SALEM — Shenandoah University’s baseball team won its second straight Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament championship, and third overall since joining the conference in 2013, with a 5-4 victory over Randolph-Macon in a winner-take-all contest on Saturday evening at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
The Hornets (31-12) earned the ODAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs with the win and will make their sixth straight postseason appearance and 10th in the last 11 seasons.
The bids for the NCAA Division III playoffs, which feature super regionals for the first time this season, will be officially announced on Monday afternoon. Shenandoah will play in a four-team regional this weekend, with the winner advancing to a best-of-three, super regional series in two weeks.
“I can’t say enough about these guys,” Shenandoah head coach Kevin Anderson is quoted in a news release from the school. “They battled all season long, improved each week and were ready to play the past three weekends (when we needed to win).
“What a great effort.”
Shenandoah, which likely needed to win the ODAC tournament to book a trip to the NCAA playoffs, did so on Saturday evening by jumping on top-seeded Randolph-Macon with a run in the first inning and four runs in the second to take control of the contest.
Frankie Ritter, a Sherando High School grad, led off the game with a single and eventually scored on Luke Nussman’s sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning.
Ritter, Nussman and Henry Delavergne each drove in runs during a five-hit second inning that put the Hornets up 5-0.
Shenandoah freshman right-hander Calvin Pastel, making his fifth start of the season, picked up the win while allowing three runs on seven hits and three strikeouts over five innings. Luke Radazewski and Michael Robst each tossed an inning of relief for the Hornets before closer Gerard DePhillips picked up his second two-inning save in as many days.
The save was the 13th of the season for DePhillips, who had three saves in the tournament and set a new ODAC and Shenandoah single-season save record with his 12th on Friday morning.
Seven Hornets were named to the ODAC all-tournament team following the win, with senior second baseman Tristan Baker earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award for the second straight season. Baker, who extended his hitting streak to 21 games on Saturday, slashed .520/.600/.680 with a home run, a double and five RBIs in six tournament games.
Ritter, DePhillips, Nussman, Matt Moon, Grant Thompson and Robert Klinchock — who threw two complete-game shutouts in the tournament — joined Baker on the all-tournament team.
Randolph-Macon forced Saturday afternoon’s winner-take-all contest by winning Saturday morning’s matchup with Shenandoah, 5-1. The game was scoreless before a 55-minute rain delay interrupted a Yellow Jackets rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Randolph-Macon scored five runs in the frame after play resumed.