Outlook: The 20th-ranked College of Wooster baseball team rallied all the way back to win the 2019 NCAA Div. III Wooster Regional on Sunday, and now heads to Heidelberg University (33-13) for a best-of-three game series with the winner advancing to next week's NCAA Div. III World Series, held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
2019 NCAA Div. III Heidelberg Super Regional Schedule (All Games Wooster-Heidelberg):
Game 1 | Friday, May 24, 12 p.m.
Game 2 | Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m.
Game 3 | Saturday, May 25, 45 minutes after game two (if necessary)
Ticket Info: Daily admission to the 2019 Heidelberg Super Regional is as follows: Adults - $10. Seniors/Student (with ID)/Military Members (past or present with ID) - $5. Same-day re-entry is permitted with a hand stamp. All ticket sales are cash only.
Seating: Chairback seating between the dugouts and bleacher seating in front of the press box is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Spectators may bring their own chairs to sit along the right field line.
Parking/Directions: The Peaceful Valley Complex is located at the dead end of Prospect St. Using 188 Prospect St., Tiffin, Ohio, in GPS devices should direct you to the facility. Complimentary parking is available on the grass. Handicapped accessible parking is available by following the gravel driveway.
Pets: Peaceful Valley is a pet-friendly complex. Heidelberg asks that all pets be kept on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
Media Coverage: All of the games at the Heidelberg Super Regional will have live stats and live video, links to which can be found on Wooster's schedule page (http://woosterathletics.com/sports/bsb/2018-19/schedule) or Heidelberg's host site (https://www.bergathletics.com/sports/bsb/2018-19/releases/20190520ojpmz6). Fans can also follow the team's Twitter account - @WoosterBaseball - for periodic updates.
How We Got Here - Wooster: Wooster needed to win four straight games after dropping its regional opener 2-1 against the University of Rochester on Friday. Thanks to jumping out to big leads during a 13-3 win against Otterbein University and a 21-4 trouncing of Rochester on Saturday, legendary head coach Tim Pettorini was able to give his starters - sophomore Evan Faxon (Cleveland Hts., Ohio/Hawken School) and senior Chandler Dippman (Waterville, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) an early hook for a good reason. Both were able to come back on Sunday and play key roles in helping the Fighting Scots sweep Case Western Reserve University. Against Otterbein, Wooster's three, four, and five hitters - junior Dan Harwood (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights), senior Garrett Crum (Alliance, Ohio/Canton South), and junior Harry Witwer-Dukes (Monmouth, Ore./Blanchet Catholic) combined for eight hits and eight RBI while Faxon fired four innings of three-hit shutout baseball. In the second Rochester game, Wooster scored five times in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Crum moved into the top 10 all-time at the College in RBI, while Dippman needed 45 pitches to navigate through five innings of two-hit shutout baseball. In Sunday's first game, sophomore Andrew Hill (New Albany, Ohio/Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)) recorded a strikeout for the final out of the game, as the Scots held off a late Spartan rally to win 8-7. CWRU had the tying run on third and the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth. In the nightcap, Dippman went the distance, and didn't allow a hit until the fourth, while offensively, he helped the cause with a solo homer.
How We Got Here - Heidelberg: Heidelberg, back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, won all three of its games at the Adrian College Regional. The Student Princes' perfect week started with a 4-3 win over the host Bulldogs on Friday. Alex Sir Louis won his ninth game of the season, and allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings, while Joey Wenning capped the win with his ninth save of the season. In the winner's bracket, a second straight one-run game went Heidelberg's way when it downed Denison University 2-1. Kane Bateman doubled to start the game and moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch, and then scored the game's first run on a second wild pitch from the Big Red's Taylor Perrett. Trevor Adkins (7-4) allowed one run on seven hits in seven innings of work, while Robert Hunt knocked in Heidelberg's other run with a sacrifice fly. In the championship round, a sixth-inning grand slam by Matt Psychas propelled Heidelberg to a 9-6 victory over Adrian.
A Quick Check of the All-Time Series: Wooster's 57-28 all-time against Heidelberg. The two teams were set to play on April 28, but the game did not go through due to a host of schedule changes this spring. Wooster's won the last two meetings, including a 5-2 win in Florida back on March 19, 2016, which is when these two Mideast Region powers last met.
