LA CROSSE, Wis. — The Statesmen baseball team has overcome obstacles all year, and it managed to clear two more hurdles Friday for the Midwest Collegiate Conference crown.
William Penn (22-16, 12-8 MCC) entered the day one game back of Viterbo, but leapfrogged its hosts by winning 5-4 and 4-3 (8 innings). The conference title is the program’s 13th overall and its first since 2009 (fifth since joining the MCC). The Statesmen were just 6-7 in the league back on April 14, but won six of their last seven games.
William Penn will enter next week’s MCC Tournament as the No. 1 seed, opening against the No. 6 seed (TBD) Tuesday at noon. The double-elimination tournament will be contested Tuesday through Friday at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo.
It was almost a wasted trip into the Cheese State as the visited fell behind 3-0 to the V-Hawks (21-17, 11-9 MCC) after just two frames. The deficit continued to be three entering the sixth when the Statesmen bats finally awoke with all five of their runs.
Jayme Muellerstarted a tremendous rally with a one-out hit-by-pitch, the first of seven players to reach base. Roy Perez followed with a single, and then Brian Williams loaded the bases with a walk. Nathan Wood finally put William Penn on the board with a single to plate Mueller.
With the bases still packed, another run came in on a walk drawn by Joel Medina to bring in pinchrunner Julio Riojas. Chris Redfernwas then hit by a pitch to score Williams to tie the game at 3-3.
Wood came around on the third walk of the frame, which was drawn by Enrique Alvarado. Stan Simmons concluded the rally with a groundout that brought in Medina, making it 5-3 in favor of William Penn.
The Statesmen defense nearly gave the game away in the seventh, though, as it committed two errors, helping the hosts narrow the margin to one at 5-4. The V-Hawks loaded the bases, but the Statesmen came up with an out at second base to knot up the conference race as both teams were 11-8.