Haddeland's complete game catapults Linfield to first NCAA title victory
APPLETON, Wis. -- Chris Haddeland threw a complete game and top-seeded Linfield scored four runs in the fourth inning en route to a 4-1 victory against Southern Maine in the title game of the Division III championship series Tuesday at Fox Cities Stadium.
Linfield captured its first NCAA championship -- adding to NAIA titles in 1966 and 1971.
Haddeland allowed one run on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts en route to his school-record 15th pitching victory of the season. A perfectly executed squeeze bunt from Kyle Chamberlain highlighted a four-run fourth inning that proved to be the deciding play in the final game of the tournament. Linfield improved to 42-8 for the season.
After throwing 12 innings earlier Tuesday against Ithaca for the right to challenge Linfield for the national title, Andrew Richards started for Southern Maine and threw 3.1 innings before turning the ball to Logan Carman, who tossed the final 4.2 frames.
The Huskies jumped on Haddeland early as Sam Dexter sent Haddeland’s first pitch down the right field line for a double. The Huskies’ leadoff hitter moved to third on a base hit by John Carey and then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 1-0.
Southern Maine threatened again in the top of the fourth when they loaded the bases with a base hit and a pair of walks. Haddeland buckled down however and struck out Anthony Pisani to end the inning.
Nick Fisher shot a double to left-center to lead off the bottom of the fourth and an ensuing single from Kramer Lindell put runners on the corners for Clayton Truex. The Linfield first baseman lined a 3-2 pitch into center to plate Fisher, and after Jordan Harlow was intentionally walked, Chamberlain laid down the squeeze bunt to score Lindell, giving the 'Cats a 2-1 lead.
Michael Hopp walked with the bases loaded to drive in another run and Linfield scored its fourth run of the inning when a throw to first on an attempt to double up Tim Wilson sailed down the right field line and allowed Chamberlain to score.
Pisani led off the top of the seventh with a base hit up the middle, but a clutch double play turned by Hopp and shortstop Corey VanDomelen, followed by a strong throw from deep third by Harlow, ended the inning and kept the score at 4-1.
Linfield loaded the bases off of Carman in the eighth, but he got out of the inning without surrendering a run to give the Huskies one final chance at a comeback.
Haddeland coaxed a pair of pop ups off the Huskies’ bats that were easily handled by Truex at first. He gathered himself before getting Pisani to send a soft ground ball to short. VanDomelen scooped it up, threw to Truex at first and the entire Wildcat team stormed onto the field in celebration.