Lewis-Clark State Wins Third-Straight National Title

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) For the third-straight season, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) claims the coveted red banner, as the Warriors defeated Faulkner (Ala.) Friday night in the championship game of the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

“I’m happy for our players,” said Lewis-Clark State head coach Jeremiah Robbins. “They put a lot of time and effort into it. I love these guys, this is a great team. I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”

The title is an NAIA record 19th for Lewis-Clark State, which improves to 142-46 all-time at the event. The Warriors end the season with a 40-14 record.

The game winner came in the seventh inning, as designated hitter J.J. Robinson gave the Warriors their first lead, 5-4, since the opening inning with a triple to the right field corner. Robinson, who ended the night 2-for-3 at the dish with two runs scored and one RBI, had not previously hit a triple this season.

“I felt pretty good tonight and I was looking for something up because he was throwing high,” said Lewis-Clark State’s J.J. Robinson. “I hit that pretty well, and when coach came out and talked to me it gave me even more confidence.”

Robinson – the World Series Most Valuable Player – scored two batters later on a wild pitch to give Lewis-Clark State the two-run advantage.

Entering tonight’s game, the Warriors had only scored two runs in the seventh inning-or-later through their first five games at the World Series.

“We talked about it in the clubhouse before that pitching and defense would win this game,” said Robbins. “They did that throughout that was the key.”

Faulkner’s bats were dormant from the fifth inning on due in large part to the pitching of Dalton Blackwell, Matt Fish and Anthony Balderas. Blackwell (2-0), who had not thrown in more than month, shut down Faulkner’s offense in the middle innings. The senior surrendered only one hit in innings five through seven with two strike outs and no walks en route to the win.

“They (Faulkner) are a big rhythm and timing hitting team, so we knew we had to keep their rhythm and timing off,” adding Robbins. “Tried to do a little bit of smoke and mirrors, but Daulton (Blackwell) was on so we kept going with him.”

Matt Fish allowed only three hits over the course of 1.1 innings, before Balderas closed the door in the ninth for his fifth save of the season.

It was déjà vu in the first inning, as John Price blasted a home run in the game’s opening inning for a second-straight night. Tonight it was of the two-run variety, as Tra’mayne Holmes started the inning with a single. The long-ball is Holmes third of the World Series and 11th of the season.

The Warriors knotted the score, 2-2, in the bottom of the frame on a Micah Brown two-run home run. The home run was Brown’s second of the World Series and sixth of the season.

Brock Ephan’s two-out RBI single closed the scoring in the opening inning to give Lewis-Clark State a 3-2 lead.

Faulkner evened the score in the top of the second when L.D. Coney beat out an infield ground ball that scored Wes Roberson – the courtesy runner for Paolo Montezuma – from third.

Roberson scored his second run of the game in the top of the fourth to give Faulkner back the lead, 4-3. The Collierville, Tenn., broke hard on a ground ball to first base and never stopped running to reach the plate from second base. The Warrior first baseman threw to second for a potential double-play attempt.

Miscues led to a 4-4 tie once again, as a balk followed by a wild pitch plated Lewis-Clark State’s Raymond Pedrina in the bottom of the sixth.

Like he had all World Series long, Price led the offense for Faulkner. The senior ended the game 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored.

Five different pitchers toed the rubber for Faulkner with Jonathan Wilkins (0-2) taking the loss.

Faulkner ends its year as the national championship runner-up for the second-straight season. The Eagles fell to 54-12 on the year.

Friday night’s matchup marked the first time that the same two teams have played in the final since Lewis-Clark State and Oklahoma City faced off in 2002 and 2003.

The World Series concluded with an awards ceremony that included the All-World Series Team, consisting of 16 individuals, the Charles Berry Hustle Award, the World Series Gold Glove Award and the Most Valuable Player Award. Honorees are listed below.

Charles Berry Hustle Award – Raymond Pedrina, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
Gold Glove Award – John Price Jr., Faulkner (Ala.)
Most Valuable Player – J.J. Robinson, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) or John Price Jr., Faulkner (Ala.)

