Nice ring to it: Hawks capture GLVC Tournament championship, earn No. 1 Midwest Regional seed
MARION, Ill. — The first step is always the hardest or so the adage goes.
If that rings true, the Quincy University baseball team better ready itself for a prolonged journey.
The Hawks followed up their regular-season Great Lakes Valley Conference championship by winning the GLVC Tournament, capping a four-game swath through the tourney field with Sunday’s 13-6 victory over Drury at Mtn Dew Park.
In doing so, Quincy set a new single-season record for victories by improving to 44-9 and secured the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, which will begin Thursday in the cozy comfort of QU Stadium.
But above all else, the Hawks finally won a ring.
First baseman Lance Logsdon said winning the first tournament title of his five-year career felt as amazing as he could have expected.
“One-hundred percent it did,” the first-team all-conference selection said. “All the work that all these guys have put in made this feel really, really good.”
Playing their best game of the weekend made it infinitely better.
Quincy, which won the fifth GLVC tourney title in program history, scored three runs in the first inning on just one hit, capitalizing on two walks and two hit batters. In the fourth, the lead ballooned to 9-0 with a six-run outburst highlighted by Logsdon’s bases-clearing double. Such a large advantage wasn’t getting away either.
Right-handed starter Jay Hammel went six innings, allowing just two runs, and the backend of the bullpen finished it in 1-2-3 fashion with right-handed flame-thrower Chase Gockel striking out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth.
After that, it was time for the celebratory dogpile.
“We played a clean game,” Logsdon said. “We hit it well, pitched it well. Jay gave us a great performance. Really, we played well as a team. That’s really all there is to say about that.”
Due to schedule changes necessitated by Saturday’s weather delay, Sunday’s championship game didn’t begin until 1:30 p.m. With a four-hour bus ride home, the Hawks didn’t reach Quincy until nearly 9:45 p.m.
That gave them just enough time to gather on campus and watch the NCAA Selection Show, where their No. 1 region seed was revealed.
“We kind of expected it, but seeing it become official, that’s pretty awesome,” Hammel said.
It validates everything this team has done to date.
The GLVC championship ring does, too.
“It’s what we set out to do,” said QU coach Matt Schissel, whose team has won 14 games in a row and returns home where it is 26-2 this season. “For all the games these guys have won in their careers, they didn’t have a ring to show for it. It was their goal.
“It showed with the way those guys played this weekend and what they are about.”
Logsdon led the way. The Canton, Mo., product went 3 for 4 with two walks, three runs scored and four RBIs, finishing the weekend by going 10 for 16 with five extra-base hits and nine RBIs.
Austin Simpson blasted a two-run home run as part of his 4-for-5 day, and every starter reached base at least once and eight of the nine Hawks in the lineup scored a run. It was a total team effort just as it has been all season.
It’s how this group earned the No. 1 regional seed.
“We have to act like the No. 1 seed now,” Logsdon said.
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