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CHAMPIONSHIP, GAME 11: Whitworth 9, Trinity (Texas) 2 - Pirates Advance to NCAA DIII Finals for First Time
McMinnville Regional Most Outstanding Player Kevin Valerio went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI to lead Whitworth to its first regional championship in program history with a 9-2 thumping of Trinity (Texas) in the championship game.
Making their first NCAA Division III postseason appearance, the Pirates (30-14-1) won an unofficial “best-of-three” against the Tigers (37-12) to advance to the NCAA Division III Finals in Appleton, Wis. The teams played each other three times during the regional tournament, with Trinity taking the first game in the winner’s bracket but the Pirates getting the better of the nation’s 15th-ranked club in the latter two contests.
In the title game, the Tigers scored first, as a sacrifice fly from Kevin Clements brought home Kelly Woodruff in the opening frame.
Whitworth scored one run apiece in the second, fourth and fifth innings, and clung to a 3-2 advantage at the end of the sixth.
Not wanting to leave the door open for any late-inning drama, the Pirates pulled away in the seventh, posting five runs on four hits, one walk and a hit batter. Doubles from Nick Motsinger and Tyler Pfeffer plated four runs, giving the Pirates a six-run spread, 8-2.
Dan Scheibe entered the game in the fifth, relieving Jason Renner after 1 1/3 innings, and gave up just one hit while tallying four strikeouts to pick up the win.
Joshua Davis, Erik Nikssarian and Paul Miller joined Valerio with two hits apiece, and Motsinger drove in a total of three runs.
Will Donnan was the sole Tiger to record multiple hits, posting a 2-for-4 line on the game.
Starter Ben Klimesh, who had
posted a six-hit, 12-stikeout shutout in Trinity’s tournament-opening win,
struggled in the championship game on limited rest. He lasted just four
innings, giving up two earned runs with no strikeouts, and was relieved by a
total of four Tiger pitchers.
Named to the All-Tournament Team were: Sean Raisch, OF, Coe; Ben Strellner, P, Coe; Jacob Ludvik, OF, La Verne; Kevin Clements, 2B, Trinity; Ben Klimish, P, Trinity; Christian Muscarello, SS, Trinity; Josh Davis, C, Whitworth; Erik Nikssarian, OF, Whitworth; Landon Scott, DH, Whitworth; Dan Scheibe, P, Whitworth; and Most Outstanding Player: Kevin Valerio, OF, Whitworth
GAME 10: Trinity (Texas) 6, Coe 5, 11 innings, Coe eliminated
In an action-packed, extra-inning thriller, Trinity topped Coe 6-5 to advance to the championship game of the McMinnville Regional.
Trinity capitalized on poor defense from the Kohawks early on, plating a pair of runs in the first. With one out, Kevin Clements shot a double into right center to bring home Dominick Robusto and Kelly Woodruff.
Coe responded, however, scratching out a run in the first and another in the third to tie the score at 2-2.
The Tigers regained the lead thanks to back-to-back singles from Kevin Francke and Ryan Schweers. After advancing on a wild pitch, Francke scored on a groundout by Robusto.
RBI doubles from Tyler Leadley and Adam Nisenson in the seventh pushed Coe (29-17) to a 4-3 lead, which it would hold going into the ninth.
Robusto led off the ninth with a base hit, and came around to score to tie the game at five runs apiece and send the teams into extra innings.
Both teams plated a run in the tenth, but it was a sacrifice fly from Franke that brought in the winning run in the 11th.
GAME 9: Whitworth 12, Trinity (Texas) 0
Center fielder Kevin Valerio went 3-for-5 with four RBI as the Pirates cruised to a 12-0 victory over Trinity in the evening game.
The Pirates struck for three runs in the second, highlighted by Paul Miller’s two-run double that brought home a pair of walks. Valerio also pushed a runner across with a groundout.
Whitworth pulled away in the fifth, plating six runs helped in part by two wild pitches, two Trinity defensive errors and four hits.
Three more Pirate runs in the sixth frame made for the final score of 12-0.
Spencer Ansett was not flashy - recording just one strikeout - but got the job done for Whitworth, throwing eight scoreless innings while allowing seven hits.
Dominick Robusto recorded a pair of hits for the Tigers, who suffered their first loss of the tournament.
