ORCHARD LAKE — With every win, St. Mary’s Prep extends the new standard for consecutive wins for Michigan high school baseball teams.
The Eaglets broke Homer’s 75-in-a-row record, held since 2005, during a four-game Easter week journey in Ohio. They won their 78th in a row Wednesday afternoon, shutting out Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 8-0 in the opener of a Catholic League Central Division doubleheader.
Getting No. 79, however, was not so easy.
In the nightcap, left-hitting Alfredo Velazquez smacked a first inning, opposite-field, three-run homer to stake the Warriors to a 3-0 lead, which St. Mary’s promptly obliterated in their half of the inning with three runs of their own.
The Eaglets took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Brother Rice responded with a pair in the top of third to tie the game at 5-5. St. Mary’s Jasen Oliver and Rice’s Ryan King each threw three scoreless innings in relief to keep their respective opponent at bay.
The game was called after six innings because of darkness. It will be resumed May 6 before a doubleheader on Brother Rice’s diamond.
St. Mary’s (12-0, 6-0 CHSL Central) now has its sights set on the national record of 89 currently held by North Portsmouth, New Hampshire, since 2012.
In its streak that started May 1, 2021, after a 2-1 loss to Saline (the only blotch on OLSM’s 43-1 record that spring), the Eaglets have largely had their way, particularly 39-0 against CHSL teams.
Their perfect record has been in jeopardy in only eight one-run contests.
Most noteworthy was No. 66 in the streak, the last game of 2022, the 1-0 Division 1 championship victory against Grosse Pointe North. St. Mary’s, which averaged 10 runs a game, scored their only run in the first inning. Nolan Schubert singled, moved to second on an error, to third on a failed pickoff attempt and came home on Ike Irish’s ground ball.
“I don’t think anyone in the park thought that one run in the bottom of the first was going to be the difference,'' Eaglets coach Matt Petry said.
In this spring’s opener, victory No. 67 was a 5-4 decision over Howell. Three days later, St. Mary’s rallied in the sixth inning for a 1-0 decision over Novi Detroit Catholic Central.
The severest test came in the Eaglets’ first game in Ohio against highly regarded Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit for streak win No. 74.
It was a pitcher’s duel from the start. Aiden Donovan (4.1 innings, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks) and Oliver (4.2 innings, 1 hit, 10 K, 0 W) combined for a 1-0 win that was decided in the ninth inning on junior Will Boisineau’s RBI double to deep right center field.
“I told the guys at the start of the season,” Petry said, “there are only a few guys who were around last year, but being in these close games early in the season will prepare you for what’s to come in the Catholic League playoffs and state playoffs.”
What’s “to come” is a stretch of 11 games over 16 days, only two at home. Even today’s new math tells you that 78 wins plus 11 more adds up to 89 and a tie with the national record.
If all goes well, a win of the resumed six-inning tie on May 6 could be for a new national record.
Before that bit of drama can occur, here are the challenges St. Mary’s faces:
- April 21, at Hartland (3-3);
- April 22, a doubleheader at Warren De La Salle (3-4);
- April 25, at Division 1 No.4 ranked Northville (8-1),
- April 30, at home a doubleheader against Catholic Central (4-4). The Eaglets beat the Shamrocks earlier 6-0 and 1-0.
- April 28, at Dexter (5-3);
- April 29, a doubleheader at University of Detroit Jesuit (1-5). St. Mary’s drubbed the Cubs three weeks ago, 10-0 and 14-3.
- May 3, a twinbill against Division 2 No. 1-rated Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (5-2). The Eaglets beat Liggett earlier 8-5 and 10-0.
Beyond this, St. Mary’s will be gunning for its fourth straight CHSL championship and fourth consecutive state championship.
Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].