Swan Song: Wooster is home to the active leader in NCAA Div. III coaching wins - the one and only Tim Pettorini, who owns a 1,243-459-6 record (.730) in 38 seasons, all with the Scots. Pettorini, who will retire at the conclusion of the 2019 season, has guided the team to 26 NCAA regional appearances and a league-best 19 NCAC championships. Under the old postseason format, Pettorini's squads won the Mideast Regional and advanced to the eight-team finals on six occasions (1989, 1994, 1997, 2005, 2009, 2018). There, Wooster has a pair of national runner-up finishes (1997, 2009) and a third-place performance (2005) to its credit. Pettorini, who became the seventh Div. III coach to reach 1,000 wins on May 4, 2012, is a 14-time NCAC Coach of the Year. Last year, the legendary skipper moved up to fifth-place on the all-time Div. III wins list with Wooster's 15-4 victory over Allegheny College on April 21, 2018.
Unprecedented: Wooster became the first program in NCAC history to win four consecutive conference championships this season, with the Scots officially clinching their league-leading 19th championship with an official announcement from the conference office on Monday, May 6. Wooster previously had a chance to send out a senior class with four consecutive conference championships in 2007, but Ohio Wesleyan University upended the Scots in the 2007 NCAC Tournament, which at the time determined the conference champion. Starting last year, the team with the highest winning percentage in the NCAC is deemed the conference champion since the teams now play a full round-robin schedule. Wooster's in the midst of a NCAC-leading sixth stretch of winning at least two straight conference championships.
Scots Well Represented on All-NCAC Team: Wooster placed seven student-athletes on the all-conference squad this spring with Dippman leading the way. The utility ace was a repeat first-team selection at that position and debuted at pitcher as a second-team honoree. Last year, Dippman was voted first-team as a utility player and a third baseman. Crum and Harwood were repeat selections to the all-conference first-team, while junior Nick Strausbaugh (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) and Witwer-Dukes made their all-conference debuts on the first-team. Senior Jacob Stuursma (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) was a second-team selection, while Faxon earned an honorable mention certificate. Pettorini was selected by his peers as the NCAC Coach of the Year for the 14th time.
Hosting Again: Wooster's hosted a regional several times in the past, although this year marked the first on campus since 2004. Wooster last hosted in 2007 at Mills Field in Strongsville, Ohio. Prior to 2004, Wooster hosted in 1977 (Art Murray), 1987 (Art Murray), 1998 (Canton, Ohio), and 1999 (Canton). Overall, this is Wooster's 31st Div. III tourney appearance, and the Scots sport a 70-65 all-time record in regional and national tournament games. Wooster trails Ithaca College (38), Marietta College (38), and Eastern Connecticut State (34) when it comes to all-time tournament appearances. Last year, Wooster was one of eight regional winners which advanced to the NCAA Div. III World Series at Appleton, Wis.
No Slowing Down: Wooster's offense continues to rate among Div. III's elite. Last year, the Scots led the nation in hits (658), runs (516), doubles (139), and fielding percentage (.978), while this year, Wooster's in the top 10 nationally in average (5th, .342), on-base percentage (6th, .429), slugging percentage (2nd, .540), scoring (6th, 9.0), and homers (5th, 51).
Numero Uno: Wooster started the season in pole position in the D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 25 Poll, marking the sixth different season in the 2000s the Scots have had at least one No. 1 ranking. Wooster's first No. 1 ranking this century came in 2002, when the Scots earning top billing for four consecutive weeks. Wooster was either No. 1 or No. 2 in the Div. III coaches' poll each week during the 2006 and 2007 regular seasons, and was No. 1 in CollegiateBaseball's 2008 preseason prognostics. Last season, Wooster was voted No. 1 in the May 1 D3baseball.com/NCBWA Top 25.
Face in the Crowd: While Crum's cemented his name as one of the top offensive players in the tradition-rich history of Wooster's baseball program, he's one who doesn't have much name recognition on the national scene. That's because Wooster's just been that good and has had that many weapons that unfortunately, Crum was a little overlooked when it came to national recognition as a sophomore and junior despite finishing in the top-10 nationally in RBI each year with 56 and 69. During the Wooster Regional, Crum surpassed 50 RBI for the third straight year, moved into the top-10 all-time at the College, and is currently ninth with 177 RBI. He's entering the Heidelberg Super Regional two hits shy of becoming the 15th Wooster great with at least 200 career base knocks. Should he get there, he'll join W Association Hall of Famers Tim Basilone, Jake Frank, Rick Sforzo, Luke Ullman, and Trevor Urban, and former standouts Jamie Lackner and Travis Snyder as the only players in program history with 200+ hits and 175+ RBI. This season, Crum logged Wooster's 12th 20-game hitting streak, reaching the milestone with a fourth-inning double during the Scots' 16-9 win over Denison University on April 27. Crum's streak was snapped at 23, as he went hitless in game two of the twin bill against Wittenberg University on May 1. He hit a remarkable .526 (51-for-97) during his 23-game run with 35 RBI and 27 runs scored. He was the NCBWA Div. III Honorable Mention Hitter of the Week for games spanning April 22-28.
