Tommies, Eagles show Wildcats the door
By DENNIS C. WILSON
For the News-Register
APPLETON, Wisc. – Even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry.
In game one of the Division III NCAA Baseball College World Series at Fox Stadium, the Linfield Wildcats had planned to ride the arm of two time D-III Pitcher of the year Chris Haddeland to victory, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
For Linfield’s second game, they planned to redeem themselves and show why they are defending champions.
That didn’t go as planned either.
Starting pitcher Aaron Thomassen never made it out of the first inning, and the Wildcats were eliminated from the College World Series with an 8-5 loss to Emory University of Georgia. The Wildcats become the first team eliminated from the 2014 series and the first defending champion to go two and out the following season since Kean University in 2008.
“We are obviously very disappointed to be in this position, to be out of the tournament already,” said Linfield manager Scott Brosius. “Probably what is most disappointing is we probably weren’t the best version of ourselves for these two games. Things that we have done well all year long we didn’t do very well in this tournament.”
Indeed, for the second straight game, the starting pitching for the Wildcats got off to a rough start, with Aaron Thomassen getting roughed up by the Eagles. In two-thirds of an inning, Thomassen gave up three runs on two hits. He walked four with no strikeouts.
“We just picked a really bad time to not play our best baseball,” Brosius said. “We struggled on the mound, certainly. We walked more guys and did things that are uncharacteristic of us.”
After Emory built up a 5-0 lead, the Wildcats finally broke through and scored a couple runs in the sixth inning. Leadoff hitter Corey VanDomelen stroked a single that scored Kramer Lindell and Jo Carroll.
However, every time the Wildcats would push a run or two across, they would turn around and give up a run to the Eagles. Linfield compounded its errors – and its frustrations – by leaving 14 runners on base in the game.
“We left a lot of guys on base,” Brosius said. “That is a bad recipe for winning games. But, even after the tough start, we had opportunities. I mean, we left 14 guys on, so we definitely had opportunities. If we get a couple of key hits in the second or third inning, it changes the ballgame. It’s just didn’t happen.”
When asked what was more frustrating – to be completely shut down by a pitcher or to have a number of missed opportunities – Brosius was diplomatic.
“I think a loss is a loss, they are all frustrating,” he said with a wry smile. “But I think you remember the ones you feel like you could have won a little more. And I think this was a winnable game today.”
Linfield, champion of the Northwest Conference, finishes the 2014 season with a record of 37-9 overall.
St. Thomas (Minn.) 10, Linfield 0
APPLETON, Wisc. – The Tommies jumped on the Wildcats with five first-inning runs – spurred on by three Linfield errors in that frame – and never looked back in an NCAA Division III College World Series first-round victory Friday morning at Fox Stadium.
St. Thomas pitcher Eric Veglahn limited the Wildcats to two hits in a complete-game shutout victory. Veglahn walked one and struck out 12 in the performance.
Jake Wylie and Eric Lawson each hit singles for Linfield. Starting pitcher Chris Haddeland absorbed the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits, with six walks.