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Groves overcomes four-run deficit to defeat West Bloomfield WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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The Falcons trailed 7-3 in the fourth inning before rallying to win in the seventh Wednesday.

Game Info

Baseball - 5/25/2016 

West Bloomfield 3
Birmingham Groves 7
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WEST BLOOMFIELD — With the start of the district playoffs looming next week, Birmingham Groves turned in the type of never-give-up performance on Wednesday that will serve it well with bigger games ahead.

Facing West Bloomfield in the final game of the OAA White division season, Groves overcame a four-run deficit midway through the game to post a dramatic 8-7 victory.

The Falcons trailed 7-3 after three innings of play, but battled back a little at a time, scoring in each of the final four frames and regaining a lead in the top of the seventh.

Joe Roberts led off the seventh with a single. Two batters later, Conner Bradbury’s hit to right field scored the pinch runner from third base, putting the Falcons in front.

In the bottom of the frame, Chase Ford shut the door quickly, retiring all three batters in order to complete a strong relief outing that saw him throw four and two-thirds scoreless upon entering.

“You’re always impressed when a guy can come in behind a starting pitcher that didn’t have his best outing and shut the door,” Groves coach Shawn Morrison said of Ford’s performance.

“We like to get the big inning and we had one early, but we also try to win every inning. When you do that, it allows you to chip away when you’re behind and extend your lead when you’re ahead.”

The game was originally scheduled for May 4 as the finale of a three-game series, but heavy rain led to a postponement after less than an inning had been played.

Picking up where that game left off, Groves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second when Ford had an RBI single, followed by a two-run base hit by Mikey Pastoria.

Two innings later, West Bloomfield responded by posting a crooked number in the run column, pushing seven men across the plate to gain a 7-3 lead. With the bases loaded and nobody out, the Lakers capitalized multiple times with RBI hits by Jack Berkey, Nick Seidel and Brendan Bilkovic highlighting the inning.

Groves’ comeback began in the fourth when Ford picked up another RBI on a double. Back-to-back triples and a sacrifice fly earned the Falcons two additional runs in the fifth.

In the sixth, Groves tied the game, 7-7, on a single by John Kowalchuk, but squandered a chance to take the lead when the inning ended on a groundout to first base and another out being recorded in a rundown between third and home.

“Our guys know which strikes to take and which strikes can be driven. There’s a big difference. You don’t want to just swing at any pitch that’s a strike. You have to look for the ones you can do something with. That’s why our count mentality is so important,” Morrison said.

“Coach (Jerry) Brown has been instrumental with helping us out with our plate approach. He balances me out as a coach and we are definitely a good fit. He works the catchers and brings that wrestling and football mentality to the table.”

The Lakers had a golden opportunity to seize control of the game once again in the top of the sixth when they put the first two men on base. No runs came in to score, however, as Ford picked off a runner and fanned another.

West Bloomfield will begin the district playoffs on Tuesday against Walled Lake Northern. The Lakers have won district titles in consecutive seasons.

As for Groves (29-7), the Falcons will begin postseason play next Saturday against cross-town rival Birmingham Seaholm in the district semifinals.

At 12-3 in the OAA White, Groves finished one game behind Farmington in the league race.

Last Updated: 5/25/2016 6:57:28 PM EST

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