Manistee Saints win NABF regional, earn trip to World Series tourney

MANISTEE – When the dust settled at Rietz Park on Saturday afternoon, the Manistee Saints defeated the Flint Legends in back-to-back contests, including an 11-1 regional tournament mercy-rule victory as they punched their ticket to the NABF World Series, which starts in Battle Creek on Aug. 4.

However, Manistee entered its home field against the ropes.

Having lost to the Legends Friday morning, the Saints needed two wins to oust Flint and seal a second consecutive regional tourney victory alongside a trip to the world series.

In turn, player-manager Roddy MacNeil put Kyle Gorski on the mound. He lasted four and a third innings, allowing six hits and zero runs while striking out five.

Tommy Reid cleaned the rest up with 2.2 innings pitched, leading to a 7-3 opening win. Offensively, the Saints totaled nine hits, featuring a 3-for-5 day from the eventual tournament’s most valuable player, Sam Schmitt.

Over the course of three days, Schmitt logged six hits and eight walks. He also earned a 1-0 win over the Midland Tribe, where he tossed seven innings and recorded 11 strikeouts.

“He threw a complete game shutout to start the tournament,” MacNeil said. “We feel really lucky and happy to have someone like that. He’s one of those guys who is transitioning into more of a leader and role model for these young guys.”

The Saints held a 2-1 advantage in the nightcap before Danny Passinault launched a ball over the fence for a three-run homer. That momentum paved the way for Manistee’s game clinching six-run fifth inning.

“We had a lot of guys that were really seeing the ball well today,” MacNeil said. “Obviously, they wanted to jump on it and set the tone early, and they did that in game one. We knew we were in for a long day … the fact that we were able to win both of those is great.

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