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Grosse Pointe Woods, Royal Oak

Liggett baseball continues trek to Battle Creek, rolls to Division 4 quarterfinal with impressive regional title

June 9, 2012

» click to enlarge «
Liggett freshman Nicholas Azar slides safely into third during a D-4 regional final against Shrine. Liggett won the game 12-0, thanks in part to six RBI from Azar.

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — There was a mini scare, if you can even call it that.

Then, the Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett baseball team did what its done all year.

Liggett continued its defense of the 2011 Division 4 title, rolling past Royal Oak Shrine 12-0 in a June 9 regional final at home.

“It was a great game,” coach Dan Cimini said. “Shrine’s a good baseball team, one that can hit and pitch well, and we knew that coming in. But when you hit the way we did today, there’re not many teams that can beat us.”

Senior Alex Daar got Liggett going right off the bat, singling and later scoring in the top of the first inning.

In the third, Mark Van Auk doubled and scored on a Daar double. Daar scored later in the inning and Liggett led 3-0 after three.

But the fourth was the put-away frame.

Sophomore Cole Zingas started the inning with a double and scored on a Nate Gaggin single. After Van Auk reached on a bunt single, freshman Nicholas Azar ripped a two-RBI double. He finished the day with six RBI.

By the time the inning ended, Liggett led 7-0 and was officially in cruise control.

“We were a little out of it today,” said Shrine coach Dan Noble, whose guys beat Lutheran Westland 13-3 in the semifinal and end the year 24-8. “We kicked the ball around too much, weren’t strong enough defensively, and just couldn’t get the offense going. Those aren’t good combinations in a game this big.”

While Liggett’s offense pounded the ball, adding another run in the fifth and four more in the seventh, Daar was nearly lights out from the mound.

The right-hander went the distance, allowing just three hits while striking out 10 to earn the win.

“I had to battle today,” he said. “Shrine is a team that forces you to really work, but this is a huge win for us. It’s a great day.”

Liggett, which snuck past Allen Park Inter-City Baptist 3-1 in the semifinal, moves on to a June 12 quarterfinal at Novi High against New Lothrop High at 3 p.m.

“We’re having fun right now,” Cimini said. “This is a great group of guys that’s doing some good things.”

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