It was a good run for the Tabor baseball team this weekend at the NAIA National Baseball Championship Tournament opening round in Santa Clarita, Calif.
The only midwest team in the bracket, Tabor fell just short of reaching the championship game, falling to San Diego Christian in 10 innings.
“I was very happy with the way we played,” coach Mark Standiford said. “We were one hit away from winning every game.
“I cannot be prouder of my team and the way they represented Tabor.”
Tabor opened the tournament with a victory over Concordia (Ore.) then fell to the No. 1 seed The Master’s (Calif.) to once again face Concordia.
The Bluejays won that game to remain one of three teams vying for the championship, but suffered their second loss to San Diego Saturday to end the bid.
Tabor wrapped up its season one game short of where the team finished last year, when the Bluejays fell to Rogers State in the regional championship game.
“We have won 40-plus games now three years in a row; (we have) been conference champions and made it to the first round of the World Series the last two years,” Standiford said. “That says a lot about the type of players we have here at Tabor.”
San Diego Christian—It was a do-or-die situation for both teams Saturday, when Tabor took on No. 3 San Diego Christian.
San Diego (39-19) came into the game with a 1-1 tournament record, defeating No. 2 Cal State San Marcos, 6-1, Thursday but losing to The Master’s, 3-1, Friday. Tabor was 2-1 after two wins over Concordia and a loss to The Master’s.
After nine innings, Saturday’s game was tied at 7-7, but the Hawks scored two unanswered runs in the top of the 10th inning for the 9-7 victory.
San Diego led 7-5 after seven innings, but the Bluejays kept hope alive by scoring one run in the eighth when Troy Torres hit a double that brought Zach Richert home, and one in the ninth thanks to a Wes Moody single that scored Art Corona.
The Hawks managed a two-run triple in the top of the 10th to take the lead.
In one final effort, Tabor loaded the bases with one out, but relief pitcher David Johnson came in and struck out the next two Bluejays to end the game.
Moody went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Corona and Torres were both 2-for-5 and had two RBIs. Paul Sciacca went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Relief pitcher Jacob Webb (4-4) absorbed the loss for Tabor. In four innings, he gave up four hits and two runs (both earned) while walking no one and striking out two.
San Diego went on to lose11-7 to The Master’s, who advanced to the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
Concordia—With the loss to The Master’s College, Tabor once again faced Concordia University, this time on Friday.
Concordia came into the matchup following a 13-3 romp that sent No. 2 seeded Cal State San Marcos (35-12) home earlier in the day.
But Tabor ended Concordia’s tournament bid with a 6-5 win.
Concordia 2-0 after three innings, but Tabor answered in the top of the fourth when Kirk Rocha and Wes Moody both double, scoring Rocha.
Tabor tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning. Grant Silva doubled and advanced to third base on a passed ball. Rocha’s sacrifice fly brought Silva home.
The Bluejays added two runs in the seventh, thanks to a Wes Moody double that scored Art Corona and Silva.
Tabor scored two more runs in the eighth when Troy Torres reached home on a wild pitch after hitting a double to open the inning. Corona’s sacrifice fly scored Keenan Chanin, and Tabor increased its lead to 6-2.
The Cavaliers rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth , but Tabor held on to win.
Moody led the Bluejays with three doubles and three RBIs in four at-bats.
Matt Lambert (9-4) was the winning pitcher. In eight innings, he gave up seven hits and two runs (both earned), while walking one hitter and striking out 10. Alex Mann pitched one inning in relief.
Master’s College—Tabor’s opening-round victory over Concordia pitted the Bluejays against tournament host and No. 1 seed The Master’s College (41-15) later Thursday evening.
Tabor held the Mustangs to only one run in an errorless game, but could not muster any offense in a 1-0 loss. The Master’s scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Wes Moody went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Kirk Rocha added two hits—including a double—in four at-bats.
Tabor left eight men on base during the game.
Josh Stone (8-3) absorbed the loss for Tabor. In eight innings, he gave up nine hits and one run (earned). He walked one hitter and struck out four.
Concordia—After receiving an at-large bid to play in the national tournament, the No. 4 seeded Bluejays (39-14) face No. 5 Concordia (Ore.) Thursday.
Tabor stayed alive with an 8-7 victory in 10 innings.
The Cavaliers (28-27) opened the game with four runs in the top of the first inning, but Tabor answered with five runs to stake an early lead.
Art Corona scored on a wild pitch, and Grant Silva scored on a Tyler Kozlowski single. Kirk Rocha reached home for Tabor’s third run, and Troy Torres polished off the inning with a two-run homer that scored Kevin Seeger.
Each team added one run in the second inning. For Tabor, Rocha’s single scored Corona in the bottom of the inning for a 6-5 lead.
Neither team scored in the next six innings, but Concordia tied the game with a run in the top of the ninth inning, then took a 7-6 lead with another run in the top of the 10th.
But Tabor answered in the bottom of the inning when Moody’s single to right field scored both Silva and Rocha for the win.
Rocha went 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI. Moody had two hits in five batting opportunities—including a double—and contributed two RBIs.Silva went 3-for-5 with a double.
Anthony Mendoza pitched the first five innings for Tabor, and relief pitcher Jacob Webb (4-3) picked up the win, giving up three hits and two runs (both earned) in the final five innings. He walked no one and struck out nine.