Baseball districts: Grosse Pointe North, Liggett go into postseason on a roll

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Alec Azar

Grosse Pointe North will try to do what Grosse Pointe Liggett and Grosse Pointe South did the past couple years – advance to Michigan State University for the right to compete for the Division 1 state championship.

Liggett advanced to the state semifinals in 2017, losing to eventual state champion Saline.

Grosse Pointe South defeated Liggett in the districts last year, advancing to MSU, where it won the state championship.

Grosse Pointe North was going through the embarrassment of firing Frank Sumbera as head baseball and football coach a year ago after he had an outstanding career with 1,097 wins on the diamond – third most in state history – and more than 200 wins in football.

But Dave Martin has done a strong job in his first year as Grosse Pointe North baseball coach, a reason North is the favorite in the district. North was 25-3 heading into its regular-season finale against Warren De La Salle Tuesday.

North will host South Saturday at 11 a.m. in a district semifinal. North swept a doubleheader between the teams earlier this season.

“We’re doing really, really well,” Martin said. “The team has certainly responded well and our pitching and defense is the key to our success. We’re swinging the bat in timely fashion once in a while, but certainly our pitching and defense have kept the team rolling in the right direction.”

North’s pitching is led by sophomore left-hander Nick Good, who is 8-0 with a 0.89 ERA, including a 2-0 win over South.

“Nick Good is just a bulldog out there, has great intensity and always works ahead in the count,” said Martin. “A lot of the success of the team this year is how we’ve managed the pitching staff and changing certain people’s roles from where they were starters last year to now coming out of the pen, and now we have power arms coming out of the pen.

“It’s amazing how many one-run ball games we’ve played and our pitching out of the pen has been great. Jack Kensora has won five games out of the pen and we’ve made Chad Lorkowski our closer.”

Kensora, a senior who will play at Northwood, is also an outfielder, is hitting .432 in the No. 3 slot.

Liggett has moved back to Division 3 this year, where it won state titles in 2014 and 2016.

Liggett will enter postseason play with momentum coming off a 2-0 Catholic League championship win over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard. It will host New Haven in a district semifinal Saturday at 10 a.m.

“I like the way we’re playing, starting to hit the ball good, playing good defense and pitching really well,” said Liggett coach Dan Cimini. “I thought we played really well in the Catholic League game.”

Billy Kopicki (Miami of Ohio) is hitting .400 for Liggett with 14 doubles and 24 RBI. Alec Azar, a 6-foot-4 senior righthander, is the ace of the staff. He is 8-3 with a 1.12 ERA, with Logan King at 6-3 with a 2.00 ERA.