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Caleb Breining of Napoleon High School concentrates on a pitch during the Cascades Conference Baseball Tournament final at Michigan Center on Monday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(May 23, 2022 10:17 PM) Napoleon High School’s varsity baseball team may have lost the Cascades Conference baseball finals … a month ago.

Michigan Center loaded the bases with only one out in the final half inning, but Jason Negus slammed the door for Napoleon with a pair of strikeouts. The Pirates defeated Michigan Center 3-2 in the conference tournament final at MCHS on Monday.

Napoleon Coach Jeff Mohr said the Pirates lost a number of games like that one earlier in the season.

“We are getting hot at the right time of the season,” Mohr said. “Our players are learning how to gut out wins and our seniors are stepping up.”

Cascades Conference coaches decided to play single conference games this season and host a tournament the last week of the season. Grass Lake was the No. 1 overall seed, but a loss to Napoleon in the semifinal round of the tournament to turn everything upside down in the conference.

Michigan Center was the No. 2 seed and earned at least a share of the title by finishing second in the conference tournament. 

Grass Lake has one conference game remaining – against East Jackson – and can early a share of the title with a win. 

Napoleon will finish third in the conference, thanks to a win in the conference tournament.

The Pirates scored early on a home run by Negus in the first inning. Michigan Center tied the game at one all in the first inning.

The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a double by Kaydin Hiland and a single by Noah Mast. 

But Napoleon scored single runs in the fourth and fifth inning to pull ahead. Caleb Breining knocked in a run for Napoleon in the fourth inning and Hartley Marvin provided the winning run in the fifth inning with a single. 

Michigan Center loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning with only one out. Negus struck out two consecutive batters to earn the save.

Grant Bradley pitched six innings for the Pirates, striking out 10 batters in a pitcher’s duel. 

Jed Falasco struck out eight batters for Michigan Center.

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