Division III week in review
Notes: Marietta seniors win first OAC championship
When the final out was made in Coe College’s 2-1 win against Wartburg in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game, head coach Scott Cook could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The Kohawks were headed to the NCAA tournament after winning their first conference tournament title in school history Sunday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids.
“It means a lot,” Cook said. “I’ve been here for 15 years and it’s great to see our guys come through and win a title. Everyone in our program and in the athletic department is taking a lot of pride in it and we’re excited about the chance to play in the NCAA tournament.”
Sean Raisch was the difference maker in this tight championship battle. He hit a fly ball to right in the eighth inning that brought Tyler Leadley across the plate for what proved to be the game-winning run.
Raisch was also tough on the mound. He worked eight innings and allowed only three hits while striking out three as he improved to 5-2 on the season. Ryan Velvick tallied the only other hit of the day for the Kohawks (32-10). Wartburg finished with five hits and scored its only run in the ninth.
Wartburg also lost 3-2 to Coe on Friday. The Kohawks blasted Simpson 19-8 in their tourney opener.
“The big difference this year has been pitching and defense,” Cook said. “It has helped us win a lot of close games and we are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Five different players had hits for Wartburg (26-18), including Patrick Grau, who tallied one hit and drove in his team’s only run.
Coe now turns its attention to the NCAA tourney and Cook is confident his team can keep its momentum going this week.
“We are going into the unknown this week, but the big thing for this team is that it believes it can win,” Cook said. “They trust in each other and they know they can count on each other every time they step on the field.”
Alleghany Mountain Conference
For the first time since 2000, Penn State-Altoona is the champion of the AMCC. The Lions opened up a 4-0 lead early and never looked back against Penn State Behrend, posting an 8-7 win to take home the title on Saturday at the Stewart Athletic Field in Altoona.
Altoona (28-11) led 4-0 early and never looked back as it earned its first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. The victory came on the heels of a 7-6, 13-inning loss to Behrend in the first game of the championship round.
Grady Luzier had a hand in helping the top-seeded Lions make history. He tallied four hits and drove in three runs while Jimmy Baum came through with a pair of hits and scored two runs. Cord Heine and John Schall helped pace the Lions’ offense as well.
Jack Palombo won his second game of the season. He worked six innings and gave up five runs, none of them earned, and finished with two strikeouts while Trevor Connor pitched the final three innings and earned his first save of the season.
Ryan Kragnes was one of four players with two hits for Behrend. He also drove in a run and scored twice.
Colonial States Athletic Conference
Tournament MVP Roberto Santana had two hits and drove in a run as Keystone (32-10) won its third consecutive championship with a 6-3 win against Gwynedd- Mercy Saturday afternoon at Bear Stadium.
Santana helped fuel a Giants offense that cranked out 11 hits. Esteban Meleticha and Fernando Perez finished with three hits apiece and Derek Alex pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save. Jeff Frost nailed down the win, allowing only one hit and striking out seven in five innings of action.
Colin Tosti and Austin Ley nearly helped the Griffins rally for the win. Both players doubled and drove in a run in the eighth inning as G-M (18-16-1) refused to go away quietly.
But Alex took care of business and Keytone punched a ticket to its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament. Santana finished the tourney with five hits and knocked in five runs.
Franklin College was tired of losing to Manchester College and finally overcame years of disappointment with a 9-0 win against the Spartans on Saturday at Gratz Field.
Shawn Mattingly, the MVP of the tournament, notched the win on the hill for the Grizzlies (29-12), allowing six hits and striking out three as he raised his record to 7-3 on the season.
Franklin gave Mattingly plenty of help, belting four home runs, including two by freshman Scott Windler. Windler tallied three hits in all and scored three runs while driving in two runs.
Alex Boone and Jordan Smuts also hit homers in the victory on a day when the Gizzlies were a force to be reckoned with at the plate, torching Manchester pitching to the tune of 17 hits. Boone finished with three hits and scored two runs.
Franklin had lost to Manchester in their previous four championship meetings (2002, 2004, 2005, 2010) but were not going to be denied this time around. The Grizzlies stifled a Manchester team that was batting .343 and had scored 397 runs. Jay Sheets led the Spartans (28-15) with two hits.
It was the second time in the tourney that second-seeded Franklin beat top-seeded Manchester, winning 9-7 on Friday to advance to the title game.
Rhode Island College won the Little East tourney championship on Saturday despite the fact that it was a sixth seed. The Anchormen (21-18) topped Eastern Connecticut, the 12th-ranked team in the country, 7-5 at Eastern Baseball Stadium.
