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Posted on Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

Huron baseball wins one-run games against Skyline, Dexter to win district

By Pete Cunningham


Members of the Huron High School baseball team have embraced the role of the forgotten team for their entire careers. The River Rats officially shed that persona on Saturday by winning a pair of one-run games to win a Division 1 district championship in front of their home crowd.
Huron watched its four-run lead dwindle down to one in the sixth inning against crosstown rival Skyline, but was able to hold on for a 4-3 win in the finals. The River Rats were already conditioned for the down-to-wire atmosphere, having beat Dexter 3-2 in walk-off fashion in their semifinal game.

“We’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the season. Just getting that district championship, getting to regionals and just taking care of business,” Huron senior Demetrius Sims said after the wins.

Huron has been the “other” team in the Ann Arbor area for years, with Saline and Pioneer occupying the role of traditional powers and Skyline being the upstart program.

More coverage: Huron vs. Skyline Boxscore | Huron vs. Dexter Boxscore | Bracket

The River Rats had their moment in the sun on Saturday.

“We’ve definitely embraced the idea that we’re not going to get as much publicity as the Salines and the Pioneers. We feel we’re just as good if we’re playing like we can,” said senior Domenic DiGiovine, who got the win for Huron on the mound. “We’ve sort of been thinking about this since we were freshmen. Win a district championship, win a regional, see how far we can go.


Huron's Nasheed Bass dives to make a catch during the fourth inning of the district finals against Skyline, Saturday, June 1.

Courtney Sacco |

“It feels really good to finally, as seniors, win one for Huron.”

DiGiovine pitched six innings to earn the win, giving up three runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout. DiGiovine was 3-for-6 at the plate on the day and scored a run against Dexter.

“Dom had a great day for us. He had some huge hits for us and obviously pitched a great game,” Huron coach Terry Bigham said. “He’s been one of our horses all year. His record doesn’t necessarily reflect it, but we have confidence in him every time he steps on the mound.”

Huron scored a pair of runs in the second inning and again in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead in the championship game, but led off the top sixth inning by allowing a pair of walks. Skyline (18-8) was able to bring one run home and scored two more on a throwing error later in the inning.

DiGiovine got out of the inning and Bobby Knutilla came in for the save in one inning of relief work.

“Dom kind of lost it there for a minute and we made a big error and kind of let them back in the game,” Bigham said. “Same thing (as against Dexter), the kids buckled down and were able to take it in the seventh.”

The throwing error in the seventh was Huron’s only error the entire day.

“They played so good defensively,” said Skyline coach Frank Garcia. “We didn’t field every ball that we should have and it cost us a few runs.”

After Huron took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning against Dexter, Dreadnaught pitcher Cole Rize helped his own cause with a towering home run just inside the left field foul pole to tie the game at 2-2 in the seventh. Nasheed Bass hit a ground ball to the Dreadnaughts shortstop with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, but the throw to the plate wasn’t in time.

Nasheed Bass's game-winning hit vs. Dexter:

Joe Cleary got the win in the semifinal, going seven innings while allowing six hits, striking out two and walking two.

“That first game, Joe Cleary did a great job coming in after the home run and being able to shut ‘em down,” Bigham said. “It’s tough to give up a home run in that situation and he was able to give us a chance to win it in the seventh and the kids came through.”

Rize drove in both of Dexter’s runs in the opener. Skyline advanced to the final with a 1-0 win over Pinckney in the early semifinal.

Huron (22-13) will play Howell at Grand Ledge High School on Saturday in a regional semifinal game. Grand Ledge and the winner of Portage Northern district will play in the other semifinal.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 12:45 a.m.

Go Rats !!