The Hillsdale College baseball team fell to the Grand Valley State University Lakers on Wednesday in their first-ever NCAA Division II tournament game.
After making a six-run comeback to tie the game, Grand Valley’s Matt Williams led the ninth inning with walk-off home run to secure the Lakers’ 9 – 8 victory.
The Chargers, 32 – 23 on the season, will stay in Quincy, Illinois to play Indianapolis in an elimination game at 2:30 Eastern time on Thursday.
The Chargers were 0 – 4 in the regular season against the Lakers. All games of the games have been closely fought battles, however, with the exception of a 11 – 3 loss on May 1.
The two teams squared off in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament in Xenia, Ohio, where the Lakers topped the Chargers 5 – 3 after a tight bout.
Hillsdale recovered from the first game loss to win games against Ashland and Malone, beating the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year junior Brandyn Sittinger and GLIAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year Braun Miller in each game respectively.
The quest for a GLIAC championship ended on Sunday when the Chargers lost a heartbreaker to the Walsh Cavaliers.
“Well we didn’t win it all, but it was awesome to even be at GLIACs. No one expected us to make it and we played our hearts out in every game,” Senior captain, and GLIAC Player of the Year, Luke Ortel said. “Although we came up short of our goal, we kept our heads up because we never gave up and every game was close”
Hillsdale kept its season alive on Sunday night when the team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, much to the excitement of the Chargers. Sophomore pitcher Phil Carey was able to catch the moment on video.
A mantra from GLIAC Baseball Coach of the Year Eric Theisen has been to enjoy every moment they get together on the field. The team has taken this to heart.
“We are pumped to get another shot to play together in regionals,” Ortel said.