Lumen Christi Follows Early Lead to D3 Win
Lumen Christi Follows Early Lead to D3 Win
Baseball
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2015

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Before John Fleming took the mound, he was already a touchdown ahead.

When he left it a couple hours later, he and his Jackson Lumen Christi teammates were Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 baseball champions.

Fleming, a junior right-hander, fashioned a four-hitter, and the Titans rode their early lead to an 8-0 victory over Buchanan on Saturday at Michigan State’s McLane Baseball Stadium.

The victory gave Lumen Christi – which entered the MHSAA tournament with a 16-16 record – its first championship since 1978.

“We play in a really tough conference,” Lumen Christi coach Phil Clifford said. “We play Division 2, Division 1 teams all year. We think it’s vital to our preparation as a team so that when we get to the tournament we feel like we’re ready. It’s the schedule, really. That helps us.”

A six-run first inning doesn’t hurt the cause, either. The Titans (24-16) sent 11 hitters to the plate and collected six hits off Buchanan starter Dalton Riddle. A two-run single by Connor Mogle and a two-run triple by Connor Fors were the big blows.

“They got around on some good fastballs on Dalton and they hit them hard,” said third-year Buchanan coach Lonnie Hoover, who had the Bucks (24-8) in an MHSAA title game for the first time since 1985. “I think we’ll be back here next year, and we’ll have a lot more experience coming back here. We’ll be back and we’ll be better and stronger.”

A Mogle RBI single in the second inning upped the lead to 7-0, and from there Fleming cruised as his teammates made all the plays behind him in turning in an error-free performance.

He was a model of efficiency, throwing just 87 pitches (54 for strikes). He struck out two, walked just one, and rarely did the Bucks manage to hit a ball sharply.

“My plan is to always pound the strike zone, change speeds, hit spots, throw what coach tells me to throw,” he said. “My guys on defense – I can throw strikes and they’re going to make a play for me.” 

Mogle and Chad Thayer led Lumen Christi’s 15-hit attack with three each.

Click for the box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) A Lumen Christi runner beats a throw into third base during Saturday’s Division 3 championship game while Buchanan’s Gavin Morris prepares to collect the relay. (Middle) The Titans celebrate their first baseball title since 1978.


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