Grosse Pointe South baseball wins D1 state championship

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 16, 2018

 The celebration was on for Grosse Pointe South's baseball team after beating Brownstown Woodhaven 8-1 in the Division 1 state final. It was South's second state championship in program history.

The celebration was on for Grosse Pointe South's baseball team after beating Brownstown Woodhaven 8-1 in the Division 1 state final. It was South's second state championship in program history.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

EAST LANSING — Earlier this year, Grosse Pointe South baseball coach Dan Griesbaum had a talk with his team.

 

He didn’t think they were getting respect, and he wanted them to know it.

 

Aside from not being ranked in the top 20 in the state in preseason rankings, Griesbaum said an opposing coach referred to his team as soft, and that he was the softest coach in the state.

 

On June 16 what Griesbaum was is the coach of the best Division 1 team in the state, as South beat Brownstown Woodhaven 8-1 in a state final at McLane Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University.

 

“This group, they’re the most confident group we’ve ever had,” Griesbaum said following the game. “They believed they could beat anybody. … They’re all just gutty, scrappy kids.”

 

After trailing 1-0 after the first inning via a home run by Woodhaven starting pitcher Colin Czajkowski, South went on to dominate.

 

After South scored its first run of the game on a Woodhaven error in the last half of the third, senior Anthony Dermanulian delivered what was perhaps the biggest hit of the game when he connected for a double that scored three runs.

 

South led 4-1 after three innings of play.

 

South added two more runs in the fourth after Czajkowski threw a ball that got by his catcher, and senior Giovanni Lutfy got an RBI on a sacrifice bunt.

 

South’s last two runs came in the sixth, via after a batter being hit by a pitch, and a sacrifice fly from senior Davis Graham.

 

Senior Cameron Shook pitched a complete game for South, giving up just one run on seven hits.

 

“It’s the best thing that’s happened to me so far in my life,” Shook said. “This group of guys is extremely close and I’m grateful for everything they’ve done to get this far. … They’re all my brothers. They’re all family to me, personally, and that’s what you need as a team to be a cohesive unit.”

 

The state final wasn’t the first time Shook has come up big for South in the postseason.

 

Despite missing some time during the regular season due to an injury, he was on the mound when South beat Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in a district final, before going on to help lead his team to victory in a quarterfinal against Macomb Dakota.

 

“When he dislocated his knee cap, we thought, ‘oh no, he’s done,’” Griesbaum said “When I got that text that Friday night before (the) district, said that he was ready to go, best text, obviously, I ever got in my life. He came out and pitched really well against Liggett — second rated team in the state. Him and (Nathan) Budziak have just been lights out since then.”

 

June 16 is a date that has special meaning for Griesbaum. Aside from Saturday being his and his wife Paulette’s 45th wedding anniversary, it is the same date South won the program’s other state title in 2001.

 

It was Griesbaum’s 35th season as South’s coach, and he discussed where this one ranks for him.

 

“It’s certainly up there,” Griesbaum said. “I think with what we had to overcome and the type of kids we have, this is the highlight.”

 

South finished 33-12, which Griesbaum said is a school record.