St. Mary Preps for Beal City, D4 Semifinals

GAYLORD – The Gaylord St. Mary baseball program is hoping that the third time’s the charm.

Following a 10-1 win over Ski Valley Conference rival Inland Lakes on Tuesday, the fourth-ranked Snowbirds are heading back to the Division 4 state semifinals and Michigan State for the third straight year. St. Mary will take on No. 14 Beal City at 9 a.m. Friday.

With the exception of a pair of 2-1 wins over East Jordan and Glen Lake, respectively, in a district and regional semifinal, St. Mary hasn’t been tested much this postseason. In addition to those wins, the Snowbirds posted commanding victories over Wolverine (18-0, three innings) and Onaway (9-1).

Gaylord St. Mary will face No. 14 Beal City at 9 a.m. Friday.

“Ever since I was a freshman, the goal was to get to Lansing and the goal was a state title,” St. Mary senior Drew Long said. “Hopefully we can get that this year. It’s just all the hard work that we’ve put in is paying off.”

St. Mary has never won a state championship but has a pair of Class D runner-up finishes to its credit in 1988 and 1989. The Snowbirds dropped consecutive two-run losses to Portland St. Patrick and Hudson in their last two semifinal appearances.

“Two run losses the last two years, I mean, you know, I tell the kids, ‘Listen, play your heart out, and whatever happens at the end, you’ll be happy,” St. Mary coach Matt Nowicki said. “Sometimes more happy than others, but you’ve got to know that you left it on the field. And that’s all we really tell them.”

The winner of Friday’s contest will face either No. 2 St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic or Unionville-Sebewaing Area for the state title at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Categories: Baseball