2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball All-World Series Team
1B – James Land, William Carey (Miss.)
2B – Ryan Rosa, Faulkner (Ala.)
3B – Tra’mayne Holmes, Faulkner (Ala.)
SS – Seaver Whalen, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
INF – Jerame Littell, Oklahoma City
C – Tyler Graves, William Carey (Miss.)
C – Paolo Montezuma, Faulkner (Ala.)
OF – Jared Baker, Oklahoma City
OF – Tyler Odom, William Carey (Miss.)
OF – John Price Jr., Faulkner (Ala.)
OF – Logan Griffin, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
DH – J.J. Robinson, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
P – Ivan Pelaez, Faulkner (Ala.)
P – Connor Brogdon, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
P – Jose Hildago, Science & Arts (Okla.)
P – Matt Young, Oklahoma City

Faulkner Forces If Necessary Game

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) The softest hit ball of the night proved the most important, as No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.) avoided elimination with a 6-5 walk off win over No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Thursday night at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

Trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth did not phase the Faulkner hitters, as Ryan Rosa shot a double to left-center to score Wes Roberson – a pinch runner for Olivier Basabe – to tie the game at 5-5. A single by pinch hitter Michael Darr put runners on first and third with only one out for L.D. Coney.

With the count at 2-2, the right fielder bounced a ball directly in front of the plate. Rosa broke home on the pitch, but froze mid-way to the dish, which caused just enough confusion for the Lewis-Clark State pitcher to throw the ball over the head of the catcher to allow the game’s winning run to score.

With the win, Faulkner improves to 54-11 on the season and keeps its quest for a second national title alive. The Eagles defeated Lewis-Clark State en route to the 2013 banner, but finished second to the Warriors last season. The two sides will meet again tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. PDT in a winner take all showdown.

John Price, who entered the game hitting .615 (8-for-13) with five RBI, hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give Faulkner the early lead. It was his second home run of the World Series and 10th of the season.

Faulkner threatened to add to its 1-0 first inning advantage, however a double-play cut the potential rally short.

The Warriors evened the game, 1-1, in the top of the fourth. Micah Brown hit his first double of the World Series and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The junior third baseman scored a few pitches later on a Seaver Whalen sacrifice fly.

Faulkner responded with a run of its own when Paolo Montezuma double to the left field corner, which allowed T.J. Condon to score from first. Condon, who led off the inning with a single, never hesitated on the play and scored without a play at the plate.

Faulkner starting pitcher Isreal Fuentes cruised through the first four innings, allowing the Warriors only one run on two hits.

With the bases loaded a no outs in the top of the fifth, Gunnar Buhner delivered for Lewis-Clark State with a bases clearing, three run double down the left field line. The hit gave the Warriors their first lead of the game, 4-2. Prior to that hit, Buhner was 3-for-14 (.214) with one RBI at the World Series. A Raymond Pedrina sacrifice fly scored another run for Lewis-Clark State to make it 5-2 at the midway point of the contest.

The Eagles cut the deficit to 5-3 when a Reid Long chopper found its way into center field to score Condon. The designated hitter opened the inning with a double. However, for the second time tonight a double-play ended any additional Faulkner threat.

Tra’mayne Holmes gave the Eagles new life in the bottom of the eighth with a solo blast over the left field bleachers. The long ball, which cut the Lewis-Clark State lead to 5-4, was his second of the World Series and eighth on the season.

Condon was the top hitter for Faulkner on the night, as the Minooka, Ill., native ended the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Austin Moreland (3-0) earned the win for the Eagles after tossing two innings of hitless, scoreless relief.

Despite taking a no decision, Lewis-Clark State starting pitcher Kevin Hamann pitched well. The Bend, Ore., native allowed four runs and scattered eight hits in seven innings of work. He also struck out five and walk only one.

Micah Brown was the top performer for Lewis-Clark State on offense, ending the night 2-for-4 from the dish.

With the loss, Lewis-Clark State puts the Warriors at 39-14 on the season.

Pitching Propels Faulkner to 5-3 win

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.) wins the battle of top seeds Wednesday night at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, as the Eagles down top-seed Oklahoma City, 5-3, at Harris Field.Faulkner advances to play tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Eagles, who are now 53-11 on the season, play No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) tomorrow regardless of the result of tonight’s late game. Faulkner is searching for its second national title and will need to win its next two games to accomplish the feat.

