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Ahee

Knights go for 2nd straight title


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Can the Liggett boys' baseball team win a second straight state championship? Last year it was Division 4, but this spring it would be in Division 3.

March 27, 2014
University Liggett boys' baseball team returns to the diamond in 2014 as defending Division 4 state champions.

The Knights also won the D4 title in 2011 with a 31-4 record, plus made the championship game in 2012, but lost.

Can they make it back to the big stage for a fourth straight time? They moved up to Division 3 and a potential roadblock is three-time state champ Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

"This is a great test for this program, moving up to D3," head coach Dan Cimini said. "We have a nice team and it would be great to face Bishop Foley in the state playoffs. It would be a big challenge and a great game.

"We have a long way to go before that could even happen and we're excited to get going. We have a lot of depth and guys fighting for spots."

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Leading the way are seniors Anthony Simon, Adam Fiema, Patrick Broder, Cole Zingas and Ian Clark.

Other returning players are juniors Robert Kaiser, Jacob Smith and All-State shortstop Nick Azar, plus sophomores Sean Fannon, Joseph Cipriano and Matthew Gushee.

Newcomers to the team are senior John George, junior David Newman, and freshmen Connor McCarron, Gehrig Anglin, Teddy Wujek and Jackson Walkowiak.

The Knights are the favorites to once again win the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference. As usual, the league's teams are good and it includes Ann Arbor Greenhills, Sterling Heights Parkway Christian, Lutheran Westland, Novi Franklin Road Christian and Allen Park Inter-City Baptist.

"This division is tough from top to bottom, which makes every game tough," Cimini said. "It's not going to be easy to repeat as MIAC champs, but it will make us a better team with an improved league."

Cimini drew up a tough non-league schedule which includes L'Anse Creuse, Detroit Western International, Utica, Armada, Royal Oak Shrine, Blissfield, U-D Jesuit, Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Warren Woods-Tower, Dakota and Brother Rice.

A glaring exception on the schedule is the absence of Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South.

It's the first time in a decade the Knights will not play their city rivals.

"We love playing North and South and it's too bad they are not on our schedule," Cimini said. "But, we worry about the teams on our schedule and trying to win another state title."

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Ed Rinke