DUBOIS, Pa. - The PSUAC Baseball Championship tournament had a familiar feel on Monday. For the second straight year, Championship Day began with the loser's bracket final between Penn State Brandywine and Penn State Wilkes-Barre. And for the second straight year, Penn State DuBois was waiting for the winner of that game in the championship.
The difference this year was a Wilkes-Barre walk-off win over Brandywine, advancing them to the championship game. Wilkes-Barre's incredible run came to a halt in the championship game, as DuBois' depth was too much for Wilkes-Barre's depleted pitching staff.
DuBois captured their third title in two seasons--two conference championships to go along with their USCAA Small College World Series championship last year.
East #1 PSU Wilkes-Barre - 5, East #3 PSU Brandywine - 4
Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Wilkes-Barre needed to make something happen. And make something happen they did. East Division Player of the Year Tanner Williams led off the inning and was promptly hit with a pitch. A single from Sean-Paul Williamson put runners on first and second, leading to a sacrifice bunt by Leroy Fettig.
Brandywine elected to intentionally walk Jordan Choman to load the bases with one out. They got the ground ball they wanted, but David Staskiel beat the throw to first as he picked up an RBI to tie the game at 4-4. After Staskiel advanced to second on defensive indifference, Brandywine once again intentionally walked Michael Sikora to load the bases and put a force play on at any base.
John Fagotti, who had entered the game to pitch the final inning for Wilkes-Barre, then cracked a long single to the base of the center field wall as Wilkes-Barre walked off into the championship game. Fagotti not only got the game-winning hit, but was credited with the victory on the mound as well.
Wilkes-Barre jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, but couldn't hold the lead as Brandywine chipped away. A run in the second and third innings made it 3-2, and Brandywine took the lead in the fifth after a Joey Buoni RBI single and a Nick Wright double drove in Brandywine's fourth run.
Wilkes-Barre would wait until the seventh to answer, ultimately winning to create a rematch of last night's winner's bracket final.
West #1 PSU DuBois - 15, East #1 PSU Wilkes-Barre - 2
The dugouts looked different, and the result was the same as the previous night. DuBois used a deep, powerful offense and a strong pitching rotation to shut down Wilkes-Barre, who had expended all of their pitchers just to get to the championship game.
The game started out innocuously enough as DuBois scored a run in the first to take a 1-0 lead. Wilkes-Barre bounced back with two runs of their own in the second as Leroy Fettig homered off the scoreboard in right field to make it 2-1. But much like the night before when DuBois used big innings to pull away from the East's best team, it happened again in the second inning. DuBois quickly loaded the bases and plated two runs before Lance Pennington hit a grand slam over the right center field wall to make it 7-2 in favor of the home team.
Toner Corl settled in after the second inning, scattering four hits and striking out seven in five innings. Justin Orlowski and Thomas Plummer each pitched scoreless innings in relief as DuBois cruised into the home stretch. DuBois outhit Wilkes-Barre 12-5 and capitalized on two Wilkes-Barre errors, which ultimately allowed three unearned runs to score for DuBois.
Wilkes-Barre used six pitchers on the afternoon, in what was already their second game of the day. DuBois scored runs on all but one of them, pushing their lead to 12-2 after three innings, including a two-run double from Isaac Stouffer. Three more runs in the sixth pushed the score to its final tally of 15-2 as DuBois celebrated their second championship in as many seasons.
DuBois secured the PSUAC's automatic bid into the USCAA Small College World Series, set to begin Monday, May 13th at Showers Field in DuBois.