West Chester captures PSAC title
Kerins, Weary combine to shutout Kutztown, win championship
BUTLER, Pa. -- West Chester put together a pair of four-run innings in the third and sixth frames and those offensive outbursts, combined with solid pitching from starter Conor Kerins and reliever Kyle Weary, who combined for a two-hit shutout, guided the Golden Rams to the 2012 PSAC championship with a 10-0 win against Kutztown.
The title is West Chester’s first since 2009 and is the seventh overall for the Golden Ram program, breaking a tie with Kutztown and moving them into third place alone for most baseball championships in conference history. Only Shippensburg (12) and Mansfield (8) have more baseball championships. West Chester also becomes the first PSAC champion to win the championship while having a loss in the tournament since Kutztown in 2008 and the first ever to lose a game in the tournament but come back to win it under the current tournament format, which began in 2009. In 2008, Kutztown lost a game during the tournament to West Chester but later came back through the losers’ bracket and beat the Golden Rams twice to win the tournament. This year, the Golden Rams dropped their second game of the tournament to Kutztown but came back through the losers’ bracket and won four games in two days over three different opponents to win the championship.
The Golden Rams scored four runs in the bottom of the third on just one hit, which was an infield bunt single. With one out and a runner on first, Reid Pulford beat out a bunt single to third and the runner, Josh Heyne, went all the way to third. Leadoff hitter Mike Raimo then laid down a bunt down the first base line in a squeeze attempt and Heyne beat the throw to the plate, which was up the first base line. After a flyout, the Bears intentionally walked PSAC East Player of the Year Joe Wendle to load the bases and set up a force at all bases. That backfired, however, when Chris Pula drew a walk to force in a run and then, with Justin Lamborn at the plate, Mertz unleashed a pair of wild pitches that allowed two more runs to come home.
West Chester added four more in the sixth as a bases-loaded, three-run triple by Heyne was the big blow. Heyne later scored on a sacrifice fly. The Rams later tacked on two more in the eighth as Heyne followed-up his triple with a two-run homer to right to make it 10-0.
Kerins threw the first five innings for the Golden Rams to pick up the win, allowing just two hits while walking four and striking out two. Weary pitched the final four innings to pick up the save, striking out three without allowing a hit.
Josh Heyne of West Chester was named the Tournament MVP after hitting .391 (9-for-23) during the tournament with five doubles, a triple, a home run, a team-high 10 RBI and 16 total bases. He compiled a team-best .696 slugging percentage during the six games and also reached base at a .440 clip.