Liggett softball ready to try to do some damage in 2016

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 5, 2016

 Liggett softball player Emily Kanakry is pictured during a game last season. Head coach Ted Alpert said he thinks Liggett is in “really good shape to make a strong tournament run.”

Liggett softball player Emily Kanakry is pictured during a game last season. Head coach Ted Alpert said he thinks Liggett is in “really good shape to make a strong tournament run.”

File photo by Sean Work

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Times have been pretty good for Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s softball team in recent years, as the Knights have advanced at least as far as the state quarterfinals of the postseason tournament in each of the last three seasons.

Although Liggett did graduate some talent from last season’s squad, the program is in a strong position to have another successful run in its 2016 campaign.

Aside from having a senior class that head coach Ted Alpert referred to as having a championship nucleus, Liggett has also added Grosse Pointe South transfer Emma St. John, a junior, to its pitching staff.

Alpert thinks that due to St. John being a power pitcher, having her in the circle can help take pressure off the team’s defense, particularly in close games.

Liggett, which will be looking to win its fourth consecutive division championship, has garnered enough respect to be ranked sixth in a preseason coaches meeting, according to Alpert.

He understands that his program is not likely to sneak up on anybody.

“The one thing I don’t like about being ranked highly is that then other teams prepare for you when you show up to their ballpark,” Alpert said. “I would much rather show up to a ballpark where the other team thinks that we’re going to be easily beaten, but I’m afraid that secret is out, that we’re not. We’ll continue to work hard, and I think that this may end up as one of our best seasons. We’ll see.”

While Alpert would prefer to fly under the radar, given the talent on his squad, his expectations are also high.

“We were in Orlando (Florida) for nine days,” he said. “We had to shake off the winter rust. But by the time we were doing situations on Friday, we looked like we were on our way to being ready to make a strong run this year. I think we’ll be OK. We haven’t answered all the questions on the positions yet, which is a good problem to have. Once we get those pieces of the puzzle fit together, I think we’ll be in really good shape to make a strong tournament run.”

Like her coach, senior captain and catcher Anna Majewski is also hoping to make a trip to East Lansing for a state final appearance.

“Our goals for the season are to win at least two tournaments that we’re in, and then to win our conference championship and states,” she said.

Alpert referred to Majewski and St. John as arguably “the best pitcher and catcher in Class C.”

Alpert also cited something pretty simple that could help the program achieve at the level he would like.

“One of the things that we talked about in spring training is to have an extraordinary season, we don’t need to do extraordinary things, we need to do ordinary things extraordinarily well,” he said. “So that every routine ground ball is an out, every at-bat is a quality at-bat, every pitch is a meaningful pitch. That’s really what we’re focusing on, is trying to do the everyday tasks in softball extraordinarily well.”

The 2016 season is already officially underway, and when it all wraps up in June, Alpert would like for Liggett to take its place among the best in the state.

“We cannot wait,” he said. “It can’t come soon enough. The other thing I find is that being in this program, we’re a small school in a small program. It’s a very intense experience. Any kind of situation where you are all in a very, very close relationship, sometimes there’s a little friction. One of the things that takes care of that friction is coming together to compete against other teams. Once that train leaves the station, all the other extraneous stuff that goes on in your program just falls away. Now everyone’s singular focus is on winning the next inning and winning the game you’re in. I would say we are all really excited and can’t wait to launch this rocket.”

Liggett’s senior class is made up of Majewski, Samantha Allen, Emily Kanakry and Kayla Strong.

Liggett is scheduled to play at 4:30 p.m. April 11 against Allen Park Cabrini at home.

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