|Cortland shortstop Paul Dondero broke a scoreless tie with a home run to left field, his fourth of the year.
d3photography photo by Steve Frommell
By Jim Dixon
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Paul Dondero must have thought the ball was off the wall as he sprinted around the bases. When the umpire gave the home run sign, Dondero was seemingly already in the dugout, celebrating what would prove to be the game winner in a 1-0 contest to open the NCAA D-III World Series at neuroscince group field at Fox Cities Stadium.
Pitching was on display as Cortland and Emory had their aces dealing on the mound. Both pitchers came back after a two-hour rain delay and finished that they started, including Red Dragons starter Seth Lamando, who struck out 10 in throwing a complete-game shutout.
"I went to Seth and said 'you don't have to go out there,' " said Cortland coach Joe Brown. "He convinced me to let him go back out."
"My main focus was to stay mentally in the game and what your job is from the start," said Lamando. "It is tough to do and could have gone two different ways."
"There was no doubt that Jackson was not going back out there," said Emory head coach Mike Twardoski. "I just never thought that he would go out there for six more."
"I treated it like two separate games, a three-inning and a six-inning game," said Weeg. "I warmed up for a second time and called it a day.
Jackson Weeg, Emory's starting pitcher, got in some early trouble but was helped out by his defense as they turned a double play in each of the first three innings.
"When Jackson's sinker is working, we get a lot of ground balls and when you get them, you have to turn then," said Twardoski.
Lamando got into a some early trouble as Emory loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning. Philip Maldari opened the inning with a single to right. Lamando struck out the following two batters but lost the strike zone with a hit batter and a walk. David Coble came up and Lamando finished the inning with a strikeout to end Emory's biggest treat of the game.
"My main focus was to get an out, I knew I had to throw strikes and had my team behind my back," said Lamando. "This always gives me confidence out there."
The rains came and after the tarp was pulled, both pitchers had settled down and the opportunities to score were at a minimum. In the seventh inning Brown pulled Dondero aside with some advice.
"I told him to slow the game down a bit," said Brown. "Our seniors had jumped the count and I said to take a strike. You're going to get a pitch to hit."
A pitch to hit was right as Dondero swung at the second pitch he saw for his fourth home run of the year.
Emory's final chance to change the score came in the ninth. Nick Chambers singled to short and was on first when Chris Young scorched a ball that Austin Clock caught, beating Chambers back to the bag. Lamando ended the game with his 10th strikeout of the contest.
"We almost pinch-ran for Austin at the top of the inning," said Brown. "We kept him in for his defense. It was not that another young man cannot make that play but Austin is an exceptional first baseman."
"We hit a line drive and it could have been easily second and third with no outs," said Twardoski. We did everything right."
Cortland will face the winner of the Trinity (Texas)/UW-La Crosse game in a winners match where Emory will face elimination on Saturday vs. the loser.
"You will see a team ready to play," said Twardoski. "We have been doing this a long time. We have lost the first game before and made it to the end."