Misericordia baseball takes first loss in Division III College World Series

Times Leader
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Misericordia baseball already has one upset win over Randolph-Macon this weekend. To stay alive for a national championship, the Cougars will have to do it again.

That’s the scenario for the team after suffering a 7-3 loss to Texas-Tyler on the second day of the Division III College World Series on Saturday in Appleton, Wis.

Up next is a rematch with top-seeded Randolph-Macon at 11 a.m. Sunday. The winner will head to the national semifinals, needing to beat Tyler twice to reach the championship round. The loser will head home for the summer.

Dating back to the Freedom Conference tournament, Misericordia has won six straight elimination games.

In Saturday’s game, Misericordia (37-14) was in position to do some damage against Tyler and starting pitcher Ryan Cheatham, collecting eight hits and drawing six walks. But the Cougars could never come through with the big one to break things open.

Despite all of the Misericordia baserunners, Cheatham pitched into the ninth, throwing 123 pitches (74 strikes) before exiting and picking up the win. The Cougars managed to load the bases and push two runs across in the final frame before the last out.

“It was a good ballgame, I think our guys competed,” Cougars coach Pete Egbert said in a school release. “I told the players I didn’t think the game was as lopsided as the score would indicate. We had some hard-hit balls that just didn’t fall, they turned a few double plays. But I though our guys competed throughout.”

The near-misses began in the first inning.

Misericordia had a great start, getting singles from Kenny Jarema and Parker Abate to lead off the bottom of the first when Tyler Holzapfel launched one to the warning track in left field.

But instead of a quick two-run lead for the Cougars, Tyler’s Tanner Roach robbed them with a leaping catch before tossing it back in to double off the runner at second.

“It’s a game of momentum and really not very often in this game do you have a play that big so early, but today you did,” Egbert said. “Roach just made a heck of a play, sort of switched the momentum, and they were able to take advantage of it.”

The Patriots followed it up by taking a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Sean Lyons nearly made a highlight-reel catch himself that would have ended the threat without any damage, but the ball just dropped in for an RBI triple by Graham Welch. Blake Maddox and Henry Sanchez also drove in a run apiece with two outs against Cougars starter Drake Koch.

It was a 6-0 advantage for Tyler before Misericordia broke through in the fifth as Lyons and Holzapfel both doubled to bring home a run. Tyler made it 7-1 in the top of the ninth before the Cougars finally chased Cheatham with one out and the bases loaded.

Abate then drove in a run on a fielder’s choice with a second run scoring on a throwing error to make it 7-3. The Patriots then got a groundout to end the game.

Jarema and Abate both had two hits to lead the Cougars while Holzapfel, Lyons, Sean Boylan and Steve Weisensee all had one apiece.

Koch went six innings, giving up six run (four earned) on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Zach Mason pitched the final three frames, allowing one earned run on two hits.

Earlier Saturday, Randolph-Macon stayed alive by eliminating Oswego State with an 11-4 victory. Misericordia won its World Series debut over the Yellow Jackets by a 4-2 score on Friday.

“Randolph-Macon is gunning for us,” Egbert said. “I’m sure that they want another shot at us, but we’ll be ready for that. And our guys will compete, that’s for sure.”

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