By Pat Coleman
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The final game of the night on Saturday at the 2019 Division III World Series started just seconds shy of 9 p.m. CT, but it was worth the wait, even when that wait into extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Birmingham-Southern forced Johns Hopkins to do the unorthodox and managed to come away with the 4-3 win.
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BSC moves to the Bracket 2 title game, while JHU comes back on Sunday afternoon to face Babson in an elimination game, scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. CT.
|Birmingham-Southern celebrates good times.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
The Blue Jays used a drawn-in infield and a fifth infielder once Birmingham-Southern (41-13) loaded the bases with one out in the 10th. Tyler Wise hit a bouncer to the left of the mound which Johns Hopkins shortstop Mike Eberle was in position to field, and fielded cleanly. His throw, however, was short of the plate and catcher AJ King could not dig it out, allowing Rich Misischia to slide home with the game-winning run.
The run made a winner out of Misischia as well, as he came on in relief in the top half of the ninth inning. He had started the game in left field.
Misischia’s replacement in left, Oakley Starling, made a fantastic diving catch to preserve the tie game, while in the bottom half of the inning, Johns Hopkins reliever Preston Betz picked off a runner at second to do the same.
Johns Hopkins scored twice in the first and once in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Chris Festa got things started with a solo home run to right field, Nate Davis followed with a double to left and Chris DeGiacomo singled down the line to bring Davis around.
But the Panthers scratched out a run in the sixth and a run in the eighth to tie the game, with the big blow a double by No. 9 hitter Cole Steadman. His double down the right field line started the eighth inning. After a balk by JHU starter Jack Bunting, Steadman moved to third. And leadoff hitter Brian Williams was there with an infield grounder to bring Steadman across and tie the game 3-3.
Misischia got the win with two innings of scoreless relief, to improve to 10-1. Hanan Mauldin entered the game in relief in the fourth inning for the Panthers and threw four and one-third shutout innings as well. Betz took the loss for Johns Hopkins to fall to 5-3. Jack Bunting started and went seven and one-third innings, allowing three runs and striking out eight while walking none.