NOVI — Even in defeat, Center Line High baseball coach Rob Conti said he was proud of his team.
The Panthers, which lost 7-0 to Richmond in a 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state quarterfinal, made their deepest postseason run since 2005.
“(Richmond) is 33-4 for a reason,” said Conti, who guided Center Line to D-2 district and regional titles. “We had a nice run. We started the tournament 13-10. For us to be 17-11 when it’s all over and win a district and a regional — they should be proud of their efforts.
“They (Richmond) scored seven, but five were unearned. It would have been a heck of a lot different if it was 2-0, but it wasn’t. I don’t know if I’d feel any better about losing 2-0 as opposed to 7-0, but I don’t feel good about either now.”
Conti, in his second season with the Panthers, said 13 of 18 players should return next season. He added what this year’s group accomplished is great for the program.
“It’s great experience for a lot of the players,” Conti said. “I don’t think anybody in the state thought we’d get this far, so it’s exciting for them. It’s sad to see the seniors go, but hopefully we’re building something for the future.”
Center Line bested St. Clair Shores South Lake and South Lyon East to win D-2 district and regional titles, respectively.
The Panthers’ softball team (19-7) saw its season end in a 10-0 loss to Livonia Ladywood in a D-2 regional final played June 8 at Dearborn Edsel Ford. Ladywood went on to beat St. Clair High 2-0 in a state quarterfinal.
Cousino falls in regional final
The Warren Cousino baseball program won its first league title since 1994 and first D-1 district title since 2005 before falling 10-2 to Sterling Heights Stevenson in a D-1 regional final played June 8 at Anchor Bay High School.
The Patriots end the season at 23-10 and finally broke through to win the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division title after finishing second in league play five straight years.
The Patriots bested Warren Woods Tower (15-16) 1-0 in a regional semifinal played June 8 at Anchor Bay.
“It was a tough loss, but (Stevenson) is a really good team,” Patriots coach Justin Newcomb said following the regional final. “Our kids could have folded, but they didn’t.”
Stevenson went on to beat the University of Detroit Jesuit Academy 10-7 in a state quarterfinal played June 11 at Wayne State University.
Newcomb said 2013 was a special season for the baseball program. He said Cousino would look for returning players to continue what this year’s team has built.
“I’m proud of everything they did this year,” Newcomb said. “It was a great season, regardless of how it ended. There’s only one team standing at the end of the year, and there’s a lot that get started. I can’t say enough good things about this group.”