It is the second time Rhode Island College has won the title, doing it in 2005 as the fifth seed in the tournament. The Warriors (32-11) came up short of a title for the first time in eight trips to the title game.
The fifth inning tilted the momentum in favor of the Anchormen. Kevin Carey, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, ripped a run-scoring triple to tie the score at 4-4 and Kevin Allaire hit a sacrifice fly to give Rhode Island the lead at 5-4.
Rob Rushton (4-1) got the job done on the mound. He allowed one run on two hits in 4 2/3 innings while Justin Corso helped pace the offense with three hits. The top-seeded Warriors hurt themselves, though, with five errors.
Jim Schult came through with two hits and finished with 10 in the tournament to lead the Warriors, who lost 6-4 in 12 innings to the Anchormen in the tournament opener last week.
RIC had lost its last 15 games to Eastern before the opening round win.
Ohio Athletic Conference
Marietta College is having a tremendous season. The Etta Express is ranked first or second in the national polls but the seniors on the team had never won an OAC championship. Until Saturday.
Marietta (38-3) knocked off the ninth-ranked Student Princes 7-3 in the championship game at Don Schaly Stadium, marking the first time it has won the title since 2002. It is the 28th title in program history.
John Snyder earned MVP honors, tallying two hits, scoring two runs and coming through with three RBI in the finale. Casey Levens added two hits and knocked in a run for the top team in the Mideast Region.
Heidelberg (33-11), ranked second in the region, had the bases loaded in the first inning but Marietta turned a double play to end the threat. That would set the stage for Bryan Hopper to hit a solo home run that gave the Etta Express a 1-0 lead it would not lose.
Marietta finished with 10 hits and Mark Williams (6-2) worked seven innings for the win. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out five. Heidelberg finished with six hits, including two by Gar Keen.
President’s Athletic Conference
Thomas More repeated as PAC tournament champions with a 9-1 win over Westminster on Saturday at Bob Cene Park. David Kennett ripped three hits and drove in two runs to pace a Thomas More offense that cranked out 14 hits.
Jason Handley tallied two this as well, including a double, and came through with five RBI for the Saints.
David Efscheid pitched a complete game, allowing only run on two hits. He struck out four. Kyle Allen had the only RBI hit for Westminster (25-16), which has the second-highest win total in school history. The Titans won 27 games in 1982.
St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Webster overcame a 3-0 deficit and knocked off Greenville 9-3 in the SLIAC championship game on Saturday at Gliik Park in Highland, Ill.
The Garlocks (31-11) are headed to the NCAA tourney for the sixth time in seven years and took the lead for good on a two-run single by Paul Kienker in the seventh inning. He finished with five hits in the tournament and also drove in three runs.
Anthony Genna was named the MVP, tallying five hits and driving in five runs in the tourney for the Garlocks, who have the second most wins in school history.
St. Scholastica is still the team to beat in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, winning its 15th consecutive championship with a 26-2 drubbing of Bethany Lutheran on Friday at Wallace Wade Stadium in Duluth.
The Saints (35-5), ranked ninth in the country, had 16 players tally at least one hit and 14 players came up with at least one RBI.
St. Scholastica tallied 29 hits in all and owned a 10-0 lead after three innings en route to punching a ticket to the NCAA tournament.
Joe Link racked up three hits and knocked in two runs and also tied a single-season record for steals, nabbing his 41st base of the season. He is 41-of-41 on stolen base attempts.
Brian Marshik finished with three hits and drove in two runs. The Saints entered the tourney as the third-ranked team in the region. Bethany Lutheran (27-9) is fifth in the region and was led by Aaron Siefken, who tallied two hits.
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Wisconsin-Stevens Point went to the DIII Finals a year ago, and the Pointers took their first step toward getting back there with a 10-0 win against Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the championship game of the WIAC tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Pointers (32-8) had their offense going all day, cranking out 16 hits, and Joe Deloroit earned the win on the mound.
“It’s a great accomplishment for us,” Stevens Point head coach Pat Bloom said. “Hopefully this win sets the course for the other goals we want to accomplish. We gave a good effort and have some momentum heading into the (NCAA) tournament.”
Deloroit worked seven innings and allowed only three hits. He struck out seven and issued just one walk.
Dan Douglas and Sean Gerber paced the offense, tallying three hits apiece. Douglas finished with seven hits in the tourney and drove in four runs.
No one had more than one hit for the Titans (25-14). Stevens Point won its other tourney game, 6-5 over Wisconsin-Whitewater.