No. 1-ranked New Boston Huron baseball tops Divine Child w/ PHOTO GALLERY – The News Herald

Two of the area’s top baseball teams shared the diamond Thursday afternoon when Dearborn Divine Child traveled to New Boston Huron. The Host Chiefs came into the game ranked number 1 in the state in Division 2, and overall the two teams went into the game with a combined 13-3 record so young.

Divine Child at the New Boston Huron Baseball Photo Gallery

It was a pitcher duel throughout, but Huron was able to secure a 5-1 win over the Falcons behind a dominant pitching performance from Cole Grunwald.

Alex Muller – For the MediaNews Group

Divine Child third baseman Owen Avery tries to knock out host New Boston Huron’s Matt Williams on Thursday afternoon. Williams came on safely on a day when the visiting Falcons lost 5-1 to Huron. (Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group)

The low-scoring affair shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Early in the matchup, the Chiefs pitching staff allowed an average of about three runs per game. Divine Child Hurlers totaled 19 runs in the team’s first nine competitions, nine of which came in Game 1 of a doubleheader the day before against the University of Detroit Jesuit.

It was ultimately Grunwald’s effort on the bump that propelled Huron (7-1, 2-1 Huron League) over the top on Thursday.

“He’s really something special,” said Chiefs coach Phil Yancey. “He has been our contact person since last season. He’s just an all-around player, a good shooter and a good hitter.”

Grunwald is one of several talented players to return from a 2021 Huron roster and reach the D2 semifinals.

Divine Child (7-3, 5-1 CHSL AA) scored his only run Wednesday in the opening frame thanks to a two-out single from Tyler Kostora. Grunwald started the game with two straight strikeouts, but an error and a hit by Owen Avery extended the inning.

Those first-inning shots were two of just three total hits of the game for the visitors. Grunwald retired once with 15 straight batters before giving up a single and a walk with two outs in the sixth.

“We didn’t make any adjustments until our second and third at-bat,” said Falcons coach Dan Deegan. “(Grunwald) is a good pitcher and they are a good team. They went to the semifinals last year for a reason.

“We were happy with our pitching. Our starting pitch has been pretty good so far this year. This was (John Millen’s) first start of the season and he pitched great and gave us a chance to win.”

Grunwald went the distance for Huron, giving up only the one undeserved run and issuing a walk while knocking out 11 Divine Child batters. The senior spoke about what adjustments were made after the first inning.

“Our coach just walked over to me and said, ‘Hey, you’re fine,'” Grunwald said. “We had a mistake in the field and I just shook it off afterwards. I’m just trying to do my job pitching and throwing strikes. I knew my team had my back.”

Offensively, it took the Chiefs many small ball games — six stolen bases and three casualties, to be exact — to wipe out five runs. After leveling 1-1 in the second game, they took the lead with two in the fourth before adding a run in the fifth and sixth.

In the end, the hosts hammered 10 goals into victory

Matt Williams, Rory Callahan and Connor Grant each had two hits. Callahan was responsible for the team’s only extra base hit, a leadoff double to start the rally in fourth. Grant and Jaden Morse each had one RBI, while Issac Smith in 9th place had two RBIs.

Divine Child starter John Millen gave his team a chance to win by spreading those 10 hits and two walks over six innings.

For Huron, it was one of five games the team would play over four straight days.

The Chiefs defeated Huron League opponents Monroe SMCC 6-2 the day before and return to the league with a game at Carleton Airport on Friday. On Saturday, Huron will visit Allen Park for an out-of-league doubleheader.

The Chiefs entered the 2022 season ranked state No. 1 in D2 after advancing to the state semifinals last spring.

Grunwald talked about how the high expectations at the start of this season have hit the team.

“It was always in the back of my mind,” he says. “We know we have a lot of great ball players out here. But we’re just going to focus on that for now. As we get closer to the end, we’re going to really focus on our pitching. We know we have a great pitching staff this season.”

Divine Child, meanwhile, has lost three out of four after winning six straight games to open the season.

“We’re a team in desperate need of practice,” said Deegan. “We really messed up defensively today. We didn’t train for 12 days in this crazy weather and then we went on holiday. Today and yesterday we made a lot of mistakes and it shows that we need to practice.”

The day before, the Falcons lost the front end of a double-header 9-4 to UD Jesuit, but then dominated the Cubs 17-2 in the nightcap.

Next up for Divine Child is a league doubleheader in Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard on Tuesday. Two days later, the Falcons will return to the streets for two games at Macomb Lutheran North.

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