— TLU Bulldogs (@tluathletics) May 29, 2018
Crushed emotionally last fall with death of a former teammate, some members of the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs faced a struggle just to get mentally ready to play this spring.
But with youthful resilience and a lineup stocked with talented pitchers, hitters and defensive wizards, they conjured up the greatest season in school history.
The Bulldogs, playing in the NCAA Division III World Series for the first time, finished as the national runnerup.
UT Tyler claimed the title Tuesday afternoon by sweeping TLU 8-1 and 9-6 in the D-III championship round.
Clearly, it was the Patriots’ day in Appleton, Wis.
They powered to one big inning in the opener (a five-run explosion in the fourth) and two more in the second game to sweep the Bulldogs in the best-of-three series.
In Game 2, Blake Maddox and Alex Bishop both smashed two-run homers for the Patriots.
Maddox’s blow highlighted a four-run fourth, and Bishop’s shot off the right field foul pole keyed a five-run seventh.
Trailing by five runs after seven, TLU didn’t fold, scoring twice in the eighth to pull within the eventual final score.
But Patriots reliever Alexander Masotto blanked the Bulldogs in the ninth to set the victory celebration in motion.
TLU senior Keaton Boysen, playing his last college game, went down swinging. He was 3 for 5 at the plate and scored a run.
Sophomore catcher Cameron Wilson produced two hits and two RBI. Seniors Riley Schaefer and Eric Rabinowitz each had a hit and two RBI.
Sedillo dominates in Game 1
Simon Sedillo pitched a complete game in leading UT Tyler’s 8-1 victory in the first game.
The Patriots scored two runs in the top of the first against All-American Nathan Malinovsky, who shut out Wooster, Ohio, on the first night of the tournament last Friday.
But after the first inning against UT Tyler, that was it for Malinovsky, who was pulled with an apparent throwing arm injury.
In the fourth, UT Tyler broke through against the Bulldogs’ bullpen, scoring five runs for a 7-1 lead.
Jared Pauley smashed a two-run double and Josh Burns added a two-run single to highlight the outburst.
UT Tyler 40-18
Texas Lutheran 42-12
From TLU pitcher Dylan Murrell
“Well, we fell short of being the national champions today, but that doesn’t change how much we accomplished this season. This team was something so special, (and) I would go to war with any of these men. These are memories we will never forget. It’s been a hell of a ride.”
The Bulldogs won 14 of their last 15 games leading into the championship round against UT Tyler. That stretch included a 4-0 sweep for the NCAA Spokane Regional title and a 4-1 run to win Pool B at the World Series..
Playing for a friend
The Bulldogs dedicated their season to former TLU star Keaton Bohrmann, who died last October in an automobile accident.
Bohrmann was a four-year player and a three-time, all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference performer who played out his eligibility in 2016.
Henry Sanchez wins a title
UT Tyler second baseman Henry Sanchez, a junior from San Antonio, hit .476 in six games at the DIII World Series. Sanchez was 10 for 21 at the plate. The former standout at St. Anthony High School scored seven runs and had two RBI.