McComb, Robinson, Soper help UBC advance to NAIA opening round
WEEKLY UPDATE #12
Cal Pac Conference Championship
Loss 7-3 Benedictine-Mesa (NAIA)
Win 9-7 Marymount California (NAIA)
Win 5-3 Corban (NAIA)
Win 8-6 Benedictine-Mesa (NAIA)
Loss 16-3 Antelope Valley (NAIA)
Overall Record: 28-24 Conference Record: 19-12
Jr Pat Van Den Brink 4.1 Inn, 5 Hits, 1 Run, 1 Earned, 2 BB, 5 Ks, (1 Win)
Sr Braeden Allemann 8.1 Inn, 10 Hits, 6 Runs, 5 Earned, 3 BB, 12 Ks, (1 Win)
So Niall Windeler 6 Inn, 2 Hits, 3 Runs, 2 Earned, 6 BB, 4 Ks
So James Bradwell 6.2 Inn, 8 Hits, 3 Runs, 3 Earned, 0 BB, 4 Ks, (1 Win)
Sr Kyle McComb 6-17, 2 RBI, 2 R
Jr Lucas Soper 7-16, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 HR
Sr Mitch Robinson 8-18, 9 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 HR
Sr Anthony Cusati 4-12, 3 RBI
Jr Jake Lanferman 5-20, 3 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB
Fr Jaxon Valcke 4-19, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 HR
Last week, the Thunderbirds battled through a five-team regional tournament finishing second, and earning a spot in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round in Mesa, Az.
UBC started the double knockout tournament with a tough loss against Benedictine Mesa. Niall Windeler got the start on the mound and although he wasn’t as sharp as he usually is, he kept the Birds in the game, leading 2-1 through 6 innings. The Redhawks added 2 runs in the 7th and 4 more in the top of the 9th to secure the game 1 victory. The offence had their chances but struggled to get a timely hit.
The road became tougher in the loser’s bracket as each contest would now be an elimination game with the season on the line. With their backs against the wall the Birds came together and played some of their most clutch baseball of the year. The second game on day 1 saw the Birds outlast the Marymount – California Mariners 9-7 in a back and forth fight. UBC used four pitchers (Jack Caswell, Finnigan Duffield, Christian Botnick aand Patrick Van Den Brink) and the offence started to heat up in the 100-degree weather. The score was 7-5 going into the eighth when the Mariners rallied to tie the game. The Thunderbirds immediately answered in the top half of the ninth with two runs of their own, thanks in part to a Justin Orton fly ball and a bases loaded walk to Jake Lanferman. Van Den Brink then took the ball in the bottom half to shut down Marymount.
With four teams left, the next morning saw the Birds take on the Corban Warriors in their second elimination game of the tournament. The season series prior to the game was split 4-4 and given the rivalry between the two teams this year, the Birds knew they had a tough fight ahead of them. Braeden Allemann got the ball and worked with the lead right away as the bats came through in the bottom of the first with three runs. Allemann was brilliant going seven innings allowing only two runs -- one earned. At the same time Corban starter Caleb Henry was just as good, putting up six straight zeros after being roughed up to start the game. The Warriors were able to scrap away late in the game scoring a single run in the sixth, seventh, and ninthh, but a two-run single by Kyle McComb in the eighth was enough to capture the victory for the Birds.
The Thunderbirds live to see another game, and a chance to get revenge on Benedictine – Mesa. The night cap had everything on the line as the No. 1 seeded Antelope Valley Pioneers were waiting in the finals and already held an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. Because of this, the winner of the elimination game versus Benedictine – Mesa would not only clinch a spot in the tournament final, but also a berth to the Opening Round Playoffs.
The Thunderbirds turned to two sophomore pitchers that both hadn’t thrown in over a month due to injuries. Before Adam Mckillican stepped on the mound the Birds’ offence put up four runs in the top half of the first, highlighted by a two-run blast to right by Jaxon Valcke. McKillican got the start and was great through two innings before allowing three in the third. That’s where Bradwell took over and went six scoreless innings before allowing three runs late. The bats stayed hot as the offence scored four more runs along the way, including solo shots by Mitch Robinson and Lucas Soper. Allemann came in to get the last out in the ninth to close the door sending the birds to the finals and the National Championship Opening Round.
The next morning the Birds faced off against an Antelope Valley team who had only played two games to this point, and their freshness served them well verses a worn-down Thunderbirds squad. The game got away from the Birds early as the Pioneers came away with the Cal Pac Championship in the one-sided affair.
Although the Thunderbirds didn’t come out on top, they fought for five games and earned a berth nonetheless to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, keeping their season and World Series hopes alive.
The NAIA selection committee has placed UBC in the Lincoln, California Bracket as the No. 5 seed. It will take a tournament championship to move on to the World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
All-NAIA West Honours
Name Institution YR Pos. Hometown
Mitch Robinson British Columbia SR IF Surrey, B.C.
Niall Windeler British Columbia SO P Toronto, Ont.
Braeden Allemann British Columbia SR DH Surrey, B.C.
Shortstop: Kyle McComb, British Columbia
Third Base: Mitch Robinson, British Columbia
Center Field: Austen Butler, British Columbia
NAIA National Championship Opening Round
Monday 5/14 vs. Judson (Ill) @ 9:00 AM