Photos by Bethany McCullough | CatchMark
MONTAGUE — Ravenna baseball coach Paul Herremans has stated that this, his 32nd season, will be the final one at the helm.
The red-hot Bulldogs earned him at least one more game with Tuesday’s 8-0 victory over Shelby in a Division 3 first-round district matchup at Montague. It’s the team’s 21st win in the last 23 games.
How much longer can the ’Dogs take it? Ravenna (26-8) will face a tough North Muskegon squad in Saturday’s 10 a.m. district semifinal at Montague.
Shelby finishes its season with a 4-15 record.
“I’m feeling good. My team just plays, and I watch them, that’s where we’re at,” Herremans said. “The coaching is done, so they just go out and play.”
Ravenna got past Shelby with a strong pitching performance by Travis May and a productive offense paced by Dayton Thomas.
May, a right-handed senior, scattered six hits, struck out nine and walked none.
“It feels really good,” he said. “My team played really good defense behind me and we hit the ball pretty well. It was a good game.”
Added Herremans: “I want to say that Travis May pitched an excellent game. He had 74 pitches in a complete game of seven innings and that’s phenomenal and very efficient and that’s what we worked at in the beginning of the season.”
Thomas has had a big season at the plate and his hot hitting continued against Shelby. He was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, two stolen bases and three runs scored.
Tyler Bradtmueller had two hits and scored a run for the Bulldogs.
“I feel confident going into Saturday,” Thomas said. “My teammates and I play good together. We all have the confidence in the dugout, and we work hard in practice every day for this.”
Lalo Garcia went 2-for-3 at the plate to pace Shelby.
Joseph Hayes took the loss for the Tigers, allowing four runs on five hits with one strikeout and one walk in 3 1/3 innings. The hard-throwing Garcia worked the final 2 2/3 innings, allowed four runs on three hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
“Well, it ended too soon,” said Shelby coach Brian Wright, who completed his 41st season as head coach. “We’re a little disappointed in our effort, but Ravenna played better. Ravenna deserved to win.
“We have played much better than this. It was just one of those where we couldn’t get a big hit, a timely hit; they had a few mistakes, but that’s high school baseball. It’s just that last game that you never want to happen, to say goodbye to your seniors, and stuff like that. We were prepared, it just wasn’t our day. The Bulldogs were just a little bit better than we were today.”
Ravenna will have to be much better against North Muskegon than the Bulldogs were the last time they faced the Norsemen. On April 19, the Norse swept a West Michigan Conference doubleheader from the ’Dogs, 13-3 and 22-0.
Those scores don’t matter come Saturday.
“(Shelby’s) pitcher, Lalo Garcia, throws pretty hard, which will get us ready for North Muskegon so this will get us warmed up and back into the swing of things,” May said.
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