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Blue Devils drop state title game


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South team members celebrate after upsetting No. 1 Stevenson 2-0 in a quarterfinal game. photo by Bob Bruce.

June 19, 2014
Grosse Pointe South's improbable run to a Division 1 state championship fell just short after losing 6-2 to defending champ Bay City Western at Michigan State University's McLane Stadium.

It was the Blue Devils' first trip to the state finals since winning the D1 crown in 2001. They finished the season 27-18 overall.


At one point of the season, the Blue Devils' record was 7-12.

They finished the year on a 20-6 tear to get to the 27-win mark.

"It was a great run, but we didn't play a good game against a very good Bay City Western team," head coach Dan Griesbaum said. "Giving up those three first-inning runs really put us in a hole we couldn't get out of.

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"I also want to thank my assistant coaches, John Hackett, Matt Reno and my son, Dan Griesbaum Jr., for helping make this a truly memorable run to the state title game."

The Blue Devils only had three hits, Ron Williams, James Fishback and Jacob Stone.

Bay City Western, 38-7, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and added single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

South scored its two runs in the fifth when Fishback and Stone had run-scoring hits.

Jimmy Menchl started and suffered the loss. He had been on fire in the playoffs, but the magic ended in the title game. He pitched four innings, giving up 11 hits, five earned runs, and one strikeout.

Andrew Eaton was solid in his three relief innings, not giving up a hit and striking out one.

Grosse Pointe South kept its magical run alive in its semifinal against Battle Creek Lakeview, winning 6-4.

It was a tight game as each team used a big inning.

The Blue Devils scored five runs in the fourth inning to grab a 5-1 lead, but BCL put four runs on the board the following half inning to cut the deficit to 5-4.

South added a single run in the fifth inning on Fishback's double.

Eaton earned a save, pitching the final three innings. He gave up only two hits, zero runs, two walks and struck out four.

Doug Graham was the winning pitcher, going the first four innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs, zero walks and four strikeouts.

Offensively, Ryan Liagre and Williams had two hits apiece.

In the quarterfinals, Grosse Pointe South pulled off a stunner, upsetting title-favorite Sterling Heights Stevenson 2-0 at Wayne State University.

Menchl was the No. 1 star of the game, earning the win by giving up only three hits in seven innings, with no walks and four strikeouts.

"He was in total control and executed the game plan to perfection," Griesbaum said. "He threw strikes and had Stevenson's hitters off balance the entire game.

"He has come on strong during this playoff run."

The Blue Devils scored single runs in the top of the first and third innings.

In the first, Menchl singled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and error, and scored on Liagre's fielder's choice.

In the third, Justin McMann walked and eventually scored on Brett Bigham's two-out single.

All-state

Ryan Liagre and Jimmy Menchl earned Division 1 All-State First Team honors as infielders, and Ron Williams made All-State Second Team as a catcher for the Blue Devils.

Grosse Pointe North's Sal Ciaravino and Dan Robinson also made All-State First Team as an infielder and outfielder, respectively.


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