EAST LANSING — Fueled by pitchers Matthew Hoover and Macoy West and infielder Cade Preising, Buchanan defeated Detroit Edison 3-1 to win the Michigan high school baseball Division 3 state championship Saturday.
The Bucks were outhit, 6-5, by the Pioneers at McLane Stadium but committed just one error to Edison’s four. The title is Buchanan’s first since winning the Class C championship in 1985.
The win was especially sweet for Hoover, whose father Lonnie is now an assistant for the Bucks but was their head coach when they finished runner up in 2015.
“This meant the world to us,” Hoover said. “I just didn’t want it to end, but at least it ended on a happy note. I’ve been playing with these guys since I was 8, so it’s good to finally just win it all.”
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Hoover and West tallied two hits apiece while Preising walked three times, stole two bases and scored all three Buchanan runs. Jordan Jones added two hits for Detroit Edison.
Right-hander Greg Pace, a Michigan commit and potential 2022 MLB draft pick, pitched for Edison. He allowed two runs over five innings on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
Buchanan countered with Hoover, a right-handed Western Michigan commit, who pitched 5⅔ innings with seven strikeouts and allowed four hits and one run.
“I was so nervous,” Hoover said. “We had two good communities here cheering on a good game of baseball. I’ve never played in front of so many people. Their fans made it intense with just cheering on their boys. It was really fun to play ’em.”
Edison nearly had a loud start to the scoring when Caleb Sanders smoked a pitch to left in the bottom of the second. The ball appeared to hit the yellow line signaling a home run atop the fence before bouncing back into play, but after conferencing, umpires kept Sanders at second.
“That was a home run!” one fan shouted from the stands, frustrated with the outcome.
Fortunately for that Edison supporter, Marwynn Matthews singled to left-center immediately to score Sanders.
Buchanan battled back in the top of the third after Pressing walked with two outs. Hoover then lined an RBI double to left that knotted the score at 1-1.
“He’s a very important part of our team,” West said of Hoover. “And he’s one of the most talented baseball players in Michigan, in my opinion.”
His slide into second, bloodied Hoover’s arm but he returned to the mound after being examined. With two outs in the bottom of the third, he beaned Sanders to load the bases.
Hoover worked out of the jam by getting Matthews to ground out to short. Prissing’s throw narrowly beat a sliding Matthews to first base.
The top of the fifth produced a near-repeat of the third. After Preising walked with two outs and stole second, Hoover smashed an RBI double, this time to right-center, and put the Bucks up, 2-1.
“Like we say all the time, just get runners on for me, me and (Murphy Wegner) will execute, we’ll get him in,” Hoover said of Preising setting the table. “(Preissing) played a hell of a game getting on every time, not base hits, but those runs obviously meant the game. And he also had an incredible play at shortstop, and it was so fun to watch him play.”
In the top of the sixth, left-hander Kole Waterman relieved pace and pitched the final two innings, ceding one run on one hit and two walks with one strikeout.
Buchanan took a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh off an RBI single from West, scoring Preissing after his third walk.
The right-handed West entered for Buchanan in the sixth inning and pitched a scoreless frame. Then Bucks coach Jim Brawley returned Hoover to the mound to close in the seventh, but after he exceeded his pitch limit, West re-entered to record the final out.
“Well, I know there’s a lot of pressure, but I’ve trained for it my whole life,” West said. “All of us together, we put in countless hours to be where we were.”
With the Pioneers’ defeat, a public school from Detroit still has yet to win a state championship in baseball. West threw his glove in celebration after striking out Sanders to end it.
“I dreamed about it as a kid laying in my bed,” West said, “And the fact that I got to live it is just crazy to me.”
Contact Mason Young: MEYoung@freepress.com Follow him on Twitter: @Mason_Young_0