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Talkin' Baseball: Battle Creek Primer

The Saline baseball team is gunning for its first state championship this weekend. Here's a guide to this weekend's action.

The Saline Hornets are headed for Battle Creek to compete in the final weekend of the MHSAA Division 1 baseball tournament.

Here's a primer:

Semifinals (Friday)

Saline (29-10) vs Hudsonville (29-5), 1 p.m., Nichols Field.

Warren DeLaSalle vs Howell, Noon, Morrison Field

Finals (Saturday)

Saline or Hudsonville vs DeLaSalle or Howell, 12:30 p.m., Bailey Park.

Tickets

Tickets are $7 for the semifinals and $7 for finals. Tickets get you into all eight semifinals or all four finals from the four MHSAA Divisions. If you're a baseball fanatic, you can purchase a $15 pass that gets you into every baseball or softball game in the tournament.

Live Coverage

If you can't make it to Battle Creek, there are other ways to follow. The MHSAA will live stream the championship game Saturday at MHSAA.tv and FoxSportsDetroit.com. For the semifinals, we suggest following Saline Patch and Saline Athletics on Twitter.

The championship game will be broadcast FOX Sports Detroit-PLUS on June 24, at noon.

The Road To Battle Creek

Here's our coverage of Saline's play during the MHSAA Division 1 baseball tournament.

Scouting Hudsonville

Hudsonville is 29-5, defeating Flushing 6-2 in the quarterfinal at Central Michigan University. In regionals, Hudsonville defeated Rockford, 12-4, and Lowell, 7-3. In the districts, Hudsonville defeated Jenison, 9-4, and Grandville, 8-1. Hudsonville is on a 16-game winning streak. The last loss came May 11 to Sterling Heights Stevenson.

Hudsonville is led by senior Brandon Cable. The slugging shortstop will continue his baseball playing days at Western Michigan. 

Hudsonville won Tuesday's quarterfinal with its third pitcher. That means the team's top two pitchers, lefty Tyler Baar and 6'7 Blake Hibbitts, will be available for Friday's game.

Other big bats belong to Hunter Prince, 1B, and Hank Van Ooyen, CF.

Saline did not face Hudsonville or a single team on its schedule during the season. Saline did face semifinalist Warren DeLaSalle twice this season, winning 8-6 and 9-2 April 10. Hudsonville beat defending state champ Rockford on the way to Battle Creek.

Fab Five?

The Hornets have been on an incredible run in recent years. Saline made it all the way to the state championship game in 2008-2010. Saline lost to Birmingham Brother Rice 8-0 in 2008. In 2009, the Hornets fell 3-2 to DeLaSalle. In 2010, Pioneer defeated Saline 4-1. In 1998, Saline fell to Midland, 2-1.

DeLaSalle is the only Division 1 team remaining with a state title to its name.

The 500 Club

Coach Scott Theisen won his 500th game earlier this season to join the 500 club. His record stands at 510-213. DeLaSalle coach Brian Kelly is also a member.

Driving to Battle Creek

According to Mapquest, the trip from Saline High School to Bailey Park is 84 miles. Give yourself at least 90 minutes.

1. Start out going northeast on Campus Pky.  0.1 mi 2. Enter next roundabout and take the 2nd exit onto Campus Pky. Pass through 1 roundabout.  0.5 mi 3. Turn left onto State Rd.  3.3 mi 4. State Rd becomes S State St.  0.3 mi 5. Merge onto I-94 W toward Jackson.  72.7 mi 6. Take the 11 Mile Rd exit, EXIT 104, towardI-94-BR/Battle Creek/M-96.  0.3 mi 7. Turn left onto 11 Mile Rd.
  • If you are on Wheatfield Pky and reach E Michigan Ave you've gone about 0.3 miles too far
  0.3 mi 8. Turn right onto E Michigan Ave/I-94-BR/M-96.
  • If you reach F Dr N you've gone about 0.4 miles too far
  3.1 mi 9. Keep right at the fork to go on E Michigan Ave/I-94-BR W.  0.4 mi 10. Turn right onto Raymond Rd N.
  • Raymond Rd N is 0.1 miles past Park Dr
  • S G Marathon is on the corner
  • If you reach East St you've gone a little too far
  1.5 mi 11. Turn left onto E Emmett St.
  • E Emmett St is 0.1 miles past Culbertson St
  • C-Store is on the corner
  • If you reach Willison Ave you've gone about 0.1 miles too far
  0.8 mi 12. Turn right onto Capital Ave NE/M-66/N Capital Ave.
  • Capital Ave NE is just past Kelly Ave
  • Little Caesars Pizza is on the corner
  • If you reach Convis St you've gone a little too far
  0.8 mi 13. 1392 CAPITAL AVE NE is on the right.
  • Your destination is just past Eaton St
  • If you reach Hopkins St you've gone a little too far
 

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