Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s baseball team captured what coach Dan Cimini said is the program’s fourth regional championship in the last six years with a 2-0 victory against Allen Park Inter-City Baptist in a Division 4 regional final at Liggett June 8.
The 2011 D-4 state champs and 2012 state runners-up got a home run from Mark Evan Auk in the first inning to give Liggett an early 1-0 lead, which proved to be enough to allow the Knights to advance to the quarterfinals, which was scheduled to be played June 11, after press time, against Concord at Adrian College.
A combined pitching effort from Adam Fiema and Auk helped keep the Chargers off the scoreboard.
Cimini provided some thoughts as to how the Knights were able to lay claim to another regional championship.
“Perseverance,” he said following the game. “Expecting to win every game when we step on the field. Whether we win 2-0, 12-0 or 15-0, we expect to win all the time. I think that helps us in big games like this.”
While the expectation to win may be a standard that has been established for Liggett’s program, its experience at the regionals also could help provide a coaching lesson for Cimini.
“A day like this shows we still have to play baseball,” he said. “We can’t just come out and beat teams up. We’ve done it in the past, but this is the playoffs. Bottom line is, every team that comes and fights us, they’re trying to knock us off. It’s tough to win those games, but we do.”
Connor Fannon took the mound for Liggett in its 2-1 regional semifinal victory against Royal Oak Shrine, which ended with the Knights throwing out a runner at home plate.
The Knights’ senior, who is slated to pitch for Oakland University next season, offered up some reasons as to why he thinks Liggett has been so successful.
“We’ve been playing great defense,” he said. “Pitching’s been where it needs to be … our fielding, too. Playing well.”
As nice of an accomplishment as a regional title may be, after already having shown itself capable of achieving even more, Cimini’s goals for Liggett baseball don’t end there.
“Our goal’s to make it to Battle Creek, and that’s been our goal since beginning of the year,” he said. “It’s been our goal last five, six, seven years.”
The winner of the quarterfinals advances to the state semifinals, scheduled for 4 p.m. June 14 at Bailey Park in Battle Creek. The D-4 state final is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 15 at C.O. Brown Stadium, also in Battle Creek.
In other baseball action:
Grosse Pointe South’s season came to an end via a 4-3 loss to Detroit U-D Jesuit in a Division 1 regional final game June 8 at South.
South defeated Livonia Stevenson 2-0 in its regional semifinal.