The Road to Cary ends with Wingate's first DII baseball national championship
CARY, N.C. —The slipper fits. Eight days at the USA Baseball National Training Complex come to a close with the 2021 Cinderella Wingate Bulldogs winning their first-ever DII baseball national championship.
The Bulldogs were excellent all season long, finishing with a 39-13 record. What they did to get to this summit was simply remarkable. First, Wingate swept through a regional tournament taking down a pair of top-20 teams along the way before reeling off five-straight elimination-game victories over top-15 opposition, including the decisive 5-3 victory over No. 1 Central Missouri.
Central Missouri’s road to the title game was no easy task, either. To get to the championship game, the Mules had to go through Tampa. Historically speaking, these are two of the best programs in DII baseball. Central Missouri has the most wins this millennium with Tampa hoisting the most trophies since the turn of the century.To view the final bracket click or tap here.
The two battled first Friday and then continued Saturday. Mason Green went seven strong innings to pitch the Mules into the championship game. Erik Webb provided the insurance with his fifth home run in Cary, to give the Mules the 3-1 victory
Though Central Missouri brought the experience, the Cary rookies drew first blood and never relented. The Bulldogs went up first, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. The Mules struck right back, scoring three in the top of the fourth, but that was all the Bulldogs Sam Broderson would allow.
Broderson came on in relief of Hunter Dula and tossed five no-hit, shutout innings, striking out five, including the final out to secure the national championship. Logan McNeely, who drove in two runs in the title game, took home Most Outstanding Player.
Thank you for joining us throughout the tournament. Scroll down for a full recap. Until 2022, good night from Cary!
You can watch an entire replay of the championship game below. 👇
They said it: Notable quotables from the DII baseball championship game
“We are just planting seeds. In the future this program is just going to keep growing.” — Central Missouri's shortstop Alex Madera on two-straight trips to Cary.
“I don’t think Mason has lost in our uniform. Did I plan on getting rain delayed and coming back with him, no. He asked for the ball. The amount of pitches he threw last night showed it was safe for him to do for his arm and his future. He gave us a gutty outing, that’s what he’s done all year.” — Central Missouri head coach Kyle Crookes on his ace's performance against Tampa in the semifinals
“We really took it a day at time, going after each team. But yesterday, beating Angelo State, I felt we had a really good shot at winning this thing.” — Wingate's catcher and Most Outstanding Player, Logan McNeely
“It’s outstanding. In your head as a coach, you put a guy in the ball game and in my head I’m running every scenario. And you’re trying to monitor how he’s doing. It just kept getting better. The next thing you know we’re going into the ninth inning, and the best thing I could do was stay out of the way.” — Wingate head coach Jeff Gregory on Sam Broderson's performance
“It was heavy at the bottom of the dog pile. It’s our third one this year, so we’re kind of getting used to it. You learn where to be in the dog pile.” — Logan McNeely
Final stats: Wingate defeats Central Missouri 5-3
Wingate wins the 2021 DII baseball national championship
Wingate scores another, leads 5-3 after seven innings
Wingate back on top; five complete in Cary
A two-run fifth has Wingate back on top
The Mules got out of a bases-loaded jam to end the fifth, but not before the damage was done. Logan McNeely picked up an RBI — his second of the game — and Gehrig Christopher followed with an RBI of his own.
Bulldogs lead 4-3 after five complete.
The Mules lead 3-2 after three-and-a-half innings
The Mules strike back
Back and forth we go. Central Missouri answers with Madera and VanBreusegen RBIs to tie it and this go ahead single from Josh Schumacher. @Mules_Baseball now leads 3-2 in the 4th. #D2BSB pic.twitter.com/LOE47rxPAe— Wayne Cavadi (@UofDWayne) June 12, 2021
Central Missouri erased a two-run deficit rather quickly. Back-to-back hits from Alex Madera and Brennen VanBreusegen and then this go-ahead single from Josh Schumacher plate three runs and turn the tide.
We head to the bottom of the fourth: Central Missouri 3, Wingate 2
Wingate strikes first, lead in the third
Third inning: Wingate 2, Central Missouri 0
What a battle thus far. There have been quite a few web gems by both teams, but sometimes, getting the ball in play leads to forced errors and important runs. After stranding two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the second, Wingate strikes first, with Logan McNeely sneaking one in and getting a run on the board.
Jed Bryant followed with a rip that got past Dusty Stroup at third, scoring Michael Dansky. Collin Jones day is done as the Mules go to the pen down 2-0 with runners on second and third and just one out.
Wingate faithful came out strong
The Bulldogs fan base certainly won't make this easy. They came out strong and are stomping and cheering on every pitch.
Also, after days of rainouts, how about this weather? It's a little muggy, but a nice 80 degrees and beautiful blue skies.
A good day to decide a baseball champion, don't you think?
Central Missouri and Wingate set to battle
The 2021 DII baseball championship on the line
Just two teams are left. Wingate and Central Missouri are ready to face off for the national championship. Hunter Dula and his 7-2 record and 3.15 ERA takes the bump for Wingate in the top of the first.
Final stats from Central Missouri vs. Tampa semifinal
Box score: Central Missouri 3, Tampa 1
Tampa certainly had its chances, stranding 11 runners in the game. Here are the complete stats from the semifinal.
Central Missouri advances to finals
Central Missouri advances to finals, defeats Tampa 3-1
After rains and lightning put a halt on Friday’s semifinal action, Central Missouri and Tampa resumed play in the Cary heat on Saturday. The two DII baseball powerhouses delivered on providing the fans with a thrilling winner-take-all semifinal game.
The Mules’ ace Mason Green gave a gutsy performance. Despite starting and tossing 2.1 innings late Friday night, he came out and threw 4.2 scoreless innings a day later. Green pounded the strike zone, landing 70 of 111 pitches for strikes, striking out seven and walking two. He mixed his speeds well keeping Tampa batters at bay despite allowing baserunners in nearly every inning.
Erik Webb provided the insurance, taking Tampa’s Brayden Nelson deep. The home run was the 100th home run hit in Cary since the tournament moved here in 2009. That was also Webb’s fourth home run of the tournament.
Brayden Nelson was outstanding in relief for the Spartans. He tossed 6.1 innings, and was flashing a 95 mph fastball that moved. He held the velocity throughout hitting 92 in the eighth and flashed the leather, making a nice stop to need the Mules half of the eighth. He has a nice pitch mix and struck out eight while walking none. Nelson was nothing short of impressive.
Up next... winner takes all. Central Missouri and Wingate play for the title at 2 p.m. We’ll be with from first pitch to the final out.
Central Missouri leads through 5 innings
Central Missouri extends lead on Erik Webb's historic lead
Ace Mason Green stranded two runners in the top of the fifth and Erik Webb went yard in the bottom half of the frame to give the Mules a 3-1 lead. That homer, which left the bat at 104 mph gives Central Missouri a 3-1 lead. Here's a look at both big plays:
Four innings complete, Central Missouri still on top
There have been base runners, but both pitchers are working out of jams. Braydon Nelson is out here pumping for Tampa, lighting up the scoreboard with a 95 mph fastball. He also picked off Alex Madera to end the fourth.
Play resumes between Tampa and Central Missouri
Central Missouri 2, Tampa 1 in the top of the 3rd inning
Welcome back, DII baseball fans. We're back in action, continuing the last semifinals game of the tournament. Jamarcus Lyons gets right back in the swing of things with a leadoff double.