The Trinity College Bantams capped off a perfect regular season by winning the NCAA Division III Championship over Johns Hopkins 5-4 on May 27th. This game was played in Appleton, WI. My summer cottage is about 45 minutes away in Waupaca, WI.

I became interested in the NCAA Division III Championship because my cousin’s son, Kevin Kaminski, was playing for a very good Division III baseball team Carthage College. I shouldn’t say Kevin actually played for Carthage College, he sat the bench. Last year Kevin redshirted as Carthage made it to Appleton. This year he was promised playing time by head coach Augie Schmidt, but then was cut from the team as tournament play began, after wasting his time on the bench all year. As luck would have it, Carthage was eliminated from tournament play on May 16th losing to St. Scholastica, after losing to Wisconsin-Whitewater 24-3 on the 15th. So Kevin didn’t miss out on a championship, although he did work hard for the privlege of riding the pines. A couple of years ago Kaminski proved his worth as the regular secondbaseman for Harper Junior College, hitting well over .400.

But this story isn’t about Kevin Kaminski, Carthage College, or unkept promises. It’s all about Division III Championship Baseball.

In the bottom of the 8th inning trailing by a run, Trinity pinch-hitter Matt Stafford tied the game with an RBI base knock, coming through with two outs and two strikes. Johns Hopkins again put the pressure back on Trinity, when Matt Benchener hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 9th for a 4-3 lead. Trinity who had lost to Johns Hopkins the previous day to ruin their perfect season, was now just three outs away from losing the championship as well.

Trinity’s Kent Graham got things started in the bottom of the 9th with a one out single up the middle. Then James Wood got a hit & run single through the rightside, sending Graham to 3rd. Chandler Barnard, who had five hits on the day, was given an intentional walk. Matt Sullivan then drew a 3-2 bases loaded walk to tie the game. Then Guy Goglietino, Jr., who’d come into the game as a defensive replacement at 3B, fouled off seven pitches before receiving the game winning ball four.

Who says walks can’t be exciting? Congrats to Trinity College! Maybe next year I’ll have to make it to this exciting baseball tournament in Appleton, WI, rather than just reporting on it from afar.

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