Peterson Sends TC St. Francis to D3 Finals


EAST LANSING – Late-inning heroics has the top-ranked Traverse City St. Francis baseball team one win away from its first state championship since winning the 1990 Class D title.

Appearing in its first state semifinal since 1992, the Gladiators (38-3) recorded a 3-2 win in eight innings over Schoolcraft at Michigan State on Friday.

With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth, Cooper Peterson pulled through with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Gabe Callery, who led off the inning with a walk.

St. Francis will now face perennial power Madison Heights Bishop Foley (24-12-1) for the state title Saturday afternoon. The Ventures handed Caro a 3-2 loss in Friday’s earlier semifinal.

Schoolcraft jumped on Gladiator starter Joe Muzljakovich in the first on an RBI ground out from Ricky Clark, scoring Nolan Anspaugh, who led off the inning with a triple.

The Gladiators would strike back in the third on Keaton Peck’s two-run single. Schoolcraft would even the score later in the inning.

Muzljakovich allowed two earned runs on seven hits and six walks while striking out four in 6 2/3 innings of work. Connor Sweet allowed one hit and a walk in 1 1/3 innings of relief.

St. Francis was limited to just three hits, as Blake Bales allowed two runs on three hits and struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings for Schoolcraft.

The two runs allowed were the first given up by St. Francis this postseason after shutting out its previous opponents 42-0.

Schoolcraft ends its season at 25-11.

First pitch in Saturday’s final is set for 2:30 p.m. 

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