By Jim Dixon
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Chapman stranded four Washington and Jefferson baserunners, two in the first and two in the ninth as the Panthers survived a shaky start and end as they defeated the Presidents 6-3 in the opening game of the 2019 Division III World Series at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
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"We are excited to get that first win under our belts," said Chapman head coach Scott Laverty. "We knew every one coming here would be good. It is the first time we have been on the road in a month and good to get our feet wet. It is the kind of thing they have done all year, just battle and compete."
Washington and Jefferson opened the game with a single by Dante Delesandro. Delesandro moved to second on a hard slide on Mullen Socha's grounder with Socha earning first base after the shortstop threw late. A fly out and two strikeouts stranded both runners. Chapman ended their at-bats with three up, three down.
|Jonathan Hernandez got the start for Chapman with their
ace of the staff, Tyler Peck, taking the ball in the winners
bracket game on Saturday.
d3photography.com photo by Steve Frommell
"Sometimes you are most vulnerable early to good pitching," said Mountain. "Their guy made some pitches early and our hitters were jumpy the first time through the order."
After W&J stranded another runner, Chapman scored their first run. Henry Zeisler singled to center and moved to third when the W&J third baseman airmailed Joe Jimenez's grounder well over the first baseman setting up runners at second and third with no outs. Mack Cheli's line drive dropped in front of the centerfielder, allowing Zeisler to score.
The Panthers added two more in the third. Alex Tsuruda's one-out drive hugged the left line allowing the outfielder to reach second. Brad Shimabuku's fly ball to right flew over the fielder and by the time the ball was back into the infield, Shimabuku had a stand-up triple and Chapman led 2-0. Tristan Kevitch's single to center gave the Panthers a 3-0 led.
Both teams traded zeros in the fourth and fifth innings. It was the sixth that W&J broke the ice and scored three to knot the score. Delesandro and Socha opened the inning with singles, each moving up a base on a groundout to short. James Artale's ball over the left fielder scored both base runners. Adam Moore's saftey moved Artale to third and Joey Bolick's fly ball that the Chapman center fielder tracked down brought home Artale for a 3-3 tie.
Chapman retook the lead in the home half of he sixth inning. Kevitch popped up but a collision between the pitcher and third baseman saw the ball drop out of the third baseman's glove. Zeisler's single to right put runners on the corners. The Presidents got two outs with a caught stealing and a lineout and was poised to get out of the inning still tied before Cheli's single squirted through the left side for the Panthers fourth run.
"It was a little deflating when we did score the three spot and they nosed one across," said Mountain. "Especally with the back end of their bullpen."
Chapman added a run in the eighth. Zeisler's 380-foot drive hit the grass over the left fielder for a double. Jimenez's sacrifice put Zeisler on third. Jarod Penniman's fielders choice eliminated pitch runner Cooper Foard, on base via a Kevin Gregerson hit-by-pitch, and scored Zeisler. Aaron Wong's double brought home Chapman's final run, giving the Panthers a 6-3 advantage going into the final inning.
Chapman brought in the D3baseball.com All-American closer, Nick Garcia to finish the ninth and things did not go exactly as planned. Moore singled and Bolick earned the game's only base-on-balls to bring the tying run to plate. A strikeout sandwiched between two groundouts gave Chapman the win.
Zeisler led all hitters with three hits. Wong, Kevitch, and Shimabuku each had two hits for Chapman. Dalesandro and Moore had multiple hits for the Pesidents. Zeisler scored twice while teammate Cheli drove in a pair. Artale had two RBIs for W&J.
Jonathan Hernandez earned the win. He gave up three runs, all earned on seven hits with five hits. Garcia earned his tenth save on the season. Ben Marsico took the loss. He allowed four runs, two earned, on eight hits. He struck out two.
Chapman will play the winner of Webster and UMass-Boston while W&J will plays the loser in the first elimination game on Saturday.