The Bombers baseball team found a way to seek redemption in the Division III College World Series Monday evening after a loss early on in the tournament.
Anchored by a rejuvenated pitching staff, which included the return of senior Jasper Adams, the Bombers have avoided elimination from World Series play by winning three consecutive games.
After picking up their first win of the World Series against Millsaps College on May 25, the Bombers first redemption opportunity presented itself. The Bombers faced off with Kean University on May 26, with elimination at stake for both teams.
Adams, who missed the entire 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, made sure this would not be his final game. The senior pitched seven innings allowing only one run en route to a 3-1 victory against Kean, the same team that bested them by a 12-10 score two months earlier.
After the game, head coach George Valesente said Adams’ performance is a sign that Adams is back to full form in the postseason.
“Had he not had [surgery] he would have been our number one guy, but it’s great to have my number three guy as my possible number one guy.”
Adams, who increased his record to 7–0 on the year, said afterward that his fastball was key in getting outs against the Kean team that scored 14 runs in their opening game of the World Series.
“Everything stems off your fastball, so if you stem off your fastball it makes your other pitchers more effective,” Adams said. “Once I found my groove the results followed.”
After eliminating the Cougars, the Bombers moved on to face No. 1 Linfield College in a rematch of their opening game. The Cougars won the first game by a score of 8-6, but this time the game had a different result.
Senior Pat Lemmo took the ball and held the No. 1 team in the nation to four runs and only one earned in seven innings. Sophomore closer Jimmy Wagner shut the door for his third consecutive save, lifting the Bombers to a 6-4 win against the top-ranked team.
Even after throwing on only two days of rest, Lemmo said that revenge against Linfield kept him excited throughout the entire game and helped him feel confident in stepping up with his team’s backs against the wall.
“Facing them again is exactly what I wanted,” Lemmo said. “I knew that I was going to pitch again if we kept winning and we did that … I learned from my mistakes and pitched a little better.”
If the Bombers win their next game against the University of Southern Maine, they will have a chance to repeat a similar feat accomplished by the program 25 years ago.
During the 1988 World Series, the Bombers and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans faced each other three times. After splitting the series, the Bombers were victorious and were crowned World Series Champions that season.
The Bombers will square off at noon Tuesday with Southern Maine at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis. The winner will have a chance to face Linfield for the World Series title.
Sophomore John Prendergast (10-0) is likely to get the nod on the mound tomorrow against the Huskies who enter this match up with an overall record of 45-9.
After defeating Linfield, Valesente said he was just really excited about surviving and playing again tomorrow.
“We’re a gritty, scrappy type of ball club, and I give ourselves as much of a chance [to win] as anybody else right now.”