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Stevenson graduates to the quarterfinals PHOTO GALLERY

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Titans beat De La Salle in semifinals

So what if pomp and circumstances arrived with more than a little dust?

The seniors on coach Joe Emanuele’s Stevenson baseball squad received their diplomas at home plate on the diamond at Anchor Bay High School Saturday evening.

They were wearing graduation caps, not baseball hats, when school principal Steven Pfannes handed them their diplomas.

It was a celebration multiplied by two or three, as the Titans defeated L’Anse Creuse 6-0 to capture the Division 1 regional championship, their first since 2014.

In the semifinal game, they out-lasted defending state champion De La Salle 5-4 in 10 innings. The tying run crossed the plate on a bases loaded walk, and the winner came home from third after a batter was hit by a pitch.

“What a crazy game today, wasn’t it?” asked Emanuele. “Any time we play De La Salle that is what it is like. It is two heavyweights getting together.”

In the first inning De La Salle’s Mike Karam doubled. Stevenson walked power hitter Bryce Bush. That was followed by an error, a single and fielder’s choice.

“They hit one ball out of the infield and we were down 3-0,” said Emanuele. “I know everybody here thought things were not looking good at that point. But they didn’t score at all after that.”

Stevenson tied it up at 1-1 on a single by Garrett Navarra and a double by Luke McGuire.

In the next inning, Ryan Lux got hit by a pitch. Austin Owens singled, as did Gaige Bodnar to score one run. Another RBI single by Navarra tied the score at 3-3.

That is the way it stayed until the 10th, when De La Salle scored to go up 4-3.

Stevenson advances to quarterfinal play. The Titans will take on second-ranked University Liggett at 1 p.m., Tuesday, at Wayne State University.

Liggett defeated Detroit Western International 6-3 in its regional finale. In the semifinals, Liggett defeated U-D Jesuit 11-1.

Stevenson scored two runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings against L’Anse Creuse.

In the second inning, McGuire and Todd Paperd singled. They both came home on a single by Steve Tamburro.

In the fourth, a two-out walk was followed by a single by Owens. A wild pitch set up a two-run single by Bodnar to make the score 4-0.

Highlighting the sixth for Stevenson were a single by Bodnar, a double by Navarra and a single by Mario Camilletti that scored two more runs.

A win followed by a graduation ceremony. Abner Doubleday would’ve loved the pomp, circumstance and eye black.

Among those seniors was Luke McGuire, who picked up two wins on the day. He threw the first five innings against L’Anse Creuse, and the final four against De La Salle.

“Beating De La Salle was one of our biggest wins of the season for sure,” said McGuire. “We knew they were a great team and they had a great pitcher on the mound. They got to us in the first. We made a few mistakes; we were probably playing a little jittery. We settled down, though.”

De La Salle scored its first three runs in the opening half of the first inning.

“It was definitely a bad start. It’s not like they were hitting the ball so well, we were just making errors. It’s a tough way to start against De La Salle because they are so good,” continued McGuire.

Stevenson got one run back in its half of the first inning. The Titans scored two more in the second to knot the score. That 3-3 deadlock remained until extra innings.

“This is my first regional championship. Technically we won one as a freshman, but I did not get to play. My brother (Zach) was on the team. They were a stacked team,” said McGurie.

Zach McGuire is playing at Michigan State.

Most of the Stevenson Class of 2017 had its graduation ceremony at 10 a.m., at The Palace, on Saturday. The seniors on the baseball team had a more intimate setting.

“This was cool. It stinks that we had to miss graduation, but all of us would much rather play baseball,” said McGuire. “We knew we’d be graduating at the field regardless, but we did not want to graduate here after a loss.”

The Stevenson seniors came darn close to doing just that against De La Salle. A disappointed Matt Cook, coach of the defending state champs, talked about the Pilots’ final game.

“I thanked the seniors for their years of service and dedication to De La Salle,” said Cook. “It’s not fair to blame the loss on what happened in the 10th inning. We had plenty of opportunities earlier in the game that we didn’t take advantage of.

“Even though we have a very talented team, nobody is just going to roll over and let us win. We are going to get everyone’s best shot. Teams will come back on us if they can,” continued Cook.

Coach Bob Walmsley’s L’Anse Creuse Lancers defeated Port Huron Northern 3-0 in it regional opener Saturday.

Troy Hedges went 6 2/3rds innings for the win. Nolan Lamere finished the game for his 13th save of the season. Carson Mourey whacked a line drive single to knock in Ryan Brown for a 1-0 lead. Brown had also singled.

Eddie Gietzen scored on a passed ball to put his team ahead 2-0.

It was Gietzen who walked in a later inning. He wound up scoring on a suicide squeeze bunt by Griffin Worzella to give the Lancers their 3-0 advantage.

L’Anse Creuse closed the season at 24-17.

Last Updated: 6/10/2017 8:33:09 PM EST