NOVI — It was everything the Howell baseball team expected in a championship game.
Except, in the end, the final result.
“In a 2-1 game, it comes down to the little things,” Howell co-coach Mike Weatherly said. “They turned three double plays, and those were killers. They made the plays when they had to, so congratulations to then.”
Plymouth did pull out a 2-1 win, completing a sweep by the Wildcats, who beat Hartland in the softball title game 3-0.
The first twin killing by the Wildcats changed the momentum of the game.
Howell had runners on first and second to lead off the second when lefty-swinging Isaak Miller belted a low line drive that looked like extra bases.
But Plymouth first baseman Evan Good reached across his body to snare the liner, then beat Brandon Maki back to first base to complete the double play.
Starter Dylan Brown made the most of it, keeping the high-scoring Highlanders offense at bay for five-plus innings.
“He was throwing backwards for hte most part, more curves than fastballs,” Howell shortstop Johnny Shields said. “We saw high 80s (fastballs on Tuesday), and we didn’t make the adjustments we needed to.”
Plymouth scored the first run of the game in the second inning, and the Highlanders broke through in the fifth. Miller led off with a single, moved to second when Luke Russo doubled, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ty Weatherly.
But the Wildcats came right back. Chase Every sent a line drive past Weatherly’s head to center field, then stole second.
After an intentional walk with two outs, Weatherly worked the count to 1-1 on Plymouth’s Aniol, then took his eye off Every, who took advantage by stealing third.
Aniol then hit a hard grounded to third baseman Evan Mazer, who bobbled it long enough for Aniol to reach first and Every to score the winning run on the error.
“It was a great high school game,” Mike Weatherly said.
And there’s no time to dwell on it for the Highlanders, who play in a weekend tournament in Flint before postseason play begins on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Weatherly said. “We’ve got Bay City Western, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, on Friday. It’s a great tournament up there, and it gets us ready for the (state) tournament.”