Left-handed pitcher Ivan Pelaez keyed the victory for the Eagles. The senior from Miami, Fla., allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out four and walking one over 7.2 innings – his third-longest outing of the season. Pelaez is now 2-0 at this year’s World Series.

Tra’mayne Holmes was also dominant, tossing 1.1 innings of hitless, scoreless relief en route to his second save of the year.

Faulkner plated two runs in the bottom of the first to seize early control of the contest. Holmes, who led off the game with a single up the middle, scored the first run on a T.J. Condon ground ball. The grounder was thrown away by the Oklahoma City third baseman to allow Condon to reach first. The senior designated hitter scored two plays later via another Oklahoma City throwing error.

Oklahoma City nearly lit the scoreboard in the top of the second when Shaun Corso lifted a ball to deep left-center field. However, it was for not, as John Price scaled the wall to rob the junior third baseman of his ninth home run of the season.

The Eagles made it a 3-0 ballgame in the bottom of the second when L.D. Coney shot an RBI single to second. Ryan Rosa opened the frame with a two-strike double and scored the run.

Faulkner capitalized on another Oklahoma City miscue to extend its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Wes Roberson, the courtesy runner for Eagles’ catcher Paolo Montezuma, scored from second base when a pump-fake by the Stars’ catcher slipped out of his hand and rolled into shallow left field. Roberson aggressively read the play immediately, which allowed him to score without a play at the plate.

Price, who entered tonight’s game hitting .700 (7-for-10) at this year’s World Series, homered over the center field fence to grow the Faulkner advantage to 5-0. The Gretna, Fla., native now has nine home runs this season and five RBI here in Lewiston.

Oklahoma City’s bats finally came alive in the top of the eighth, as the Stars cut the deficit to 5-3. Lane Milligan had the key hit of the inning with a double down the left field line that scored Branden Grieger and Jerame Littell. Milligan scored three pitches later when Joe Lytle hit a slow roller to first base.

Six different hitters ended the night with a hit for Faulkner.

Oklahoma City’s Cory Linn, who finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of singles, was the lone player with more than one hit.

Oklahoma City starting pitcher Matt Young (10-3) took the loss for the Stars.

Oklahoma City, which was appearing in the World Series for the 15th time in program history, ends the year with a 50-10 record.

LCSC Remains Unbeaten with win over Faulkner

(Box Score) No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) stands alone as the only unbeaten team remaining at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, as the Warriors downed No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.), 8-6, Tuesday evening at Harris Field.

With the win, Lewis-Clark State improves to 38-13 on the season and will play No. 9 William Carey (Miss.) tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Warriors, who have won two-straight red banners, are searching for an NAIA record 19th national title.

“I thought we competed really well,” said Lewis-Clark State’s J.J. Robinson. “Our hitters had pretty good at-bats every inning.”

In addition to timely hitting, Matt Fish gave a strong start for the Warriors, scattering seven hits and three runs (two earned) over the course of six innings. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native struck out eight and walked five en route to his seventh win of the year.

“It seems like he (Fish) gets better after he throws 100 pitches,” added Robinson. “He’s pretty rough through the first few innings, but then he bears down. He really showed us that he had a lot of heart today.”

Offensively, Lewis-Clark State was led by the top two hitters in the lineup – Raymond Pedrina and Micah Brown. Both finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate with one run scored. Pedrina also drove in two runs.

Faulkner drew first blood when Ryan Rosa deposited a two-run home run – his second at this year’s World Series – into the left field bleachers in the top of the second. The Eagle ended their half-inning with a 3-0 lead after a John Price single through the hole at short stop plated L.D. Coney. There was opportunity for Faulkner to add more runs to the total, as the club left three runners on the bases.

Lewis-Clark State responded quickly with two runs in the bottom of the second, including a no-doubt home run off the bat of Robinson. The long-ball is his first of the World Series and 20th of the season.

The Warriors second run came with the bases loaded. Cooper Goldby hit a sharp ground ball that took a diving stop by the Faulkner third baseman to keep in the infield. However, there was some confusion on the play, which forced the Eagles’ infielder to throw to second base instead of home plate. The fielder’s choice allowed Tyler McDowell to score and make it a 3-2 ballgame.

