The Valparaiso baseball team concluded its Fall World Series this past Saturday (Oct. 16) as the White beat the Black in the final game of the best-of-three intra-squad series. Karch Kowalczyk (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) and Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) were named co-Most Valuable Players of the series for the White squad.
Kowalczyk, a third baseman and pitcher, finished the series by recording saves in both wins as well as contributing at the plate, going 3-for-8 with two doubles, a grand slam, and five runs batted in. O’Gara, a first baseman, finished the series 7-for-12 at the plate with five doubles and four RBIs.
The White team took game one with an 8-5 victory. Trailing 5-2 in the fifth inning, Kowalczyk hit a grand slam to put the White team ahead for good. Right-hander Steve Godawa (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) earned the win, pitching 3.1 innings and only allowing one hit while striking out three. Junior outfielder Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Delton Kellogg H.S.) finished the day 3-for-4 with a triple for the White team. The Black team was led by Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.), who had a 4-for-4 day at the plate.
The Black team rebounded the following day, winning 10-0 to even the series. Sophomore Greg Stiller (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central H.S.) earned the win after pitching four solid innings in the start, allowing only one hit and one walk to keep the White team off the scoreboard. Hagel again led the White offensively going 2-for-2 at the plate. Freshman Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) and Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) were both impressive, each recording RBI hits and a stolen base. One highlight for the White team was the pitching performance of Kevin Wild (Brown Deer, Wis./Brown Deer H.S.) who threw three innings giving up only three hits with no earned runs.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the teams battled for a third straight day with the White team prevailing by a score of 14-13. O’Gara had a monster day at the plate going 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBIs. Also contributing to the win were Scoby and Kowalczyk, both of whom had a pair of doubles. Sealing the victory on the mound was Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.), who pitched two innings allowing just one hit and no earned runs.
The Black team had an equally impressive day at the plate in the finale, coming up just short of a victory. They were led by outfielder Manning, who was 4-for-5 at the plate including an RBI triple and a stolen base. Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) and Morman both had three hits for the game as well. Pitching highlights for the Black team included Hagel who pitched three innings while giving up two hits, one run, and tallying three strikeouts along with Tyler Deetjen (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.), who pitched a scoreless inning allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
The Crusaders have now concluded their fall season and will return to a limited work-out schedule until February 1, when they can commence official spring practices. Valparaiso opens the 2011 season at Austin Peay on February 18 for the first of a three-game series.