Decatur baseball team ‘right where we are expected to be’ after Division 3 semifinal win

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EAST LANSING — Decatur junior pitcher Cody Huston knew it was his time to shine. With two on and two outs, Decatur was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning with Gladstone (29-5) in a Division 3 baseball state semifinal.


Huston, who greeted reporters with an ice bag on his shoulder, had pitched a one-hitter on the mound, but the Raiders needed his services just one more time.


“I thought it’s my time to step up and help my team out,” he said. “They had my back the whole game, and it was my turn to step up and show them what’s it all about.”


Huston smacked a single into left field to drive in Carter Smith to give Decatur (24-6) the 2-1 eight-inning win Friday at McLane Stadium.


Decatur faces the winner of Reese and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in the Division 3 state final at 5 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium.


As if Huston hadn’t done enough in the game — he finished with five strikeouts and two walks on the mound and was 1 of 4 at the plate — the junior said he would have stayed in as long as possible.


“I could have gone as many (innings) as my team needed me to go,” he said.


Decatur, which has seven juniors, five of which are starters, is playing in Division 3 for the first time this season moving up from Division 4.


Huston said he wants to continue the winning tradition at Decatur, which has won four state titles in the past 15 years.


“This is right we are expected to be,” Huston said. “We are right in the right spot at the right time. We are returning eight or nine next year, and we are looking to come get another one.”


However, before he starts thinking about next year, Huston knows there is one more team to get through.


“It feels pretty good right now,” Huston said, “but we still got to go out and get things done (Saturday) — play defense and hit the ball well.”


Decatur coach Ben Botti said losing didn’t seem like a possibility, even though Decatur had blown a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh.


“Losing never crossed my mind,” he said. “That was not an option. I figured the kids would pull it out.”


Despite having more juniors on the team than seniors, Botti said this is a solid team.


“They’ve been playing together for a long time,” he said. “We started them with travel ball when they were little. All of these kids — there is not a kid on here that we didn’t coach in little league.


“… Are we here a year early? I don’t know, maybe. But we might be better next year. We’ve got everybody coming back basically.”


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