Lewis-Clark State claimed at 7-3 lead one inning later with five runs on six hits. McDowell opened the scoring with a double down the right field line, followed by a two-RBI single from Logan Griffin two hitters later. Three-straight singles from Gunnar Buhner, Goldby and Pedrina plated the other two runs to cap the rally.

The Warriors added an insurance run to make it an 8-3 scoreline in the bottom of the sixth when Pedrina hit a solo home run to left field – his second home run of the World Series and seventh this season.

Faulkner made things interesting in the top of the eighth inning, cutting the deficit to 8-6. John Price drove home the initial run in the inning with a single up the middle to score Tra’mayne Holmes from second base. A Lewis-Clark State error extended the frame, allowing Olivier Basabe to come to the plate with two runners on. The junior did not disappoint the Faulkner faithful, shooting a bases clearing double into the right-center field gap.

Price tied a season-high with four hits in the contest, while Basabe chipped in three of his own. Both individuals finished the night with two RBI and one run scored each.

Tyler Tungate took the loss for Faulkner. He surrendered four runs – all earned – in only 2.1 innings of work.

Faulkner is now 52-11 on the season and will play No. 1 Oklahoma City tomorrow at 3 p.m. in an elimination game. Additionally, the Eagles fall to 2-5 all-time against Lewis-Clark State at the World Series.

Dominant Offense Leads William Carey Past Missouri Baptist, 12-3

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Every Crusader in the starting lineup registered at least one hit to propel No. 9 William Carey (Miss.) to a 12-3 victory over No. 6 Missouri Baptist Tuesday afternoon in elimination play at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The 61st annual event it taking place at Harris Field inside Ed Cheff Stadium.

With the win, William Carey locked down one of the final four places in this year’s field. The Crusaders, who are now 45-19 on the season and 7-4 all-time in the World Series, will not know their opponent for tomorrow until the conclusion of the games today. The pairings for Game 16 and Game 17 of the World Series are determined by the World Series Tournament Committee.

William Carey’s Larson Barkurn, who entered the game 2-for-12 at this year’s World Series, found his groove against the Spartan pitching staff. The Petal, Miss., native ended the afternoon with a game-high tying three hits, including a two-run home run.

Additionally, the Crusaders continued to get production out of senior catcher Tyler Graves, who maintains at least a .500 batting average in the World Series with a 3-for-5, four RBI effort at the dish today. He also scored one run.

Overall, William Carey tallied 17 hits, which is the most for the club since tallying back-to-back 17-hit performances against Stillman (Ala.) on April 27 and 28.

Graves blasted his third home run of the World Series – this one a two-run variety – over the hitter’s eye in center field to give William Carey a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. He now boasts eight home runs this season. The Crusaders threatened to add more, however, a strikeout and ground out cut the rally short.

Missouri Baptist added a run of its own in the top of the third inning to make a 2-1 contest. Culver Plant registered the RBI on a ground ball to second base that scored Aaron Collazo from third base. Collazo reached earlier in the inning on a double – his second at this year’s World Series.

William Carey doubled its run total to 4-1 when Barkurn hit the club’s second two-run home run on the afternoon in the bottom of the fourth inning. The senior from Petal, Miss., entered the World Series without a home run, but showed plenty of power at the event with two home runs through four games.

The Crusaders added another run before the end of the stanza on an errant throw on a fielder’s choice by the Missouri Baptist’s first baseman that scored Wes Brown.

Williams Carey’s offense continued to run on all cylinders into the bottom of the fifth inning, extending its lead to 11-1 on six hits. After loading the bases with one out, the Crusaders went single, strike out, single, single, before Graves capped the rally with a RBI double.

The Spartans put two on the board in the sixth to cut to deficit to 11-3 when Austin Rieman launched a two-run home run. Reiman, who entered that at-bat hitless at this year’s World Series, now has five long-balls this season.

William Carey closed the scoring with one run in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly.

Crusaders’ Cole Edgens (10-1) scattered seven hits and allowed three runs over the course of 5.1 innings en route to the win.

Missouri Baptist was led offensively by Collazo, who ended the day with three hits and one run scored.

The Spartans end the year with a 45-16 record and drop to 1-2 all-time at the World Series. Missouri Baptist was appearing in the event for the second time in program history.