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Titans fall 6-0 to the Knights

DETROIT >> Stevenson’s baseball team got by one defending champ in the state tournament on Saturday.

Getting by a second one proved to be a bit more difficult Tuesday afternoon at Wayne State University.

The Titans could only muster up three hits as they fell to the Division 3 defending state champs, University Liggett, 6-0, in a Division 1 state quarterfinal.

“We had a tough road,” Stevenson coach Joe Emanuele said. “That kind of hurt us. We had to sit some guys that couldn’t throw today. That happens. You have to deal with the cards you’re dealt with.”

Stevenson (31-10) needed 10 innings on Saturday to knock off De La Salle, the defending Division 1 state champs, 5-4.

“That may have taken something out of us,” Emanuele said.

The Knights (33-4) have won four state championships in the last six seasons. In 2011 and 2013 they were the Division 4 champs. In 2014 and last season they won the Division 3 state title.

“They’re a great team,” Emanuele said. “We put the ball in play well, but we knew they were one of those teams that were going to make most of the plays. And we picked a bad time to not play well defensively.”

The Titans (31-10) committed three errors which didn’t help matters.

“Usually when you bow out that’s what you’re looking at, but you still have to score runs to win,” Emanuele said. “Give credit to their pitcher, he pitched a great game today.”

Sophomore Alec Azar got the win, striking out one.

“I was trying to work my off-speed pitches because they’re a great hitting team,” Azar said. “I trust my defense so I just wanted to get the ball over the plate and let them make some plays.”

The Titans stranded seven runners on base, three in scoring position.

“They turned a couple of double plays as we were trying to get back into it,” Emanuele said. “They got two early and it’s a tough thing to come from behind on them. Tip your hat to Liggett, they’re a great team.”

Liggett, which ended the regular season ranked second in the state, will meet top-ranked Saline in a state semifinal Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Michigan State University.

“We can’t play better than that and we’ve been playing like that all year,” Liggett coach Dan Cimini said. “Maybe now people can open their eyes and stop saying we’re a little D4 or little D3 team, we’re as good as any program in the state and we’re coming to show it.”

The Knights have reached the semifinals six times in the last seven seasons.

“That’s insane,” Cimini said. “I can’t pinch myself because that stuff just doesn’t happen.”

Liggett got all the runs it needed in the first inning. With two outs, Noah Miller doubled home Billy Kopicki. Miller would come around to score on a base hit by Teddy Wujek.

“Getting the two-run lead was huge,” Cimini said. “If we score four or five runs on somebody it’s going to be very hard for them to come back on us because of the defense that we play.”

After Zach Roth retired the Knights in order the next two innings, they got a third run in the fourth. Miller led off with a single and scored all the way from second on a dropped ball by the Titans’ first baseman.

Three more runs were pushed across in the sixth by Liggett. Connor McCarron led off with a double and moved to third on a groundout. He scored on a squeeze bunt by Wujek. Jackson Walkowiak delivered a double to plate a run and he would later score on an error.

Last Updated: 6/13/2017 9:55:03 PM EST