GAME 8: Coe 5, La Verne 0, La Verne eliminated
Scott DeAngelis led off the game with a triple and Coe never looked back en route to a 5-0 victory over La Verne in Friday’s second elimination game.
Nick Stein’s first-inning double drove in DeAngelis, and a bases-loaded infield single from John Delaplane made the score 2-0, advantage Kohawks.
Coe starter Ben Strellner coasted to a complete-game shutout, allowing just six hits while recording a pair of strikeouts.
Back-to-back doubles from Adam Nisenson and Sean Raisch pushed the score to 4-0 in the eighth. The Kohawks added one more insurance run in the ninth for a solid 5-0 cushion.
Jason Moralez went 2-for-3 for the Leopards, who ended the season with a 26-16 mark.
GAME 7: Whitworth 5, Concordia (Texas) 1, Concordia eliminated
Nick Scourey threw a complete game and Whitworth stayed alive by beating Concordia (Texas) 5-1 in an elimination game Friday afternoon.
Scourey and Tornadoes’ starter Colin Butschek matched each other pitch-for-pitch through the first six innings, keeping the score at 0-0.
The Pirates broke the deadlock in the seventh when Kevin Valerio bounced a single up the middle to plate the first two runs of the game. Gerhard Muelheims broke the game open with a two-run double, and Landon Scott laced a single up the middle to make the score 5-0.
Nick Kozole put Concordia (37-11) on the board with a solo home run in the eighth, his first of the season.
Scourey finished the game, allowing one run on two hits - both by Kozole - with three strikeouts.
GAME 6: Trinity (Texas) 8, Whitworth 3
Appearing at times to be more of a home run derby than just a regular day at the park, the evening matchup between the second and third seeds went to Trinity over Whitworth by a score of 8-5.
Three balls went over the fence, but a third-inning grand slam from Trinity’s Jules Cronk was the difference as the Tigers became the only team to make it through Day 2 of the regional tournament without a loss.
A single and two walks loaded the bases for Cronk, who cashed in to give the Tigers a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the third.
Erik Nikssarian delivered an RBI single for the Pirates in the fourth and Tyler Pfeffer smacked a solo shot over the right-field fence in the eighth, but despite matching the Tigers hit-for-hit (eight apiece) for the game, Whitworth was unable to rally for the win.
Tanner Barron went eight innings for the
Tigers, tallying 12 strikeouts against three walks before handing the ball to
closer Michael Bentz.
Cronk went 2-for-3 with five RBI, Christian Muscarello had a pair of hits and Pat Hirschberg recorded a two-run homer to lead the Trinity offensive charge.
Carson Blumenthal and Taylor Isadore split the pitching duties for Whitworth at four innings each, but Blumenthal picked up the loss.
Landon Scott was the only Pirate to register multiple hits, finishing the game 2-for-4 with one RBI.
GAME 5: La Verne 8, Concordia (Texas) 5
Providing the most drama of the regional tournament thus far, La Verne played the role of bracket-buster and avoided elimination by knocking off top-seeded Concordia, 8-5.
The Leopards lit up the Tornados’ bullpen, posting seven runs over the seventh and eighth innings to earn a date with the Coe Kohawks.
Starting pitchers Anthony Cerafice (La Verne) and Tyler Grygar (Concordia) held both offenses in check over the first five innings of play. After a leadoff single from Concordia’s Brent Schaekel, both pitchers combined to retire the 14 of the next 15 opponents; only a hit batter put a runner on base.
Finally, the Tornados broke through in the top of the fifth with a two-RBI single from Alec Carter. The designated hitter sliced one up the middle to give the tournament’s top seed a 2-0 lead.
La Verne made it a one-run game in its half of the frame, then posted a posted a huge five-spot in the seventh to claim their first lead of the tournament, 6-2. Concordia went through three different pitchers in that inning alone, but that did not stop Jacob Ludvik from delivering a two-RBI double or prevent the defense from committing an error - one of four for the afternoon - that scored another two runners.
The Tornadoes rallied in the eighth, though, scoring three runs, two of which came on a left-field single from Kyle Bieschke.
