By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
A thousand words is the old adage. But a photo from the MHSAA Baseball Semifinals just more than a week ago told a story of 13 years of friendship.
The shot of Grand Rapids Catholic Central catcher Luke Passinault embracing relief pitcher Joe Collins after the Cougars’ 3-2 win June 13 at McLane Stadium was not unlike many celebrating the thrill of victory during the final sports weekend of the 2018-19 school year.
But it caught the attention of Karla Collins, Joe’s mother, who recalled a similar keepsake of the now-seniors celebrating a soccer win when they were 5 years old.
Passinault and Joe Collins have been best friends since kindergarten and teammates since that time as well in baseball, soccer, basketball and football. They suited up together as juniors for the GRCC football team that won the Division 4 championship at Ford Field, and nearly capped their high school careers with what would’ve been the school’s first baseball title since 1985.
Although the Cougars came up one win short – losing to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 8-1 in the championship game – the runner-up finish was the program’s best on the diamond since 2003. Just getting to the season’s final day was no doubt sweeter as the Cougars entered the postseason unranked.
Passinault and Collins will continue as friends, of course, but teammates as well despite concluding their GRCC careers. They’ll be playing football together beginning this fall at Division III power John Carroll University in Ohio.
PHOTO: GRCC catcher Luke Passinault, left, embraces pitcher Joe Collins after their team defeated Trenton in a Division 2 Semifinal two weekends ago.