YORK, Pa. (May 8, 2016) - The Widener University baseball team captured its third Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Championship with an 8-6 victory over Messiah on Sunday at PeoplesBank Park in York, Pa. The championship is the second title in three years for the Blue and Gold.
Junior Kyle McKelvy (Collegeville, Pa.) faced a challenge in the top of the second inning as Messiah threatened with the bases loaded and two out. Andrew Eyster put a bunt down and reached base as McKelvy pulled Kyle Lowery (Norristown, Pa.) off the bag.
Josh Good, who scored on the bunt by Eyster, would be the first of three runs to cross the plate for the Falcons. Messiah would take a 3-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning, but the Pride would get one run back.
Lowery would score Nicholas Enos (Williamstown, N.J.) from second base on an RBI single through the right side.
McKelvy would come back in the third and shut the Falcons down in order. Michael Elfreth (Washington Township, N.J.) led the bottom of the third inning off with a walk. The junior would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt by Greg McDonough (Ambler, Pa.), and would score on the very next pitch on an RBI single up the middle by Bob Barnett (Glenolden, Pa.)
Enos would walk on four pitches to load the bases for Nick D'Alessandro (Williamstown, N.J.). After the Pride chased Brandon Shirk from the game, the freshman walked to score Barnett. The Blue and Gold would add three more to take a 6-3 advantage. Stephen DeBellis (Marlton, N.J.) and Lowery would each add RBI singles in the home half of the third inning.
The Falcons would threaten in the fourth inning with a runner on first and third with only one out. McKelvy was able to get out of the inning by sitting the next two Falcons down on five pitches.
Widener would add to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as Justin Healey (Ocean City, N.J.) attempted to steal second and forced a run-down. Barnett stole home on the play forcing a throw to home by Joseph Saufley. The junior scored on the play and was able to move Healey over to third as the throw by Saufley reached the backstop.
Messiah struck in the fifth inning to cut into the Pride lead as they put two on the board. Adam Janney led the inning off with a double off the left field wall, and would score on an RBI double by Colin Fry. The third baseman would score from second on a single through the right side by Josh Good.
After the Pride went down quietly in the fifth and sixth inning, Messiah inched closer as they put a run on the board in the seventh. Elfreth would get the run back on an RBI single to right field in the bottom half of the inning to score DeBellis from second base.
McKelvy earned the victory for Widener and improved his record to 8-1 this season after allowing five runs on eight hits and issuing two walks in five innings of work on the mound. Lafferty then relieved the lefty in the top of the sixth and picked up his first career save by yielding just one hit and one run, which was unearned, over the last four frames. He also recorded two strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
Healey was named the Most Valuable Player of the MAC Commonwealth Baseball Tournament after going 8-for-11 from the plate with four runs scored and four batted in.
Widener, which improved its overall record to 24-16-1 with today's championship win, will be one of 56 schools invited to compete in the NCAA Division III Tournament when the brackets are released on Monday, May 16.