Doane Wins GPAC, Headed to Nationals
Shortly after picking up 18 hits versus Hastings College on Saturday to move into the championship game against Midland, Doane pounded out 16 hits and drew nine walks as they cruised to the conference championship with a 14-2 win. The victory gave the Tigers their first GPAC post-season title since 2002 and moved Doane into the NAIA National Opening Round for the first time in school history.
Doane started the game with a bang, plating three runs in the first inning and chasing the Warriors' starting pitcher from the game. With two outs and Anthony Hincy at third base, Doane sent six more batters to the plate before the inning was over. Hincy scored on a double by Anthony Dunn. Jason West singled in Tyler Lohr, after he entered to run for Dunn. Three consecutive walks led to a RBI-walk for Ethan Schroeder.
In the fourth, Mike Albert picked up an infield single with two outs to plate Dylan Flott. The Tigers added a run in the fifth as West doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a fielder's choice.
Midland came back in the bottom of the fifth to plate their first run. A lead-off single, an error and a wild pitch gave the Warriors second and third with no outs to open the frame. Tiger freshman pitcher, Elliott Engle, was able to settle down and the lone run came in on a ground out.
Engle continued to be masterful in his first varsity start, finishing the game as he went seven-plus innings and allowing two runs on seven hits.
His Tiger teammates found a spark behind the freshman pitcher, plating eight runs in the top of the sixth. In the two games on the day, Doane plated 14 runs in the sixth inning.
The inning opened with a walk and a single to give the Tigers runners at the corners. West drove in the first run with an infield single as Mike Albert scored. A batter later with the bases loaded, Mike Korsakas delivered a two-run single to bring in Lohr and West.
Following a pitching change, Schroeder walked to load the bases for Flott. Flott sent a ball through the right side to plate Thomas Albert and Korsakas. Schroeder came in to score as he moved up to third on a wild pitch and went home as the ball was thrown into left field by the catcher. Midland was able to get Flott out at third base on the play.
With the bases empty, Hincy drew a walk and eventually came in to score on a triple by Mike Albert. Albert scored the first and last run of the inning, the final one on a single by Dunn.
Doane added to their lead in the eighth with a single run. Flott doubled to open the inning and scored on a single by AJ Spanel.
Midland plated their last run in the eighth. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Warriors with no outs. Zach Klene came into the game for Engle and limited the Warriors to a single run on a groundout.
Mitch VandenBerge threw the final inning for the Tigers, getting a line-out to Jason West to end the game and start the celebration.
Three Tigers finished with three hits apiece, Dunn, West and Flott. West scored three runs and six hitters had two RBIs.
Doane received the second automatic berth to the NAIA post-season by claiming the GPAC Tournament title.
For the tournament, Doane's pitching posted a 2.78 earned run average and opponents hit .231 against them. The Tiger hitters batted .355 and out-scored the competition, 56-16, including four games in which Doane scored in double-figures.
Mike Albert batted .519 in the tournament with 12 RBIs. West hit .450 with six runs and four RBIs. Hincy finished at .440 with 10 runs scored in the tournament.