With one win and two losses, the Webster University baseball team went through the same storyline in the 2013 Division III College World Series that it did in 2012. The University of Southern Maine Huskies eliminated the Gorloks from the CWS with a 7-2 win on Sunday, May 26 in Appleton, Wis.
Both starting pitchers — Cody Hafeli for Webster and Ryan Yates for Southern Maine — made their first appearance in the tournament. Yates received the advantage of a strong offense behind him that finally began to hit.
The Huskies had yet to come alive at the plate in this year’s College World Series. During the regular season, they were one of the top offensive teams in the country. They led all schools in home runs and hit .349 this season, which was the third-best batting average in the nation.
Southern Maine broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning with a solo bomb over the left field fence by second baseman John Carey. He had only one home run on the year coming into the game.
“I started missing my spots and that’s when (Huskie batters) really started to make me pay,” Hafeli said. “They were good disciplined hitters, and they didn’t really chase anything.”
After Carey’s homer, Hafeli allowed the Huskies to load the bases, and Webster coach Bill Kurich brought in senior Ryan Martinez out of the bullpen. Martinez appeared in Webster’s first game of the CWS against Kean University (N.J.) and did not record an out, as he allowed two runs on two hits.
JOSH SELLMEYER INTERVIEWS BILL KURICH AFTER THE SOUTHERN MAINE GAME
This time, Martinez did record an out, but a run scored on a sacrifice fly. A third run that inning scored on an RBI single by second baseman Anthony Pisani.
Down 5-2 going into the seventh, the Gorloks failed to capitalize on chances at the plate in the late innings. The Gorloks hit into inning-ending double plays in both the seventh and eighth frames. In the seventh, junior left fielder Corey Lasky had the bases loaded when his twin killing ended the inning.
Webster rebounded immediately and led off the next inning with a double by junior second baseman Taylor Stoulp. He then made a mistake on the bases trying to advance to third on a bloop single by senior first baseman Mike Rainbolt that landed in between three Huskie fielders. Caught in between second and third, Stoulp was in no man’s land and decided to bolt for third, but was gunned down.
The inning ended after the next batter when senior designated hitter Alex Kazmierski hit into a double play.
“We didn’t drive the ball. We needed a double,” Kurich said. “We needed somebody to step up and get a big hit, but we just didn’t. That’s just kind of baseball.”
Webster couldn’t find much success on the pitching side either. In the ninth, junior righty Jason Gray was in the middle of his third inning of work but was pulled by Kurich after giving up a bases-loaded walk. Another righty, junior Brett Buchanan, came in and faced only one batter to keep the score at 7-2.
The Gorloks were successful for the most part in limiting their fielding mistakes, and instead, they made run-saving plays. Webster had committed seven errors through the first two games of the College World Series.
JOSH SELLMEYER INTERVIEWS ALEX KAZMIERSKI
The top of the fourth inning had the sign of another disaster. Huskie lead-off batter Forrest Chadwick walked, then Nick Grady — who led all of Division III in hits this year — stepped to the plate. Southern Maine had the hit-and-run play on and the ball was heading for the ally in right center. Webster senior center fielder Cody Stevenson was shaded toward right and made the catch easily, then doubled off Chadwick, who slipped on the basepaths, at first.
In the fifth, junior right fielder Jared Turner saw a ball going over his head that would have been an extra-base hit. Turner ran 30 yards back and to his right, then stretched all the way out and dove to make the second out of the inning.
Those plays kept the game at 2-0 and set up the Webster offense to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Yates’s breaking ball had fooled most Webster batters to that point. The Gorloks only had two hits through four innings. Junior catcher Ian Foege and junior shortstop Ryan Hall both singled to start the fifth, then Stevenson came up to the plate in an obvious bunt situation. He bunted right back to Yates, but his throw to first was low and wide.
As Stevenson broke for second, Foege came around to score and so did Hall — all the way from first base — on the bunt. The throw went to second and beat Stevenson there for the first out of the inning, but his distraction set up Hall to tie the game.
Kurich said it is always a sad day when a season comes to an end, but the Gorloks met their goal of getting back to the CWS for a second straight year.
“There were five teams left playing in the country, and we were one of them,” Kurich said. “Once the sting goes away, they are going to look back and see an awesome career.”
Webster officially finished in fifth place in the 2013 College World Series, exactly the same as in 2012. The Gorloks graduate eight seniors this year. All of the seniors except for starting pitcher Steven Dooley and first baseman Colin Bates made an appearance in the final game of their collegiate career.
JOSH SELLMEYER INTERVIEWS CODY HAFELI
—Josh Sellmeyer contributed to this article.
Read about the legacy the eight Webster seniors left by clicking HERE.