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Algonac stuns field, claims 1st district title since '11 WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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If Algonac wasn’t supposed to be the last one standing in District 63 action at Marine City Saturday, somebody forgot to tell the Muskrats.

After slaying MAC Blue co-champion St. Clair in the semifinal Algonac knocked off defending district champion Marysville 6-4 in the final to claim the program’s first district crown in six years.

“Our whole thing going into this was ‘look what Marysville did last year,’” Algonac head coach Scott Thaler said, referring to the 2016 Viking team that entered the postseason with just three regular-season wins and went on to win the district championship. “It’s one day of baseball.

“Hats off to them for kind of driving us and giving us some confidence.”

As irony would have it, the Muskrats would eliminate the program they emulated, but not without the Vikings putting up a fight late.

Already having erased a two-run deficit earlier in the ball game, Marysville found itself in a four-run hole heading into the top of the sixth. The Vikings were able to scratch across two runs in the inning, but Brian Butler grounded into an inning-ending double play to kill the rally.

Marysville stranded the bases loaded in the seventh before Brendan Moran grounded out to third to end it.

Algonac’s Anthony Lupo earned the victory for the Muskrats, allowing three earned runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three before turning things over to Drake Hiltunen.

“It started on the mound; (Lupo) had a hell of a ball game” Thaler said. “We were very, very happy with that.”

Hiltunen allowed one unearned run on two hits over 1 2/3 innings. He walked three batters.

Algonac’s early lead came courtesy of a Luke Stephenson two-run home run in the first inning. The early lead, Thaler said, helped calm his team’s nerves.

“Our kids sometimes play a little bit up tight,” Thaler said. “It’s been our problem the entire season, waiting for the other ball to drop.

“Getting those two were huge.”

Luke Stephenson finished 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Grant Stephenson was 4 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Jacob Robinson suffered the loss for Marysville, allowing six earned runs and scattering 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four.

Phil Griffor finished 2 for 4, including a double that nearly cleared the fence — and would have tied the game — and an RBI during the Marysville rally in the sixth. Zane King went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

The district championship was Algonac’s first since 2011. Prior to that, the Muskrats hadn’t claimed district hardware since 1989.

“It’s huge,” Thaler said of the culmination of Saturday’s success. “We’ve got a very good core group of juniors here and this senior class has stuck it out.”

Marysville head coach Caleb Dalman gave credit where credit was due, praising Algonac for their high level of play.

“They did a good job pitching when they needed to, they played some good defense…the definitely came ready to play,” he said. “We did too.

“They just made the plays at the right time and got some good timely hitting, which is what it’s all about.”

Algonac will head to the Region 16 semifinal at Marysville on June 10. The Muskrats will take on District 61 champion. Detroit Country Day. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Last Updated: 6/3/2017 10:05:14 PM EST