By Gary R. Rasberry
Dallas Baptist will get the opportunity to play for a second straight NCCAA National baseball title after winning the winners-bracket final, 2-0, over Bethel College on Friday afternoon at Jim Hoess Field.
The win puts the Patriots (43-16) in today's championship game at noon at Jim Hoess Field. The game was pushed back after Friday's late storms caused a delay that did not see game two start until around 6 p.m.
Palm Beach Atlantic made sure their first trip to Celina would be a long one as PBAU came back from being down 2-0 to upend Bethel 3-2 in the final game of Friday night.
The Sailfish sent Geneva home for the season in the second of three games on Friday by a 10-7 margin.
To get back to the finals, DBU relied on a Broadway show. Sophomore righty Lance Broadway fired a complete-game three-hitter, striking out 10 Pilots and walking just one to put the team in the finals.
"Lance was as good as I have seen him today," said Patriots coach Mike Bard. "He's been steady for us for two years and he pitched great when he had to. Bethel is a great club."
Broadway got the better of Bethel hurler Justin Masterson in the pitchers' duel, although Masterson was just as strong. The freshman from Beavercreek struck out six and allowed just four hits and two walks in seven innings.
"Masterson is as good a pitcher as we have seen all year," said Bard. "We've seen some pretty good pitching all year."
What Broadway could not do to get the outs, the Patriots defense did the rest. The Patriots turned four double plays in the game, including one to end the game when Javier Guevara hit into his second double play of the game.
The Patriots got the game-winner in the fourth. Kody Montgomery led off with a hit to right-center and never slowed down until sliding into second with a double. Ben Zobrist moved Montgomery to third with a groundout to first. Drew Holder singled Montgomery home for the first run.
In the sxith with two outs, Holder was hit by a Masterson pitched and stole second and when the throw from home was wild Holder moved to third. Ryan Olivo then grounded to second baseman Jacob Ringenberg, whose throw to Marcel Guevara at first base was in the dirt, allowing Holder to score the insurance run.
Palm Beach Atlantic 10, Geneva 6
The Sailfish scored four runs in the second and five more in the third to jump out to a 10-2 lead. The Tornadoes scored three times in the sixth to chase PBA starter Mike Doneth, but Rob Neigebauer came in to get out of the jam and complete the win.
Tom Baeder went 2-for-4 with a double and home run for the Sailfish. Ryan Gratton added two more hits in three at-bats.
Jonathan Crow wrapped up his run in Celina with a 4-for-4 day for the Golden Tornadoes.
Palm Beach Atlantic 3, Bethel 2
After trailing for the first four innings, the Sailfish got on the board in the fifth and scored two times in the top of the seventh to take the lead.
That was all that Paul Harvey needed as the senior struck out 11 and walked just two to put the Sailfish in its first-ever NCCAA baseball title game. Harvey scattered just six hits along the way.
Mike Schwartz went the first five for the Pilots, allowing one unearned run and three hits while striking out five. Bethel called on closer Tom Gifford in the sixth and did not have trouble until the seventh when the Sailfish completed their comeback.
Tony Flores and Bobby Brink each added two hits for the Sailfish. Javier Guevara had a home run for the Pilots.