Stevens Point squeezes past Warhawks for NCAA regional title
He’ll have to settle for a game-winning 6-foot safety squeeze bunt instead.
Considine broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth with an RBI squeeze bunt to propel the Pointers to the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional baseball championship with a 4-3 victory over WIAC rival UW-Whitewater (42-7) here Saturday afternoon at Jim Miller Stadium.
Stevens Point (33-16), which will be making its first trip to the Division III World Series since finishing third in 2008, faces face Auburn (N.Y.) in an opening-round game at 10 a.m. Friday at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.
“I was just overcome with emotion after the game,” said Stevens Point coach Pat Bloom, whose team lost twice the previous Saturday to Whitewater in the WIAC tournament championship round. “It’s just been a real rollercoaster year. I don’t know if we have the most talented team we’ve ever had, but they’ve done everything they’ve asked of them.”
Bloom’s team was just good enough to knock off the Midwest Regional’s top-seeded Warhawks and earn a 5-5 split with Whitewater in 10 meetings this season.
“I’ll focus on not feeling like this again,” Warhawk coach John Vodenlich said. “What we try to work so hard for is to be able to walk off the field, win or lose, without regrets.
“If you’re going to sit in the game of baseball and question, ‘Should he have bunted, or should he have not bunted?’ we could be doing that all day long.”
What makes it even tougher for Vodenlich was watching some shaky defense on a safety squeeze play be the deciding factor in a one-run loss.
With Jordan Rennicke on third base with one out in the top of the ninth for Stevens Point, Considine dumped a wounded-duck bunt six feet in front of Whitewater catcher Rob Coe.
After what appeared to be a sure out at home plate, Coe fumbled his first attempt picking up the ball, which was just enough time for Rennicke to slide across the plate with the go-ahead run.
“It was a safety squeeze, so if I saw a pitch that I could put it down the first-base line, he (Rennicke) was going to try to score,” Considine said. “I guess it worked. I didn’t really see what happened, but I knew we tried to score.”
Vodenlich, however, had a painful front row-seat for the successful bunt.
“It looked like he (Coe) had it and was in position,” Vodenlich said. “But on his way back to the plate, he dropped the ball or kind of maybe twisted his ankle. But off the bat, he looked like he was position to grab the ball and make an easy tag.”
After dropping a 9-3 decision to Whitewater in the first game of the day, Stevens Point put itself in better position in the second game.
Justin Jirschele got things rolling with an RBI groundout in the first. The Pointers then made it 2-0 in the first when Whitewater starting pitcher Jason Hooper’s balk enabled Eric Fritz to score.
Warhawk second basemen Ben Kuhlman answered with an RBI single in the first to cut the lead to 2-1.
After Brad Archambeau’s home run for Stevens Point made it 3-1 in the third, Mike Kenseth tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run single in the fourth.
Hooper then shut down the Pointers until the ninth when Considine broke the tie.
“When it was all said and done, they (the Pointers) prevailed by one run, and it’s going to be a hard loss to handle.” said Vodenlich, whose team won the WIAC regular-season and tournament championships in advancing to the NCAA postseason.
STEVENS POINT 4, WHITEWATER 3
Stevens Point (ab-r-h-rbi)—Archambeau, rf, 5-2-2-1; Fritz, ss, 5-1-1-0; Richter, 1b, 2-0-1-0; Spurney, lf, 3-0-1-0; Jirschele, 3b, 3-0-0-0; Rennicke, 2b, 4-0-1-0; Iverson, pr, 0-1-0-0; Surman, dh, 3-0-0-0; Douglas, cf, 0-0-0-0; Considine, c, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 28-4-6-3.
Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Stine, cf, 5-0-2-0; Putnam, rf, 3-1-0-0; Donovan, 1b, 4-0-1-0; Kuhlman, 2b, 3-0-1-1; Coe, c, 4-1-2-0; Wessels, dh, 3-1-1-0; Beyer, lf, 3-0-1-0; Kenseth, ss, 4-0-1-2; Rechlitz, 3b, 4-0-1-0. Totals: 33-3-10-3.
UW-Stevens Point 201 000 001—4
UW-Whitewater 100 200 000—3
E—Whitewater 2. DP—Stevens Point 3. LOB—Stevens Point 7, Whitewater 7. HR—Archambeau (6). SAC—Richter, Jirschele, Douglas, Considine, Beyer.
IP H R ER BB SO
Delorit 5 10 3 3 2 3
Williams (W 10-2) 4 0 0 0 0 3
Hooper (L 7-3) 8 2/3 6 4 2 2 7
Schmitz 1/3 1 0 0 0 0
n Whitewater 9, Stevens Point 3—A five-run fifth inning proved to the difference in Whitewater’s decisive victory over Stevens Point earlier Saturday in the first game of the NCAA Division III regional championship series.
Travis Wessels and Jeff Donovan each drove in three runs to help Warhawk starting pitcher Riley Tincher earn the complete game victory.
WHITEWATER 9, STEVENS POINT 3
Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Stine, cf, 5-1-2-0; Putnam, rf, 5-2-2-1; Donovan, 1b, 3-3-2-3; Kuhlmann, 2b, 5-0-1-0; Coe, c, 4-1-2-1; Wessels, dh, 4-1-3-3; Beyer, lf, 4-0-0-0; Kenseth, ss, 4-0-0-0; Rechlitz, 3b, 3-1-2-0. Totals: 37-9-14-8.
Stevens Point (ab-r-h-rbi)—Archambeau, rf, 5-1-2-1; Fritz, ss, 5-0-3-1; Jirschele, 4-0-0-0; Spurney, lf, 4-0-0-0; Richter, 1b, 4-1-1-0; Rennicke, c, 4-0-1-0; Surman, dh, 4-0-3-1; Douglas, cf, 3-0-0-0; Krueger, ph, 1-0-0-0; Tuschen, 2b, 4-1-1-0. Totals: 38-3-11-3.
UW-Whitewater 100 250 001—9
UW-Stevens Point 100 011 000—3
E—Whitewater 1, Stevens Point 1. LOB—Whitewater 7, Stevens Point 6. 2B—Putnam, Wessels, Archambeau, Fritz, Surman. HR—Donovan (13), Wessels (1). SF—Coe.
IP H R ER BB SO
Tincher (W 13-1) 9 11 3 2 0 3
Van Beck (L 3-3) 4 2/3 8 8 6 2 2
Iverson 4 1/3 6 1 1 1 0