Let’s face it, most seniors around this time of year already have one foot out the door and Father Gabriel Richard senior Matthew Granzotto is certainly one of them. One foot is already wearing a cleat ready to play shortstop or wherever the Hillsdale College baseball coach finds a spot for him next year. Part of his mind also has left the building as Granzotto is already taking college-level classes and padding his already 4.0 grade-point average.
But we are here to talk about the other foot – the one firmly planted at Father Gabriel Richard High School. And, yeah, the one wearing the ice skate.
While baseball is clearly his go-to sport, Granzotto isn’t mailing it in as a member of the varsity hockey team. He’s all-in. And if you know Matthew Granzotto, if he’s in, he’s ALL in.
“He’s an outstanding baseball player and he deserves a lot of credit for not letting his future in baseball interfere from his enjoyment or commitment to hockey,” says FGR/Greenhills hockey coach Anthony Lietz.
READ ABOUT FGR/GREENHILLS GREAT SEASON AT: https://weloveannarbor.com/2018/02/22/fgr-greenhills-hockey-accomplishing-big-goals-with-small-numbers/
The hockey team has only 13 players on the roster but the Irish won the Catholic League Division 2 title last Saturday with a 5-1 win over Allen Park Cabrini. And they owe a lot of their success to the captain of the ship.
“A lot of new guys have really stepped up this year,” says Granzotto who has 29 assists on the season and deserves another one for passing along the credit to his teammates. “We lost six or seven seniors who played a big role on the team last year so a lot of new guys have really filled those roles including Aidan Brewer (34 goals on the season, tied for seventh in the state).
“A lot has happened during the year and we’ve had some injuries but I’m just so proud of everyone on the team for sticking together and moving on and just focusing on playing hockey.”
Granzotto is third on the team with 15 goals including both goals in Wednesday’s hard-fought 4-2 loss to Saline. He also has a team-best 29 assists, including seven games with multiple assists for 44 points.
“Matt has had a great year playing excellent two-way hockey for us,” says Lietz. “We wouldn’t be as successful without him on the team. He played last year with his brother Scott, who was one of the top goal scorers in the state. Matt’s strength is two-way hockey.”
He’s also been an effective leader as the team captain and only senior on the roster.
“He’s a quiet guy who leads by example,” Lietz says. “His hockey IQ is a few years ahead of everyone. He comes from a AAA hockey background.”
Wearing the “C” has been an honor he doesn’t take lightly.
“I try to set an example for others by just trying to be the best player I can,” he says. “I’m not very vocal but I try to be a good person and hope my teammates follow along. We have a small team but it’s a good group of people.”
Granzotto and his teammates are gearing up for the state playoffs which begin for the Irish on Tuesday, Feb. 27 against Chelsea. When hockey is done, Granzotto will hang up his skates and pick up his cleats, glove and bat and head over to the baseball diamond where has shined like a diamond during his career at FGR.
“Baseball has been a lot of fun and I’m really excited about this year,” says Granzotto, who plays shortstop and leads off the batting order for the Fighting Irish. As a junior last year, the speedy Granzotto was All-Catholic League, All-District and Academic All-State – he has a GPA over 4.0.
Granzotto started playing travel baseball at the age of 8. He first played with the Northville Broncos and will join a few of his FGR teammates on the South Oakland A’s this summer.
Matt’s brother, Scott, was a scoring machine for the hockey team last year and an excellent pitcher on the baseball team during his FGR career. He now plays baseball at Eastern Michigan.
Matt also will take his baseball talents to the next level. “There was just so much to like about Hillsdale,” he said of his collegiate decision. “It feels like family to me. It feels like home. The people there are incredible and I’m excited about going there.”
But there is still some unfinished business at Father Gabriel Richard. He still has at least one foot firmly planted in the school.
“We lost a lot of seniors off last year’s team but we have a good group coming back,” he said of this year’s FGR baseball team. “We haven’t talked about our goals yet for this year but I think we have a good chance at winning the Catholic League and making a nice run in the playoffs.”
Before the baseball playoffs come the hockey playoffs. And while Chelsea is always one of the best teams in the state and won their conference again this year, the Bulldogs better not take the Irish for granted. Because Granzotto and his teammates wouldn’t mind lacing up their skates a few more times this season.
Main “trophy” photo by Michelle Groe