Liggett baseball wins CHSL C-D title

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 24, 2019

 Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's Alec Azar throws a pitch against Riverview Gabriel Richard in the Catholic High School League C-D Division title game May 24. Azar had 11 strikeouts in the game.

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's Alec Azar throws a pitch against Riverview Gabriel Richard in the Catholic High School League C-D Division title game May 24. Azar had 11 strikeouts in the game.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

DETROIT –– Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett and Riverview Gabriel Richard split four games on the diamond this year, so it was only fitting that the two were able to battle for a fifth time.

The two clubs met May 24 at Comerica Park with the winner being crowned Catholic High School League C-D Division champion.

With a title up for grabs, the Knights put Alec Azar on the mound, and he didn’t disappoint. The righty tossed a complete-game shutout and collected 11 strikeouts.

Thanks to Azar’s gem and a couple of RBI hits from Logan King and Azar, Liggett inched past Gabriel Richard 2-0 to claim its first CHSL C-D Division title.

“We knew all their hitters pretty well,” Azar said. “The coaches went over it with me before and the approaches we need to have. Little shift here and there, but I just tried to go out there and have fun, and trust myself and trust my defense and throw a good game.”

Although Liggett has taken a 3-2 edge in the season series, this might not be the last time these two teams meet. Both were ranked in the top five in Division 3 in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association May 22 poll.

And the Knights welcome another matchup with the Pioneers. With the teams on opposite sides of the bracket, they couldn’t meet until the state championship. The Pioneers are the defending D-3 state champs.

“Why wouldn’t we want two teams, if we can, from our conference meeting in a state championship game? It would be great,” Liggett coach Dan Cimini said.

Cimini said they would take the Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the win and then start focusing on the playoffs the upcoming week. Cimini said his team's confidence level is high entering the state playoffs.

The Knights will open district play at 10 a.m. June 1 at home against New Haven High. Should they win that game, Liggett would take on the winner of Clinton Township Clintondale and Marine City at 2 p.m. the same day for the district title.

“We’re very confident,” Cimini said. “I had a long talk with the team yesterday, and we’ve been winning a lot of games lately against really good programs. We just got to play our game and not worry about who we’re playing, and just worry about what we’re doing.”