Five Teams Secure Berths To Division III College World Series
After some thrilling nail-biters on Sunday, five teams walked off the field in triumph and advanced to the 2018 Division III World Series. Concordia-Chicago, Randolph-Macon, Oswego State, Texas Lutheran and Swarthmore all punched tickets to the eight-team event that will begin on May 25.
By the end of Monday, the final three spots will be filled and the teams can pack their bags for the games held at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. A champion will be crowned on the field May 30 in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Top-seeded Concordia-Chicago was in trouble after losing to Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Saturday, 9-7. The Cougars needed to defeat Dubuque in a Saturday night elimination game and then defeat the team from Appleton twice on Sunday to clinch the Duluth, Minn. Region.
Concordia-Chicago did so in smooth fashion, eliminating Dubuque 6-3, and defeating UW-Oshkosh twice on Sunday afternoon. The first game featured a complete-game outing from Brian Musielak to help the Cougars top the Titans, 7-1, setting up a winner-take-all matchup. In the final elimination game, reliever Mike Formella got the start and pitched a complete game, striking out four batters and allowing just two unearned runs. Second baseman Mitch Wilson helped his pitcher with a solo home run and the Cougars’ miraculous recovery ended with a 3-2 win and a ticket punched to the championship bracket for the second consecutive season.
Randolph-Macon did not have nearly as much trouble clinching the Holly Springs, N.C. Region. The top-seeded Yellow Jackets went 3-0 and punched a ticket with a dominant victory over Christopher Newport on Sunday. Before Christopher Newport could blink an eye, the team was down 11-0 in the fourth inning. Three players drove in multiple runs, including third baseman Michael Nickles, who blasted a two-run home run, and Randolph-Macon emerged victorious, 11-2.
Oswego State was crowned the champion of the Harwich, Mass. Region after defeating top-seeded Massachusetts Boston, 10-4, on Sunday. The Lakers are going back to the championship bracket for the second straight year after going 4-0 in regional play. Just like Randolph-Macon, Oswego State bulldozed its way to a huge lead on Sunday, scoring seven runs in the first two innings. Two of those early runs came courtesy of second baseman Brandon Nicholson, who blasted a two-run home run in the second inning. Nicholson was one of three Lakers to drive in two runs. Nick Antonello pitched four one-run innings to slam the door shut and clinch the regional.
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No. 4 seed Texas Lutheran slinked into the championship bracket after three one-run victories, the last one coming on Sunday. In the ninth inning of Sunday’s contest, a solo home run by Willamette tied the game and required Texas Lutheran to score a walk-off run in extra innings to win, 6-5, and eliminate its opponent to clinch the Spokane, Wash. Region. Designated hitter Keaton Boysen proved to be the hero, slapping a single into center field to score the game-winning run. Despite the nail-biting victories, Texas Lutheran emerged unscathed with a 4-0 record.
Swarthmore is the resident cinderella team of the tournament. The Garnet had not made the tournament since 1985, but did not have any jitters, despite being the fifth-seeded team in the Auburn, N.Y. Region. Swarthmore was the third team to win all four of its games, the last victory coming on Sunday over Southern Maine. The Huskies looked to have an edge after taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth, but the Garnet scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 5-3 advantage. A three-run eighth inning brought the margin to 9-3 and the game would finish with the same scoreline. Designated hitter Jackson Roberts provided the big punch with a two-run double in the eighth and he finished with three RBIs on the day to send his team to victory.