WASHINGTON, PA – La Roche Baseball is heading to the College World Series! Brady Hamer gave the Redhawks seven strong innings and Ben Herstine was named the MVP of the NCAA Mideast Regional as La Roche came back to beat Randolph Macon 4-3 in the winner-take-all championship game on Sunday. As champions of the Mideast Region, La Roche advances to the World Series where they will play the Central Region Champions Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday at 8:45pm.
Brady Hamer retired the Yellow Jackets in order in the first but Nick Maiolo singled up the middle and scored on a sacrifice fly to give Randolph Macon a 1-0 lead after two. Randolph Macon was threatening in the third but Hamer got Christian Sanderson to line out to Ben Herstine who touched first for an inning ending double-play.
The Redhawks placed men on second base in the first and third innings but left them in scoring position in both. Randolph Macon added another run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth but Hamer left runners on second and third to end a potential breakout inning.
La Roche capitalized for a run in the bottom of the fifth. Luis Navedo drew a four pitch walk and drove an 0-2 pitch down the right field line to put runners on second and third. Joe Professori then did his job to advance Navedo from third to cut the deficit to one. Ian Velez nearly put the Redhawks ahead but Randolph Macon left fielder Michael Trentham climbed the wall to rob Velez of his first career home run.
Randolph Macon's Mitch Keller fought off three foul balls (3-2 pitch) to draw a bases loaded 2-out walk in the fifth. Hamer got Trentham to fly out to center in the next at bat to limit the damage to just a run.
Hamer left runners on second in the top of the sixth and seventh innings and La Roche came through in the bottom of the seventh. Seniors Tyler Craig and Colin Williamson lined one-out hits into the gap and Luis Navedo doubled over the third base bag to cut the deficit to one. Herstine then stepped to the plate and ripped 0-1 two-out fastball up the middle to score Craig and Williamson.
Tanner Wilt came into relieve Hamer to start the eighth and retired the side in order. He then came back in the ninth and got Sanderson to groundout as La Roche earned their first-ever NCAA Regional Championship and a trip to the College World Series.
Herstine was named the MVP of the NCAA Mideast Regional after driving in two including the winning run. Navedo went 2 for 3 with 2 runs, 2 double and an RBI. Professori registered an RBI while Craig and Williamson scored runs.
Hamer battled all game stranding eight runners on base including twice with men on second and third. He improves to 6-0 on the season while Wilt registered his first save.
The Redhawks advance to their first-ever College World Series where they will play Wisconsin-Whitewater in a First Round game on Friday at 8:45pm.