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June 14, 2013

One-run game puts Liggett baseball in D-4 final for third straight season

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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One-run game puts Liggett baseball in D-4 final for third straight season
Nick Azar's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning was all Liggett needed in a 1-0 victory Friday in the D-4 semifinals.

BATTLE CREEK — Had he picked it up and rolled the ball down the line, it may not have fallen as perfect as it did.

At least that’s what Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett baseball coach Dan Cimini said of Mark Evan Auk’s sixth-inning bunt Friday afternoon in the Division 4 semifinals against New Lothrop High.

“He’s probably got between 30 and 40 hits like that in four years,” Cimini gushed.

None have been bigger than this.

Entrenched in a scoreless tie, Auk’s bunt proved to be the difference, as the Knights beat New Lothrop 1-0 and grabbed a spot in Saturday’s final for the third straight season.

“It was the perfect bunt,” Cimini said smiling. “You really couldn’t have rolled it better.”

Auk easily reached first on the play, and then on a pair of wild pitches found himself at third base.

Nick Azar brought him home moments later on a sacrifice fly, and Connor Fannan’s one-hit gem from the mound made the run stand up.

“We came into this knowing it’d be a good game,” Cimini said. “I loved how we pitched, and really liked how we played defense.”

As for Fannan, who allowed just an infield single while striking out eight?

“He was on point,” Cimini said simply. “He hits his spots. He kept it low. I’m so proud.”

Liggett (30-4) will now play in the D-4 final for the third straight season.

The 2011 champs lost last year’s game 4-1 to Decatur High, but that means little right now.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with these guys,” Cimini said. “We’re going to come out and give it our all, whoever we play. If we lose, then there’s a team that deserved to beat us. I’m going to be proud of these kids, no matter what.”

Liggett faces Beal City (34-2) or Maple City Glen Lake (28-7) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at C.O. Brown Stadium.

New Lothrop finishes 25-6.

In D-4 softball action, Liggett’s squad fell to Ubly High 8-6 in a semifinal.

The Knights end 2013 with a 27-5 record.

 

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.