College of St. Joseph’s Vermont Comes from Elimination Bracket to Win Second Consecutive USCAA Baseball Title

College of St. Joseph’s Vermont Comes from Elimination Bracket to Win Second Consecutive USCAA Baseball Title

College of St. Joseph’s Vermont Comes from Elimination Bracket to Win Second Consecutive USCAA Baseball Title

Glens Falls, NY. – College of St. Joseph’s College are back to back USCAA National Champions, after defeating the Apprentice School 6-1 in Friday’s title game.  The Fighting Saints, a No. 2 seed, began their title defense in the 2017 season with a 4-15 record in the months of February and March.  St. Joseph’s got hot in the month of April, winning 16 of 22 games and winning nine of ten down the stretch.  College of St. Joseph’s were challenged early in this World Series, defeating #10 Marygrove College by a slim 2-0 margin before slipping past Penn State DuBois 3-2.  Both wins advanced them to the winner’s bracket final against the Apprentice School, where they were downed 6-3 on Wednesday. 

The bats came alive for St. Joe’s in the elimination bracket.  They defeated Cleary University 5-0 on seven hits to move to the Championship game where they would again face off against the Apprentice School, who was undefeated.  The Saints needed to beat Apprentice, the 2015 USCAA National Champions, twice to capture their second straight title. 

In the first game of the series College of St. Joseph’s defeated Apprentice 11-4 behind the bat of tournament MVP Nick Rodriguez who was 4 for 6 at the plate with two doubles.  In the second and final game of the series, College of St. Joseph’s got on the board first on one of wildest and most memorable plays in Small College World Series history.  Rodriguez led off the game with a single to left center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jared Morello.  Tyler Kunzmann followed it up with a single to center, which wasn’t enough to score Rodriguez who had to wait to see if the ball would drop.  With two outs, Nick Powers struck out swinging on a curve ball in the dirt.  However, the ball was considered live and as the Apprentice School defense started walking off the field, Powers hustled to first and Rodriguez slipped behind Apprentice catcher Cody Hendrickson who was arguing that he had caught the ball. 

The game made it to the bottom of the second before thunder and lightning caused a half hour delay in the contest.  Just before the projected start time at 7:23pm, another cell of storms entered the area, bringing strong winds and rains that caused the game to be suspended until Friday morning.  The resumed game started as a pitching duel as the Builders brought in Steven Hux, who got the win against St. Joe’s on Wednesday.  Nick Powers, who started Thursday evening’s contest, went back on the hill for College of St. Joseph’s. 

The Fighting Saints broke open the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring four runs on three hits.  Derek Edge started the rally with a single to right field.  John Loschiavo followed it up with a double to right field, before Nick Rodriguez was hit in the left shoulder to load the bases.  All-tournament selection, Jared Morello, singled to left field to drive in two runs.  After Kunzmann struck out, Morello and Rodriguez stole third and second, respectively, which led to an intentional walk to Bryan Quezada to create for the force play for the Builders.  Hux walked Powers to drive in the third run of the inning.  Then, Tommy Grant hit a fielder’s choice RBI to score Morello, bringing the score to 5-0.

In the top of the sixth inning, The Apprentice School put up their first and only run of the ballgame with a two-out solo home run by Robbie Watkins, who blasted an opposite field shot off the East Field scoreboard.  College of St. Joseph’s got the run back in the bottom half of the inning, however.  After Edge reached base on an error by the Builder third baseman, he advanced to third behind a Loschiavo bunt and a stolen base.  Rodriguez recorded his sixth RBI of the series with a sacrifice fly to left field.  The game would go scoreless the rest of the way, as St. Joseph’s captured their second consecutive title at the USCAA Small College World Series. 

After throwing two innings of no hit baseball on Thursday evening, Nick Powers returned to the mound on Friday to go the distance, pitching nine innings, allowing only four hits, and striking out eight in the process.  For Apprentice, Hux was untouchable for two innings before giving up the four runs in the fifth.  He went 4.2 innings and allowed four earned runs with three strikeouts.  Nick Rodriguez and Jared Morello led the offensive attack for the Fighting Saints combining for four hits, three runs, and three RBIs. 

The Apprentice School finish the season 29-18.  With the St. Joseph’s championship, this marks the third straight year that the host institution has captured the Small College World Series’ title (Apprentice 15’, CSJ ‘16, CSJ ’17).  College of St. Joseph’s ends their championship season with a 28-22 record. 

  • All-Tournament Team

    • Nick Powers, So. RF | College of St. Joseph’s VT

    • Nick King, Jr. OF/P | UC Clermont

    • Jake Countiss, Sr. 2B | Apprentice School

    • Payton Tyndall, Sr. P | Cleary University

    • Mickey Montpas, Sr. 1B | Cleary University

    • Nicholas Burch, Sr. P | College of St. Joseph’s VT

    • Steve Hux, Sr. P/OF | Apprentice School

    • Jared Morello, So. 3B | College of St. Joseph’s VT

    • Robbie Watkins, Sr. P/DH | Apprentice School

  • MVP: Nick Rodriguez, Sr. SS | College of St. Joseph’s VT