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Bishop Foley capitalizes, wins D3 state title over TC St. Francis WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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Game Info

Baseball - 6/17/2017 2:30 p.m.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley 3
Traverse City St. Francis 0
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EAST LANSING – Mistakes nearly kept Madison Heights Bishop Foley from reaching the Division 3 state championship.

On Saturday, one mistake led the Ventures to a state championship.

With the game tied at 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Bishop Foley junior catcher Mason Minzey stepped to the plate with a pair of teammates on base. He connected on a pitch to centerfield that brought the crowd to its feet.

The Traverse City St. Francis outfielder made his move to make a catch, but slipped on the grass and saw the ball sail over his head. Two Bishop Foley baserunners would score and ultimately spark a 3-run rally that led the Ventures (25-12-1) to a 3-0 victory and a Division 3 state championship.

“I told our assistant coach that this game was going to be won on a mistake,” Bishop Foley coach Greg Fettes said. “The center fielder lost his footing and that is what won us the baseball game. Between two great teams, that is what is going to happen. One mistake is going to cost you the baseball game.”

With some run support, senior lefty Justin Campbell continued to keep St. Francis off the board, retiring the next five batters in order.

The Gladiators (38-4) would attempt to rally with two outs in the seventh, putting two runners on base, but after a brief conversation with Fettes, Campbell recorded the final out on a fly out to center field.

“I just told him to pound the zone,” Fettes said of his conversation with Campbell. “I told him to do what he has been doing all day and let (St. Francis) get themselves out. He’s got enough movement on that fastball that he’s going to get guys out by himself. He didn’t have to overdo anything.”

Campbell pitched the complete game, allowing six hits and no walks with six strikeouts.

“When Campbell is on the mound I am very, very confident that we are going to win the ball game,” Fettes said of the future Tulane baseball player. “That’s Campbell in a nutshell. That is the guy you are going to get day-in and day-out, that is why I love having him on the mound.”

Campbell did face a challenge in the first, as St. Francis opened the game with a pair of hits. Gabe Callery opened the game with a single, but then would get thrown out at third base by Evan Ludwick of Bishop Foley when he attempted to grab an extra base on a single from Conner Sweet. The putout at third seemed to swing the momentum in Bishop Foley’s favor.

“I knew Evan had that,” Campbell said of the putout at third. “I saw him taking third base and I saw Evan had the baseball and he has a cannon for an arm. I knew that there was no way he was going to be safe. I knew it from the throw. That picked me up. I was having a down inning and wasn’t able to locate the way I wanted to. That gave me the extra confidence to bring it to the next level.”

Bishop Foley would be held in check for four innings by St. Francis starter Casey Peterson, but Ludwick started the fifth-inning rally. The nine-hole hitter singled with a liner over the reach of the Gladiators’ shortstop with one out. Payton Schuster hit his second single following Ludwick and that eventually set up the Minzey two-run triple with two outs.

“One through nine, we can swing it. We have swung the bats well all year,” Fettes said. “Even though (Ludwick) is in the nine hole, he could easily be in the two hole. That is just how our team is. Evan is a great player and great players come through in big times."

Campbell would help his own cause with a RBI single in the fifth and he would lead the celebration when the final out was recorded in the seventh.

“I’ve never won a state title. There are no words to describe it,” Campbell said.

This is Bishop Foley’s first state championship since 2013, when the program completed a three-peat under Buster Sunde. Fettes is in his second year with the program. Though he never won during his time as a player, he enjoyed being able to win as a coach on Saturday.

“I never did this as a player. As a coach it is even more sweet. You take your career out of it and you put it in these guys. They play their butts off and that is all I can ask of them.”

Last Updated: 6/17/2017 6:05:53 PM EST

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