Five teams secure their trip to Wisconsin

Oswego State clinched its first-ever trip to the Division III World Series in a winner-take-all game with Southern Maine.
Oswego State athletics photo

Josh Lopez is 10-for-23 with seven runs scored over his last five games for UMass-Boston.
Mass-Boston athletics photo by Colleen Koen
Which low seed are you most surprised is still here entering Sunday?
West 5 Concordia (Texas)
Mideast 7 DePauw
Central 5 North Central
South 6 Roanoke
Midwest 6 St. Thomas
New England 6 Suffolk

By the time we get to the fourth day of the regional, usually teams fall into one of two categories: sitting pretty and fighting to survive. Now, because of the weather in the Mideast and Midwest, we might not get all of the regionals finalized on Sunday, but regardless, some teams are sitting in a great position: undefeated, perhaps even waiting for teams to get to them.

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It continued to be a surprise in the Central where No. 5 seed North Central scored the final three runs, the last of them on a walkoff walk to nip Birmingham-Southern 3-2 in 11 innings for the Sauget Regional title. Nick Sotiros earned tournament MVP as the Cardinals will be in the D-III World series for the first time since 1991.

"I'm so proud of these guys," said coach Ed Mathey. "Somewhere in the last few weeks I've seen the term Cardiac Cards thrown around and it absolutely applies to this team. We compete until the end and all it takes is a little momentum for these guys, they've gone through a lot in the last few weeks. It's been really special how they've come together and what they've accomplished."

The most surprising team to be sitting pretty was Roanoke, to be sure, and the Maroons needed two games, but got the job done in the second one, defeating Salisbury 13-5 to clinch a trip to the Division III World Series. The Sea Gulls came through the losers bracket and forced a winner-take-all game when it was able to snag a line drive and double off the would-be winning run to end Sunday's first game.

Rain delayed and relocated the West Regional Final, where No. 2 seed Cal Lutheran faced No. 5 Concordia (Texas) at Mike Carter Field, in Tyler, Texas, a turf facility. The change in location did not change Cal Lutheran's momentum and the Kingsmen are going back to the D-III World Series for the first time since their 1999 appearance in Salem, Virginia. Concordia (Texas) left the bases loaded in the ninth as they ended their season to Cal Lutheran, 9-7.

"We always have a meeting before the game," said Cal Lutheran coach Marty Slimak, "and I said, 'look, there are circumastance that are always going to come against you. You just have to play through whatever they throw against you.' This morning it was just unblieveable weather situations that were going around us and it kept getting delayed and I said, 'hey, embrace it and get on with it.' "

In the New York Regional, No. 1 seed Oswego State and No. 2 Southern Maine played a final championship game after sophomore Zach Quintal's two-run homer in the top of the ninth gave USM a 7-6 win the first time around. Oswego State joined Roanoke as first time players in the D-III World Series. The Lakers jumped on the exhausted USM pitching staff in the first two innings to build a 4-1 lead, and increased the margin to 8-3 by the fifth inning, as they cruised to a 9-4 win to capture the Syracuse Regional.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional will extend one more day. Shenandoah eliminated Johns Hopkins with a 4-2 win in Sunday's first game, then held on against a late Lyons rally to edge Wheaton (Mass.) 5-4. The winner-take-all rematch will take place Monday.

In New England, Mass-Boston finished its regional unbeaten with an 11-8 win in the championship game over Babson. Senior Luke Nagle’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning plated the go-ahead run for the Beacon. The Beavers got to the final with a 9-1 victory against Suffolk.

And we saved the complicated ones for last. That's because the Midwest didn't even get its winners bracket championship game in, and we started with a 14-0 Concordia-Chicago win over UW-La Crosse and now that the games have been played we have UW-La Crosse and Concordia-Chicago opening tomorrow play as well. St. Thomas eliminated St. Scholastica and was eliminated by UW-La Crosse to set up a rematch. In the Mideast, Washington & Jefferson is sitting pretty at 3-0. Cortland defeated DePauw 9-0 Sunday morning, followed by a 22-4 rout of Keystone. The Red Dragons get the rest of the day off with one of two games against W&J to decide the regional title.

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