CALEDONIA, Mich. — The odds were never in the Quincy University baseball team’s favor.
The Hawks suffered a demoralizing 10-5, 12-inning loss to Northwood in Thursday’s opening game of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, squandering a 5-1 lead in the ninth inning.
“A lot of people would have probably bet a lot of money we would lose the next game,” junior first baseman Lance Logsdon said.
Understandably so. The eight regions in the 56-team NCAA Tournament field were split into two sub-regionals for double-elimination play. Those sub-regionals featured eight three-team brackets, and the team that lost the opening game in seven of those brackets was eliminated the same day.
Only Quincy survived.
“The guys weren’t ready for it to be over,” QU coach Matt Schissel said. “So we’re still here.”
And now the Hawks are just two games from a World Series appearance.
Fourth-seeded Quincy finished its improbable run to three consecutive victories on Saturday, scoring twice in the top of the ninth inning to pull out a 9-7 victory over top-seeded Davenport in the finale of Midwest Regional #1 at Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex and earning a spot in next week’s super-regional.
The Hawks (36-23) will face either second-seeded Wayne State or third-seeded Illinois-Springfield. The Warriors and Prairie Stars will play Sunday after weather in the Detroit area — Wayne State is the host of Midwest Regional #2 — forced a postponement.
The dates, times and location of the super-regional will be determined Sunday.
“To still be here, it speaks volumes for how much our guys wanted it,” Schissel said.
It took poise, presence and a lot of faith to survive.
The Hawks, who scored 27 combined runs in their two regional victories, got off to a solid start, scoring a run in the top of the first inning on Gino D’Alessio’s RBI single. Two more runs crossed in the season with Brock Boynton delivering an RBI single and Luke Napleton adding a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
Davenport scored three to tie the game in the third, only to have Quincy answer with three runs in the fourth as D’Alessio and Logsdon had back-to-back RBI singles.
The Hawks couldn’t put the Panthers away. Davenport scored twice in the fifth, once in the sixth and another in the seventh to tie the game at 7.
“They are a hard-nosed team,” Logsdon said. “They are almost mirror images of us. At the end of the day, we knew they weren’t going to go down without a fight.”
Yet, the Hawks never flinched.
“Nobody did all day,” Schissel said.
It’s because they didn’t surrender any more than three runs in any inning.
“We never let that big inning happen,” Schissel said. “They never had that big crooked number that is the kiss of death.”
In the eighth inning, both teams got the leadoff hitter on base, used a sacrifice bunt to get him into scoring position, and saw he stranded. That set up a remarkable ninth inning.
Hawks second baseman Dayson Croes led off the top of the inning with a single and went to second on D’Alessio’s sacrifice bunt. Logsdon followed by smashing a ball off the wall in left-center field for a double that plated Croes with what became the winning run.
“Dayson got on and the rest was history from there,” Logsdon said.
Three batters later, Sebastian Martinez singled to left field to plate Logsdon with an insurance run.
Davenport got its first two hitters on base in the bottom of the ninth with a single and a walk, but senior right-hander Alex Pribyl struck out the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the Panthers’ lineup to end the game and send the Hawks to next weekend.
“Unbelievably proud,” Schissel said. “From being 9-9 at one point to heading to a super-regional, that speaks for itself.”
The Hawks fully believe there’s more to come.
“The job’s not finished,” Pribyl said.
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