EAST LANSING – Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett scored early, often, and consistently in rolling to a 12-0 victory over New Lothrop in the Division 3 baseball state championship Saturday at Michigan State.
The Knights (32-4) earned their fourth championship in six seasons by scoring twice in the first and second innings, four times in the third, once in the fourth and three more times in the fifth. The contest ended after five innings due to the 10-run differential, and was the most one-sided state final since 1997.
“We played our best game in the biggest game, and I’m so proud of these guys for being mentally tough and ready,” Liggett coach Dan Cimini said. “Every single game we played at our highest level and it all showed in the biggest game of the year, it was unbelievable.”
New Lothrop (41-4) threw three different pitchers, but none of them could find the groove against the potent Liggett bats. The Knights racked up 12 hits, drew six walks and every member of the lineup reached base at least once.
Connor McCarron, Sean Fannon, Noah Miller and Anthony George all had multiple-hit games, and the Knights stole six bases as a team.
Although the Hornets hit safely in every inning against Liggett righthander Matthew Gushee, they couldn’t string anything together, stranding nine on base.
“We had our best pitcher on the mound, we’re probably the best-fielding team in the state as far as I’m concerned, and the bats came alive. We hit the heck out of the ball. That’s a recipe for a win every single time,” Cimini said.
Liggett was on its way right from the get-go. McCarron led off the game with a single to center, Miller walked, and both were driven home by Alec Azar’s deep single to right. The Knights didn’t take their foot off the gas pedal in the second inning, either, with George and McCarron singling and scoring. The floodgates opened in the third as Liggett batted around the order.
McCarron, who was 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs from the leadoff spot, said the Knights’ best component is their teamwork.
“We try to play perfect every game,” he said. “We played hard, we never take anything for granted, we’re always out here playing every game, every inning like it’s 0-0. Honestly, we’re never intimidated no matter who we play; we’re moving up to (Division) 1 next year, and we’re hoping to win the state championship.”
New Lothrop coach Ben Almasy wouldn’t be surprised if that happened.
“I would say they’re a top-five team out of all divisions and they’re going to be just fine,” he said. “Can we play D1? We’re a small school and we do the best we can. We moved up this year (from Division 4) and we made a nice run.”
Liggett earned its second state championship in two days, as its girls soccer team won the Division 4 title in a shootout over Montrose on Friday afternoon.