Mavericks take down Eagles in a close 3-1 matchup


Senior Logan McLaughlin delivering a pitch in his fifth inning of work. McLaughlin would prove to be a huge part of this team win as he made Tate Farquhar roll over on his 105th pitch to second base to win the game (Photos courtesy of Brad Beyer).

Jack Beyer, Sports Editor

Milford Athletics has been thriving this school year. After a great fall and winter sports season for MHS, the varsity baseball team is continuing the successful run. With a current record of 9-5 and an upcoming series against Walled Lake Western, this appears to be the best baseball squad we’ve had in years. The team is led by college commits Josh McCoy (Eastern Michigan), Logan McLaughlin (Hillsdale) and Andrew Merz (Lawerence Tech); these Seniors have played a huge role in the team’s performance this season. To put a cherry on top, Milford beat Lakes Valley Conference leader Lakeland in game two of their recent series. Not only did Milford win, they won in dramatic fashion.

On the mound for this Maverick win was Logan McLaughlin, the number two pitcher behind ace Josh McCoy. Since the Mavs were the away team, they would be hitting first, having to face Lakeland’s Trey Rowley. The teams both were shut down by the strong pitching through the third inning thanks to strong defensive plays by Alex Jacokes and Jack Beyer.

The top of the fourth started with Logan McLaughlin and Grey Rupert getting on base, but the Mavericks were unable to capitalize on this momentum and once returned to the field. McLaughlin continued to be dominant as he held the Eagles scoreless with the help of his defense. Finally, the Mavs had  their first hit of the game when Beyer singled to left on a ground ball between shortstop and third. The inning ended quickly after a failed sacrifice bunt attempt and a strikeout.

McLaughlin continued to be overpowering, only allowing one hit in the fifth, which gave hope to the Maverick offense in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, the trend continued and Milford could not get anything started. The first three hitters were unable to reach first base as Lakeland’s new pitcher, Jake Held, took the mound. Once again, McLaughlin returned to the bump in the bottom of the sixth. Then, Lakeland finally broke through. 

McLaughlin walked back out on the mound confident as ever with five innings of work under his belt and no runs given up. However, that was about to change. Leading off the bottom of the sixth was Michigan State commitTate Farquhar blasted a double into left field to put himself into scoring position. After a Lakeland groundout, another double was ripped off McLaughlin to score Farquhar and Lakeland took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth. A flyout and a groundout from the Eagles would leave  the Mavericks one last hope for a productive inning at the plate.  

Having the middle of Milford’s batting order up at the top of the seventh offered a ray of hope as they had been consistently hitting the ball throughout the game. They continued to impress in the seventh. Cole Lewandowski started everything off with a line drive single up the middle. Merz came up next and worked the count to earn himself a walk and advance Lewandowski to scoring position. DeLand was then brought in to pinch run for the catcher Merz and add some speed on the base paths. Hait then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Lewandowski and Deland to second and third. Then, Beyer was intentionally walked to load the bases in the hopes that Lakeland could turn a double play and end the game. Jacokes walked up to bat with an opportunity to become a hero. He took a first pitch strike and went down in the count 0-1. He stepped back in the batter’s box and Held stepped back on the mound. Held came set and looked at DeLand on second base before looking back to his catcher. Jacokes raised his hand in the box signaling for time out as Held lifted his leg and began his delivery. Though time was never actually called by the home plate umpire, Held dropped the ball while trying to stop his pitch. This should have been a balk that would have brought the tying run home. Fans started screaming and cheering as the runners started jogging to the next base, but they were quickly stopped. The home plate umpire claimed that Held’s flub was not a balk as time had been called, even though the umpire never actually signaled the timeout. Clearly, this explanation was not accepted by the Milford crowd as fans started booing and head coach Jeremy Krol ran over to argue the point with the home plate umpire. Unfortunately, the umpire held firm to his position and the Maverick baserunners returned to their previous bases. In what appeared to be an all-too-familiar story, the Mavericks got the short end of the stick in a crucial athletic matchup. Jacokes stepped back into the box after the call, hoping to make a huge impact. But then, as if the universe attempted to right the previous injustice, Jacokes was hit by Held’s next pitch. Runners advanced, Jacokes made his way to first base, and the game became tied 1-1. 

Will Colone then came to the plate with bases loaded and only one out, looking for the go-ahead hit. Colone took the first pitch for a ball and then tried to lay down a bunt for a safety squeeze. He pulled back and the count became 2-0. Colone stepped back in the batter’s box and Held stepped back on the mound. As Held came set and lifted his front leg, Colone signaled again for a bunt. First and third charged toward home, trying to save the day for Lakeland. Cologne’s bunt popped up and was caught by Lakeland’s catcher for the second out. Unfortunately, DeLand had made his way halfway down the third base line in a drastic attempt to score on Colone’s bunt. Realizing that the ball had been caught, DeLand quickly retreated to third as Lakeland’s catcher threw back to third in hopes of a double play. DeLand dove back into third as the catcher’s throw sailed over the third baseman and into left field. Coach Krol screamed for DeLand to head home on the error and Beyer raced after DeLand from second. Both Mavericks scored to give Milford a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh. When things could’ve been over quickly, the Mavericks turned it around and took the lead. A quick out sent them back out on defense to try and stop Lakeland, and take game one of their doubleheader.

As McLaughlin walked back out to the mound to throw his warm up pitches, you could feel the energy in the game. The defense was zoned in and Lakeland’s dugout was unusually quiet. The first batter for Lakeland hit a single into left field, putting a runner on first. The second batter hit another single into right-center, placing runners on first and second with no outs. In came Lakeland’s nine hitter Andrew Platt, who McLaughlin struck out after three failed bunt attempts. Lakeland’s leadoff hitter, Nolan Hull, worked the count but then lined out to shortstop when Beyer made a diving play for the second out. The Mavericks were one out away from beating Lakeland. Coach Krol then called time and walked out to the pitcher’s mound to talk with his players. He told them that they were playing great defense and only needed one more out. However, there was a problem. McLaughlin was at 100 pitches. The limit for a pitcher for one game is 105 pitches. He had only five pitches to retire Farquhar who had previously doubled and then scored to give Lakeland the lead

in the sixth. The Mavericks returned to their positions. McLaughlin immediately got back to work and got an early 0-2 count on Farquhar. The next two pitches were out of the strike zone and brought the count to 2-2. McLaughlin was now on his final pitch of the game. He came set with two runners on and threw the pitch. Farquhar swung and rolled over a ground ball to Jacokes at second. With a safety throw to first, the Mavericks had beaten Lakeland. 

Fans screamed and players yelled as Milford had taken down Lakeland in a close 3-1 game. Easy MVP of the game was Logan McLaughlin, who managed to get Farquhar out on his 105th pitch. This win demonstrated the resilience of this Milford team as they overcame a 1-0 deficit and, in their final at-bat, banded  together as brothers to win 3-1. In a strange coincidence, Milford would end up losing the second game of the doubleheader, 3-1. Still, for this team, it appears that anything is possible. The Mavericks will travel to Walled Lake Western on May 4th to play a doubleheader at 4pm and 6pm before returning home for a third game against Western on May 5th at 4pm. Be sure to come out and support the baseball team as they look to make a run for a district title.