Of the close to 200 Division 4 high school baseball teams that competed in Michigan this spring, only one finished higher than Plymouth Christian Academy.
But. Just. Barely.
Beal City took advantage of two sixth-inning fielding miscues to edge the Eagles, 2-1, in the June 17 state championship game played on the campus of Michigan State University.
PCA — which has won six consecutive district tournaments but had never advanced past the quarterfinals prior to this season — earned serious praise from Beal City Head Coach Brad Antclif, who told the Detroit Free Press: “Sometimes the best team doesn’t win and … you go ‘What just happened?’ and that was today.”
The setback was tough to swallow in the moments after the final pitch, but it couldn’t diminish PCA’s best season ever.
“Obviously we were bummed out after the loss, but once we had time to let everything settle, we realized what an amazing season we had,” said Tyler Scott, the Eagles’ sophomore starting pitcher in the title game.
The Eagles, who finished with a 34-8 record, were recognized at the June 27 Plymouth Township Board of Trustees meeting.
“We thank you for representing our community,” said Trustee John Stewart, who arranged for the recognition. “We are very proud of you. You’ve created lifetime memories.”
PCA Head Coach Joe Bottorff, who has led the program since 2007, said the team has come a long way over the years.
They’ve come a long way
“Back when the school first opened, we only played about 15 games a year,” Bottorff said. “But as the school and team grew, we added more games because the players we had could support that amount of baseball.
“I’ve won 221 games as head coach, but 85 of those have come in the last three years, so the level of baseball at Plymouth Christian has really ramped up.”
Bottorff said he could feel the momentum building toward this season during the past few years.
“We had eight seniors this year — five who started in addition to our No. 1 sub — so we had a ton of experience,” he said. “All of the seniors had been playing since they were sophomores — and Jordan Scott was eligible this season after sitting out last year as a transfer (from Detroit Catholic Central).
“We had two freshmen starters, but they had both played a ton of travel baseball. They were young, but with a lot of experience. It was one of those things where our players weren’t fazed by anything.”
Four Eagles earned Division 4 All-State honors: Tyler and Jordan Scott; Noah Etnyre and Micah Lavigne.