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Western International, Renaissance end up short in regional play

BOTH ELIMINATED: Detroit PSL squads Renaissance and Western International were eliminated from the MHSAA State Playoffs June 8. The Phoenix lost to Garden City in the girls’ softball regional final while the Cowboys lost to University of Detroit Jesuit in the regional semi-final.  CHUCK JOHNSON DPS PHOTO

BOTH ELIMINATED: Detroit PSL squads Renaissance and Western International were eliminated from the MHSAA State Playoffs June 8. The Phoenix lost to Garden City in the girls’ softball regional final while the Cowboys lost to University of Detroit Jesuit in the regional semi-final. CHUCK JOHNSON DPS PHOTO

State playoffs: Baseball and softball

By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen

GROSSE POINTE — The hopes for a state title in baseball and softball for the Detroit Public Schools came to end June 8. Both DPL teams, Western International and Renaissance, were ousted from state tournament play. The Cowboys (24-11) came up short to University of Detroit Jesuit 4-2 in a baseball regional semi-final at Grosse Point South, while the Phoenix (31-7) lost the regional championship to Garden City 15-2 in the softball regional championship also at Grosse Point South.

“It wasn’t our day,” said Western Head Coach Juan Sanchez. “The favors weren’t on our side. U of D is very good team.

“However, I’m very proud of my boys because they left everything on the field. Our pitcher just had one bad inning.”

Western put up a good fight against the Cubs. The Cowboys got their first run in the third due to a wild throw to first. With the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, U of D Jesuit’s Harrison Wesson hit a three-run triple, giving the Cubs a 4-1 lead. The Cowboys came back in the top half of the seventh inning with a home run by Anthony Gutierrez, cutting the lead to 4-2. Western then put two runners on base to attempt to tie or even win the game, but they couldn’t get them home.

Jose Ramon-Morales was the starting pitcher for Western and took the loss. He gave up four earned runs and eight hits in six innings of work. Gutierrez had two hits including a home run. As a team, the Cowboys had five hits but stranded five runners.

“Our team has a lot of talent, and these kids don’t have to be state champs to be winners,” Sanchez said. “Eight of them are going on to college, and all of them will move on be sound young men. Now that the season’s over, I like to celebrate the season we had.”

Renaissance met their PSL rival Western International in the semi-final round. It didn’t take the Phoenix long to defeat the Cowgirls 28-2 in three innings. Nijah Slaughter was the winning pitcher for Renaissance as she struck out four batters allowing no hits. At the plate, Slaughter went three-for-three with an RBI.

The top contributors were Breanna Lawrence, who went two-for-three with a home run, five RBIs and scoring three times. Essence England was two-for-four at the plate with an RBI and scoring five times, and Zahji Billingslea went three-for-three with five RBIs and scored five times.

However, things didn’t go well against Garden City in the regional championship with Renaissance losing 15-2. The Phoenix committed 11 errors in the defeat to the Cougars, and starting pitcher Chloe Ostoloza gave up 11 hits and 15 runs.

“We just made too many errors and didn’t make the big play,” said Renaissance Head Coach Garrard Taylor. “Garden City is a good team, but we can’t make any mistakes playing a team like Garden City.

“I told the girls I can’t play the game for you. You have to play like you wanted it. Garden City was fundamentally sound on the basics, and we have to work on that.”

Scoring runs for the Phoenix were Danielle Young and Lyric Elliot. The four hits by Renaissance in the game came from Ostoloza, Billingslea, Kierra Ware and Shivonne Marshall.

“We’re trying to get to the next level,” Taylor said. “They have to put the time in to be more competitive at the state level.

“We’re only losing three girls to graduation. We’re looking to get better next season.”

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