Avon, OH - The Delta College baseball team had to be beat twice on Sunday in order to not advance to their second straight Super Regional. That's exactly what happened, however, as Schoolcraft defeated the Pioneers in game one of the Region XII championship, 1-0. The Ocelots won the championship in the nightcap by the score of 3-2 and advance to play Oakton Community College in the best 2-out-of-3 format next weekend. Oakton is representing Region IV with the winner of the series advancing to the College World Series the following weekend in Greeneville, Tennessee.
In game one, Delta pitcher Grant Dittmer was lights out for the entire game and dominated Schoolcraft offense for the most part. A fourth inning throwing error by Dittmer on a bunt attempt put a runner at first and when a two-out double landed just inside the right field line and bounced in to the corner, Schoolcraft had it's first - and the games only - run.
The Pioneers floundered on offense and couldn't get anything going throught the contest, as they were put out at first base a total of 19 times on ground balls to shortstop and third base. It wasn't until the eighth inning that they finally threatened as Aaron Esparza led off with a single to right field before Cam Fowler safely bunted for a hit to put runners at first and second. Mitch Morley then bunted for a hit to load the bases with no outs. A ground ball to short was brought to the plate for the first out of the inning. A failed suicide sqeeze gave Delta runners at second and third with two outs but a pop up on the infield ended the threat.
Game two saw Delta take it's first lead of the day when Cam Fowler doubled home Zach Schirmer to tie the game at one apiece in the top of the fifth. Fowler would then score on a Kane Bourbina single to make it 2-1 in favor of the Pioneers.
Meanwhile, DC pitcher Jake Wright continued to deal on the hill, leaving after six complete innings and giving up three hits while striking out eight batters. He was relieved by Robin VanOrden for the bottom of the seventh but Van Orden plunked the first Schoolcraft hitter he faced. After a popped up bunt and a strikeout put a runner at first with two outs, Schoolcraft laced a double to the right-center gap to tie the game. As the batter stretched it in to a triple, an errant throw eluded the third baseman and went in to the stands to make it 3-2 in favor of Schoolcraft.
Delta had a runner at second base with no outs in the top of the eight but he was picked off and they failed to threaten from there.
The loss ends the season with Delta sporting a 21-29-1 record, the worst in school history. It is the first time that Delta hasn't recorded at least 30 wins since 2012 - their inaugural season. They return the majority of their starting position players and bullpen for the 2018-2019 campaign.