There was no magical run left in the Emory (Ga.) Eagles’ arms or bats. Faced with the formidable task of winning back-to-back games Tuesday afternoon in Grand Chute, Wis., Kean (N.J.) beat Emory 5-4 in 10 innings, to claim its first Division III national championship.
The win completed Kean’s undefeated run through the finals, which saw the Cougars win two games in extra innings and hold the opposition to a combined 10 runs.
Tuesday’s championship game pitted two squads of opposing styles–a powerful offense against a stout pitching staff. And as usually is the case, the pitching triumphed.
Through four games the Eagles (43-10) had scored an astounding 45 runs, including two games where Emory had 16 and 18 runners touch home plate. But against Kean (43-8) the Eagles’ bats went stagnant, and Emory registered four runs on eight hits. Cougars righthander Andrew Cupido came on to relieve righty Joe Bartlinski in the fifth inning with the scored tied at four and was lights out for the rest of the game. In 5 2/3 innings of work, Cupido allowed seven batters to reach base on three hits and four walks, while managing to squeeze out of multiple jams to keep his team alive.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the 10th when the Eagles’ carelessness in the field finally got the best of them. In that inning, Emory committed two of its four errors, in allowing the first two runners to reach base. After an intentional walk, the bases were loaded and the stage was set for shortstop Perry Schatzow. The senior singled up the middle to bring home the winning run, and set off the championship celebration.
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