Utility Ace: Dippman's well established as one of the premier utility men in all of Div. III. The four-year starter has seen his role shift around some this year, as he's spent time as the starter at second base as well as designated hitter, but one thing's for certain - he has a knack for stepping up in the biggest games. The senior was on a roll earlier this season on the bump as he had a four-start stretch (Bethany College, Hiram College, Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash College) during which he allowed one run on 17 hits in 26 innings of work. The right-hander went the distance against Wabash, during which he fired a two-hit shutout on 80 pitches. A week prior, he allowed one run on five hits in a complete-game effort versus Ohio Wesleyan. The senior capped the Wooster regional with a complete-game against CWRU, during which he allowed three runs on nine hits with five strikeouts. A day prior, he pitched five innings of four-hit shutout baseball on just 45 pitches during Wooster's 21-4 rout over Rochester.
Simply Getting on Base: Last year, Harwood enjoyed a breakthrough season during which he clubbed 14 homers and drove in 72 runs en route to earning All-American honors. While his power numbers are down this year, he's actually a more well-rounded player. That's because Harwood's hitting a career-high .437 (69-for-158) and is reaching base at a .545 clip. The junior's walked 27 times and has been hit 12 times. His on-base percentage is the eighth-best in Div. III this spring.
Filling Big Shoes: Stuursma came into the season already established as one of the premier infielders in the NCAC. Nonetheless, he had some big shoes to fill with moving over to shortstop to replace Michael Wielansky, the 2018 American Baseball Coaches Association's Div. III National Player of the Year. Stuursma's excelled in his new position, and he enters the NCAA Super Regional as the team's leader in hits (70), the co-leader in runs (53), and second in average (.395).
Getting it Done No Matter the Role: Witwer-Dukes started the season as the Scots' regular at second base, but has since seen an uptick at third base, and even some time out in center field. Third base is where Witwer-Dukes broke into the lineup last year, as he was the starter when Dippman was on the bump, and thanks to a lights-out offensive performance, Pettorini simply had to get Witwer-Dukes at bats in 2018. That's because he hit .402 (33-for-82) as a sophomore, and Witwer-Dukes has built on that success here in 2019. He's leading the team with 56 RBI and is tied for second on the team with a .395 average (62-for-157). Witwer-Dukes' RBI count is the ninth-best in Div. III this spring.
"King of the Hill": Hill fired the 13th no-hitter in program history during Wooster's 16-0 win over Allegheny on April 21. The sophomore's electric stuff was just what the Scots needed to get back on track after falling in game one to the Gators, 6-1. While Hill's tops on the team with 60 strikeouts, it was the defense behind the righty getting the job done all afternoon and keeping the no-no intact. Twelve of the 13 batters Hill faced between innings two and five were retired, and only one by means of a strikeout. Hill's no-hitter is the program's first since Kyle Cunningham-Rhoads' perfect game against Hiram on April 15, 2012.
Old Reliable: Senior Wyatt Linde (Boulder, Colo./Boulder) has trotted out of the bullpen a team-high 22 times this season. He's 2-1 on the year with a save, and sports a 4.07 ERA over 24 1/3 innings. Last year, the southpaw appeared in 28 games, marking the second-most in program history. For his career, Linde's 6-3 with a 4.64 ERA over 83 1/3 innings. His 65 career relief appearances are tied for the fourth-most all-time at the College.
Faxon a Key Reason Why Wooster's Still Playing This Week: Faxon's contributions over the last month of the season are a big reason why Wooster's one of 16 teams playing this week in Div. III. The left-hander's posted a 1.04 ERA over his last seven outings, four of which have been starts. He's allowed four runs on 24 hits in 34 2/3 innings, during which he's struck out 22. Of the 24 hits Faxon's allowed over those seven outings, only three have gone for extra bases, and all of them have been doubles.
Landing page photo courtesy of Mia Faxon.