Cedar Rapids, Iowa – After a heart-breaking 6-4 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Sunday’s World Elimination Game, Marietta College baseball coach Brian Brewer summed it up best.
This is baseball, man. Brewer said. “It will break your hearts.”
For the second day in a row, the pioneers played well, but not well enough to win. They lost 7-5 to Salisbury in 11 rounds on Saturday before falling to the Pointers in Sunday’s game. Their season ends at 44-7 and the program’s 23 journey to the World Championships.
“Obviously we expect to score more points than we did,” Brewer said. We were beaten. We were beaten (Saturday). We were beaten (Sunday). A tough time of the year. It will take some time to get over it and swallow it up. We did not play badly. We played well and played hard.”
Marietta (44-7) entered the World Championships as the best attacker in the country with his .384 hitting average. Trailing 6-3 for eighth, the Pioneers had a golden opportunity with bases loaded and no one out, but they could only muster one inning when Brett Carson stopped in double play.
Pointers loyalist Austin Sivertson took a strike at the finish to thwart a third-place runner, then cheered the side in ninth after allowing a single for Trent Castle.
“Austin has done an amazing job for us all year,” Wisconsin Stevens Point coach Nat Richter said.
“At this point (at eight) we’re just trying to minimize the damage. The double play was huge. The review added some drama to it. For him to hit the next guy, yeah, that was a big moment.”
Carson was out on a stage fanfare at first, which prompted Brewer to request a review, but the call was upheld.
“The double play was very basic,” Brewer said. “Brett put a good swing at it, and he had a good performance. I thought we fought like heck to get to that point. The kids showed a lot of guts.”
Gino Sabatin started and went 5 to 3 runs with the MC. He allowed three rounds on seven hits with two runs and two Ks. Pointers got him on Anthony Tomczak’s first RBI single, but Sabatyn then settled down and put zeros from the 2-5 innings.
“Gino has had a volatile year,” Brewer said. “By the year he was our number one man. He had a few tough starts against some really good teams early on.
“We knew he was going to have a big ride for us at some point. I am thrilled to death he saved his best to the finish. I thought he threw really well today. I am so proud of the way he competed and how far he has progressed.”
That allowed Marietta to take the three-point lead for a sixth-place lead. With two wins, Damien Jensey, Carson and Drew Holderbach all took a hit in scoring to make it 3-1.
Pointers gather again at the bottom of the sixth to chase Sabatine. Duo duo Bradley Comer tied, but was stranded in second place when Carson came on relief and earned an air strike and strike.
However, Wisconsin Stevens Point reached Carson in seventh. With bases loaded and one taken out, Payton Nelson, who hit three highs in the game, hit one of two runs in the middle to give his team a 5-3 lead. Later, Tomczak had another RBI single to extend the lead to three.
Marietta reclaimed one of those for eighth, but they let a huge opportunity slip away.
“The other teams had a much bigger role than we do with us,” The opposing teams are credited, Brewer said, for preventing the pioneer bats from seizing power. “I was really impressed by some of the positions the teams had. I thought they made us pat on the bottom. Their ad plans were really good for the hitters. That’s how it is at this time of year. You don’t usually throw up a lot of runs.”
The Marietta Pioneers 2022 had 14 seniors on their roster, most of whom will move on after Sunday’s loss.
“They hold a special place in my heart,” Brewer said. “It’s a special group of guys. I think everyone expects us to do this all the time, and it’s not that easy. There’s a lot of hard work in there.”
Jensey, who along with Castle and Carson had two hits each, had equal praise for his head coach.
We call him dad. Said the older five-year-old from Pittsburgh. “He really is that guy. He’s a second dad to me. He’s helped me develop as a baseball player and as a guy. Take everything I’ve learned here, and I’m going to take it into everything I do for the rest of my life.”
As for the indicators, they improved to 42-9 and would have to beat Salisbury twice to advance to the top-of-three championship series.
“We weren’t surprised or scared or nervous or anything like that,” Coach Richter, who watched bowler Caleb Krumnaker run 5-3 games, said. “This has been the MO for our team all year long. Really happy with the win. The Marietta program is really good.”
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