Junior Michael Kenah launched a sacrifice fly scoring junior Ashton Paige for the winning run in the eighth inning on Sunday as the University of Lynchburg baseball team defeated Bridgewater College 2-1 for LC’s first Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) title since 1990. It is the eighth ODAC title for the Hornets, who now earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Senior Robert Garrett pitched his second complete game of the tournament. He walked just one batter and struck out five, earning the ODAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player award. Garrett moves to 8-0 on the season.
“It’s wonderful to see these kids this excited,” said head coach Percy Abell. “To see their emotions, it’s incredible to me.”
The game proved to be very close, with a combined ten hits from both teams.
Bridgewater picked up the first run in the game off a RBI-single from Bryan Sanderson in the opening inning, driving in Devon Snow. Garrett then picked off Sanderson, ending the frame.
With BC still leading 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, junior Ashton Paige led off with a single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Lincoln Evans. Senior Richard Palase then singled moving Paige to third, which was followed by an RBI knock from junior Michael Kenah to tie the game at one.
The bases were loaded with one out but Bridgewater got two quick outs, ending the threat from the Hornets.
A similar script unfolded in the bottom of the eighth, as Paige led the frame off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Evans. Palase then reached base off a Bridgewater error, putting runners on the corners with only one out.
Kevin Chandler replaced starting pitcher Corey Armentrout on the mound to face Kenah who sent a fly ball to right field, scoring Paige on the sacrifice for the go-ahead run, putting LC up 2-1.
In the ninth inning, Garrett took the mound and got an immediate fly out and strikeout. With one out remaining, Lynchburg got a slow roller to first to end the game.
“It means so much,” said Kenah. “To see all the returning players, all the coaches and to win it for them and Lynchburg is incredible.”
Lynchburg (34-8) finds out where it’s headed in the NCAA Tournament regional round on May 13, when the entire field is announced. The regional rounds will take place May 16-20, with the winner advancing on to the championship round held May 25-29 in Appleton, Wisconsin. A total of 56 teams make the NCAA Division III postseason tournament.
2012 ODAC All-Tournament Team:
P – Brandon Miller, LC
P – Robert Garrett, LC
P – Dillon Via, BC
C – Devon Snow, BC
1B – Dustin Arrowood, LC
2B – Zeb Cope, HSC
3B – Dan Savage, LC
SS – Michael Kenah, LC
OF – Allan Brownell, HSC
OF – Zach Broaddus, RMC
OF – Nick Fulk, BC
Most Outstanding Player – Robert Garrett, LC