Looking to give his team a bigger cushion heading into the top of the ninth, George Hanna went for the squeeze play in La Verne’s half of the eighth. Concordia fielded his bunt and stopped the runner from advancing home from third, but threw the ball away on the ensuing play to first, a costly error that allowed La Verne to score anyway.
Reliever Nick Rollon retired three straight Tornados to end the game and secure the win for the Leopards.
Offensively, Concordia’s Bieschke and Carter both finished 2-for-4 and La Verne’s Ludvik, Hanna and Mason Stoltenberg added two hits each.
GAME 4: Coe 7, Saint John's (Minn.) 2, Saint John's eliminated
Coe College is making an extended stay in McMinnville after defeating Saint John's (Minn.) 7-2 in an elimination game.
Max Forster got Saint John's going early, blasting the tournament’s first home run 355 feet over the left-field fence to score a pair for the Johnnies in the top of the first.
Coe responded with one run each in the bottom of the first two frames, tying the game, on RBI singles from Sean Raisch and JD Hunter.
The defenses for both teams took over after that, as only the Kohawks managed to put up another run over the next three innings.
Coe did more damage on the scoreboard with a three-spot in the bottom of the seventh. Nick Stein laced a triple to right field, bringing two teammates home and extending the Kohawks’ advantage to 7-2.
Defensively, the Johnnies committed four errors on the game, making things difficult for starter Ryan Spengler. He recorded three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings, but gave up eight hits and was charged with four earned runs.
After giving up two early runs, Coe’s Connor Alberhasky settled in, allowing just three hits over the remainder of his six-inning outing. AJ Reuter picked up the save.
Saint John’s (29-16) was led by Forster’s 1-for-3, double-RBI day.
GAME 3: Whitworth 5, La Verne 0
Dan Scheibe threw a complete-game shutout and the Whitworth Pirates beat the La Verne Leopards 5-0 to make it a perfect Day 1 for the tournament’s top-seeded clubs.
The rookie right-hander allowed just six hits and one walk while recording nine strikeouts en route to his sixth win of the season.
Scheibe and La Verne’s Phil Schick locked up in a pitchers’ duel. The two starters held the offenses scoreless until Whitworth scratched the surface with two runs in the fifth. A safety squeeze laid down by Nick Motsinger followed by a double from Gerhard Muelheims gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Aided by three walks and two base hits, the Pirates tacked on two more runs in the seventh.
Jacob Ludvik and Albert Ramos each had a pair of hits for the Leopards, who only advanced one runner to third in the game.
Tyler Pfeffer led the way for Whitworth, going 3-for-4 with a run batted in and a double. Muelheims had two hits, including a double, and drove in a pair.
GAME 2: Trinity (Texas) 2, Coe 0
Ben Klimesh notched a complete-game shutout while striking out a Trinity playoff record 12 batters as the Tigers opened regional play with a 2-0 victory over Coe.
Klimesh struck out six of the first seven batters he faced; only a double from Kohawks left fielder Sean Raisch broke up the streak.
The Tigers developed a rally in the third inning, as three straight hits from Nick Pappas, Kevin Clements, and Christian Muscarello plated a two runs to give Trinity the lead.
Coe threatened in the ninth. Sean Raisch led off with a double, but Klimesh finished the game just how he started, with three consecutive strikeouts, to complete the shutout.
Offensively, the Tigers were led by Christian Muscarello, who went 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Kevin Clements, who dorve in another run for second-seeded Trinity.
Raisch was the only Coe player to notch multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4.
GAME 1: Concordia (Texas) 6, Saint John's (Minn.) 3
Top-seeded Concordia (Texas) rode starter Scott Hays to a 6-3 victory over designated visitor Saint John’s (Minn.) in Game 1 of regional action Wednesday afternoon.
Concordia manufactured two runs in the second, thanks to an error, a wild pitch, and a safety squeeze play.
Both offenses were stagnant through the middle innings until the Tornadoes broke the game open with a three-run eighth frame.
The Johnnies made it interesting in the eighth, posting two runs on three straight hits and a walk. However, Tornados reliever Austin Rupert recorded two straight groundouts to limit the damage and keep the score at 6-3.
Justin Thompson went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Johnnies, and Dylan Graves and Josh Groth each drove in a run.
Matt McManemin and Collin Janssen each had a pair of hits for Concordia.