TIFFIN, Ohio – A simply remarkable era came to an end on Saturday afternoon, as the 20th-ranked College of Wooster baseball team dropped game two of the 2019 NCAA Div. III Heidelberg University Super Regional 14-1 to the host Student Princes, and with it came the close of head coach Tim Pettorini's career.
"Congratulations to Heidelberg," said Pettorini. "They did a great job and played really well. We just couldn't seem to catch a break and couldn't seem to make a break. That's a big part of it. They created some opportunities for themselves and took advantage of them. That's kind of the way the game works. That's not the way we wanted it to end, but at least we know that the team that beat us played really well and deserved it."
|Tim Pettorini's legendary career came to a close on Saturday. Here's the "starting lineup" of his accomplishments as the Scots' head coach.|
Pettorini, who finished with a 1,243-461-6 (.729) ledger in his legendary 38-year career at the College, guided Wooster to a 30-15 record, a North Coast Athletic Conference-leading 19th title, and the program's 31st NCAA Tournament appearance in his final year at the helm.
Wooster's run came in the second inning. Junior Nick Strausbaugh parked a three-bagger into the right-center alley, and that brought in senior Chandler Dippman, who was hit by a pitch. Wooster nearly took the 2-1 lead, and would have, if it wasn't for Trevor Adkins' quick reflexes on the bump. The Student Princes' southpaw knocked down freshman Ben Gbur's hot shot up the middle, and Heidelberg was able to retire Strausbaugh who was caught in no-man's land down the third-base line.
Wooster had a runner in scoring position in the two subsequent innings thanks to senior Jacob Stuursma's third-inning three-bagger and Dippman's fourth-inning double down the line, but the Scots couldn't string together consecutive big knocks against Adkins.
Senior Garrett Crum led off the sixth with a sharp single into center field in what marked a memorable trip to the dish for one of the all-time best hitters in program history. That's because Crum became the 15th Wooster great with 200 career base knocks, and he's just the eighth player in program history to have at least 200 hits and 175 career RBI. Crum capped his career with 177 RBI, the ninth-most in program history.
Kane Bateman doubled to start the bottom of the first for Heidelberg, which took an early 1-0 lead, thanks to Kyle Jenkins' hot shot up the middle. The Student Princes took the lead for good in the second on Eric Devore's two-run homer, and scored, or threatened, in nearly every inning. The sixth was the only time Wooster sent Heidelberg down one-two-three.
The Student Princes broke the game wide open in the eighth. That's when the first 12 batters reached safely.
Sophomore Evan Faxon fell to 7-2 on the season. The left-hander was charged with four runs on nine hits in six innings.
Jenkins' four hits marked the game high, while six other Heidelberg batters had two hits each.
Adkins picked up his eighth win of the season. The junior allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work.
Coincidentally, two of the top all-time coaching careers in Div. III history came to an end at Peaceful Valley, as Marietta College's Don Schaly's final game took place against Heidelberg in 2003.
Wooster's senior class (Crum, Dippman, Wyatt Linde, Brian Murray, Ethan Myers, Sam Severance, Stuursma, and Harrison Walls), is the first in NCAC history to win four conference baseball titles, went 143-48, made the NCAA Tournament each season, and advanced to the 2018 NCAA Div. III World Series.
"I really haven't thought too much about it (retirement), because you get so involved with these young guys and trying to help them achieve the dreams and goals they want that you don't think about that. I think they've been kind of burdened by the whole thing. It's been hard for them – a lot of people around at all the games makes it tough for them. These guys have achieved unbelievable success. Our seniors have done stuff that no other senior class in the sport of baseball have done. I'm excited for them, and now they get their next chapter in their life. I get to go to the next chapter in my life. It'll be fun."