6).
Central began the week by defeating Grand Blanc at home, 1-0, in eight innings in a KLAA crossover game.
Blake Burns hit the game-winning double for the Vikings in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Cichocki struck out five batters and gave up only three hits over seven innings of work while Ben Rouff pitched one inning in relief.
Central then faced Plymouth Salem on Tuesday, May 10 and came away with a 9-8 victory.
Burns and Mike Natzel each hit two RBIs while Telling also hit an RBI.
Zach Leimbach picked up the victory on the mound while Shane Daykin earned the save.
Central then traveled to Waterford Mott on Wednesday, May 11 for a KLAA North doubleheader.
The Vikings suffered a 13-11 defeat in the opening game. Daykin hit four RBIs in the loss, while Leimbach, Burns and Russ each hit a pair of RBIs.
Central then came back with a vengeance in the second game, winning 17-3 over the Corsairs.
Daykin hit four RBIs and earned the win on the mound while Telling hit a home run and three RBIs and Schultz hit two RBIs.
The Vikings then played a doubleheader on Saturday, May 14 as part of the Walled Lake Central-Huron Valley Lakeland Invitational.
Central began the day with a 3-1 loss to Farmington. Leimbach pitched three innings and gave up only one run while Blake Boedecker pitched two scoreless innings, followed by a scoreless inning each from Tyler Croteau and Matt Marlin before Ben Rouf pitched two innings and was credited with the loss.
The Vikings then faced Trenton, the fourth-ranked team in the state in Class B, and came away with a 16-1 victory.
Schultz hit 3-for-4 with five RBIs while Russ hit two RBIs.
Central traveled to Huron Valley Milford on Monday, May 16 after press time and will wrap up its KLAA North schedule this week with two big doubleheaders.
Central will host Walled Lake Northern today, Wednesday, May 18 before traveling to Lakeland on Thursday, May 19. Central will then host Birmingham Brother Rice on Saturday, May 21.
If the Vikings clinch the KLAA North this week, they will play at the KLAA West Division champion on Monday, May 23 in the KLAA Lakes Conference title game for a shot at playing in the KLAA Championship game on Wednesday, May 25.