LA PLUME, Pa. – Keystone College won its eighth consecutive Colonial States Athletic Conference baseball championship with a 17-7 victory over Immaculata University Sunday. The Giants advance to their ninth-straight NCAA Division III Regional appearance.
Head coach Jamie Shevchik recorded his 500th career victory. The all-time leading coach in terms of winning percentage in conference history has an all-time record of 500-157 (.761) in his 15th season at Keystone. Shevchik is in his 15th year at the helm of the Giants, with his tenure with the program dating back to 2002 when Keystone still competed at the junior college level.
Thanks to its 24th straight victory in CSAC playoffs, the Giants claim the CSAC's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. They will learn their postseason fate late Sunday or early Monday. Regionals will last from May 18-22.
Chris Triano (Greenwich, CT/Rye) was selected the CSAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. In three games, Triano batted .308 with two home runs, seven RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base. Triano hit a three-run home run in Sunday's championship tilt. He went 1 for 4 on the day with a run and three RBI.
Eight of the nine batters in the Giants' starting lineup hit safely in the title game. Leadoff batter Louis Reyes (Port St. Lucie, FL/Treasure Coast) continued his torrid performance at the plate with a 3 for 5 outing with a pair of runs and RBI. Reyes batted 7 for 14 throughout the tournament.
Julian Lanfranco (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian) drove in three runs on two hits. Austin Chaszar (Bordentown, NJ/Bordentown Regional) homered as part of a 2 for 4 effort with two RBI and three runs. Billy Nelson (Moscow, PA/North Pocono) and Brandon Eady (Bowie, MD/DeMatha Catholic) also provided the Blue and Orange with two hits.
Alex Herceg (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) touched home three times. Nate Ross (Albuquerque, NM/La Cueva), the lone Giant without a hit, reached three times on walks.
James Dunning (Scranton, PA/West Scranton) notched the victory. He struck out five in 6 1/3 innings strong. Danny O'Neill (Lake Hiawatha, NJ/St. Mary's Rutherford) and Yeison Andujas came in relief.
Playing in its first championship appearance, Immaculata fell behind in the middle innings before threatening late with a four-run seventh inning. For the second-straight day, Jason McCormick was a hit shy of a cycle, securing a single, double and triple. In Saturday's 19-7 win over Neumann, McCormick needed just a single to hit for the cycle. He finished with a 6 for 14 weekend with eight runs scored.
The Giants and Mighty Macs combined for 24 base hits that featured a plethora of crooked numbers on the scoreboard. The Mighty Macs scored two in the fourth, four in the seventh and one in the eighth, while Keystone plated two in the second, one in the fourth, 10 in the fifth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth.
Keystone went ahead first with two in the bottom of the second, scoring on identical 4-3 ground outs by Lanfranco and Reyes.
The Mighty Macs responded with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth. Matt Simon hit a soft single to third to score Mike Lascomb to cut the deficit in half, and Howie Kalamets evened it at 2-2 on a finely executed double steal. However, in the bottom half of the frame, Alex Herceg (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) took advantage of a wild pitch to put the Giants ahead.
Keystone's volcanic offense flared in the fifth to the damage of 10 runs to take a 13-2 lead. Herceg, Lanfranco, Reyes, Eady, Rob Nardelli and Chaszar each had RBI hits.
Momentum seemed to be in jeopardy in the seventh. Seven of the first eight batters to the dish reached via a walk or a single. With Immaculata's four runs cutting the deficit to 13-6, Keystone forced an infield fly rule and a ground out to third to leave the bases loaded.
Chaszar and Triano belted home runs in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively.
In both the Immaculata fourth and seventh innings, the Keystone pitching staff shut down a barrage of hits with a set of back-to-back outs to cork the scoring and leave runners on base.