SALINE, Mich. — The Bedford baseball hit parade and pitching juggernaut continue to flourish.
The Mules rolled through the Saline regional Saturday, easily dispatching their two opponents by a combined score of 22-1 to claim their second regional title in three years.
Bedford pounded Allen Park 12-1 in the semifinals and then clobbered Southgate Anderson 10-0 in six innings for the championship.
“Just a great job today,” Bedford coach Craig Trychel said. “They [executed] in all phases of the game. We hit the ball, we did a good job baserunning, we got bunts down when we needed it, our pitching was outstanding, and our defense played really well. I can’t say enough about how well we played.”
In their five playoff games, the Mules (34-6) have outscored their competition 51-6 and racked up 63 hits, an average of almost 13 per contest.
Add in some overpowering pitching and sharp defense, which committed just two errors between both games Saturday, and it’s easy to see why Bedford looks unstoppable right now.
“We’re really hitting the ball, and the pitching has been good,” Bedford pitcher/shortstop Dan Przeniczny said. “We’re really rolling, so hopefully it keeps up.”
Przeniczny (8-2), a senior right-hander, went the distance in the victory over Allen Park (20-10-1), and senior left-hander Trent Szkutnik (11-1) followed with a two-hit shutout against Anderson (23-13).
Szkutnik didn’t surrender a hit until the fourth inning and finished with nine strikeouts. He also retired the side in order in four of the six innings he was on the mound.
“I came in mentally prepared,” Szkutnik said. “I just wanted to throw strikes and have really good command of my fastball as well as my curveball. I also tried to change the eye level of the batters, which really gave them a hard time getting set and getting comfortable. They were seeing a different pitch every time.”
Jared Kujawa kept the rally going with a triple over the center fielder’s head that plated Blake and Troy Przybylek, and he scored on Przeniczny’s triple on a ball hit to nearly the same exact spot in center field. Jackson Lamb’s sac fly to right field brought home Przeniczny, and after Kyle Kuhr was hit by a pitch and Szkutnik doubled to left-center field, Mills plated both of them with his game-ending liner to the gap.
“We’re really being aggressive at the plate,” Przeniczny said. “When the pitch is there, we’re hitting it.”
Against Allen Park, the Mules went ahead 2-0 in the second inning after Szkutnik scored on a throwing error by the catcher, and Mills came home on Przybylek’s RBI bloop single to right.
Bedford added another run in the third on Przeniczny’s sacrifice fly to left that scored Kujawa, then opened the spigot with five runs in the fourth. Mills opened the scoring by coming across on an error by the second baseman, and Przeniczny and Lamb took care of the rest. Przeniczny pounded a two-run double off the wall in right, and Lamb sent the very next pitch over the wall in right-center to extend Bedford’s lead to 8-1.
The Mules tacked on two more runs in the sixth and seventh innings for good measure.
“They’re getting the job done and having fun,” Trychel said of his players. “They just went out and played, and that’s how you get it done. They played relaxed, and you play better when you’re relaxed.”
Bedford next plays at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a state quarterfinal at the University of Michigan’s Ray Fisher Stadium against the winner of the University of Detroit Jesuit regional.
SOFTBALL LOSES: The Bedford softball team fell 14-4 to Allen Park Saturday in a Division 1 regional semifinal here.
Bedford committed six errors in the contest, and the Lady Jaguars totaled 16 hits. The Mules were behind 14-2 before scratching out two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
“Boy, they could hit,” Bedford coach Chelsey Labadie said of Allen Park. “All season I said we have the best defense of anybody, and I still believe that. But it’s hard when the hitters keep finding the gaps.”
Bedford ends its season with a 27-12 record.
Contact Zach Silka at: email@example.com or 419-724-6084.