Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
NCAA Tourney Bound!!!! Valpo Baseball Wins Horizon League Title
Valpo is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 44 years. (Steve Woltmann)
Valpo is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 44 years. (Steve Woltmann)
UIC (23-34)
at
Valparaiso (35-23)
5/27/2012 | Chicago, Ill. | Attendance: 583
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UIC0020300005133
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PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: DEETJEN (8-2) 3.161110
Loss: EVAK (5-6) 4.243310
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
BETCHER (UIC) 523100
JOHNSON (VALPO) 513400
SCOBY (VALPO) 513100
Coach Woodson is drenched with water in the celebration. (Steve Woltmann)
Coach Woodson is drenched with water in the celebration. (Steve Woltmann)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It has been 44 years since Valparaiso has been to a NCAA Division I (then University Division) Baseball Tournament, waiting one more day did little to damper the enthusiasm of the Crusaders on Sunday afternoon.  After falling to UIC on Saturday, setting up the “if necessary” game, the Crusaders exploded with eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat the Flames 14-5 at Les Miller Field in Chicago, Ill. to capture the Horizon League Baseball Tournament title and with it the automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals which begin next weekend.

“What a great feeling,” head coach Tracy Woodson said after being doused with the cold water bucket on a hot day in the Windy City.  “All of the hard work that has been put in by the players and coaches has paid off.  Everyone deserves this.  The crowd support we had all weekend was incredible.  I’m especially thankful to all of the alums that showed up throughout the tournament to come support us.”

Valpo and UIC had split their first two meetings in the tournament, with the Crusaders winning 4-3 on Friday night before the Flames won Saturday afternoon by the same score to set up the final game.  UIC scored first in each of the first two games, but on Sunday, it would be the Crusaders to strike first.

Three runs in the opening inning chased UIC starter Joey Begel after just two-thirds of an inning.  Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) and Tanner Vavra (Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie H.S.) led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles.  Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) replaced Bain on the base paths following a fielder’s choice, and he and Vavra moved to second and third respectively following a wild pitch.  With two outs, Elliott Martin (Irvine, Calif./University H.S.) walked to load the bases and Spencer Mahoney (LaGrange Park, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.) also drew a free pass, bringing home the first run of the game.  Mark Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township H.S.) made it 3-0 Crusaders with his ground-rule double to deep centerfield.

“We talked about it before the game that we needed to put up a zero in their half of the inning and then score first,” Woodson said.  “Unfortunately, for a few innings we stopped scoring and they came back to take the lead.”

The Flames got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the third on a RBI triple by Joe Betcher and a run-scoring single by Jon Ryan.  Nick Addison tied the game at three, being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before John Coen put UIC on top one batter later with a single to right.

That was all of the scoring that the Flames would do on the afternoon though, as Tyler Deetjen (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.) came on in the fifth inning.  He gave up the hit batter and the single, but kept UIC off of the board for the next three innings, pitching on short rest after starting, and winning Thursday night’s game against Youngstown State.

“I was worried when he (Deetjen) first came on,” Woodson stated.  “He came on with guys on base and starters don’t usually like to do that.  After he got out of that inning, he came out the next inning with the bases cleared and was really good.  He was huge for us today.”

Valpo answered immediately with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth.  Vavra and Manning were both hit by pitches to lead off the frame.  After two were out, Mahoney pulled the Crusaders within one with a single to center.  Johnson put the Brown and Gold on top for good with a line single off of the glove of the second baseman Coen, which plated two runners, as Mahoney came all the way around from first to score.

“You could tell the bullpen had logged a lot of innings and that caught up with them,” Woodson said of UIC using six hurlers on the afternoon.  “We took advantage.  The big innings are nice to get.  When you put up an eight spot it’s huge.”

Eight runs is exactly what Valpo posted in the seventh inning to break the game open.  Martin led off the inning with a blast to left for a solo home run.  Johnson followed with a single to left and moved to third when Billy Cribbs’ (Rochester, Mich./Rochester H.S.) fielder’s choice was thrown away for an error, putting runners on the corners.  Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Delton H.S.) followed with a RBI single to right-center, making it 8-5 Crusaders.

After Bain walked to load the bases, Vavra reached on an error which plated the ninth run.  With two outs and the bases loaded, John Loeffler (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville H.S.) extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games and his on base streak to 33 straight, clearing the bases with a double.  Loeffler scored one batter later on Martin’s single and Mahoney made it 14-5 Crusaders with a triple to the gap in right-center.

UIC (23-34) loaded the bases in the eighth with one out, but Alex Lee grounded to Martin who started a double play from his knees after diving to stop the ball.  Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) came on to pitch the ninth, allowing a pair of singles to lead off the inning.  He then got Coen to fly into a double play, and when Jacob McNamara’s fly ball to left settled into Johnson’s glove, a mad celebration took place on the infield.

Johnson, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, went 3-for-5 with four runs batted in on Sunday.  For the tournament he hit .400 with six runs batted in, including the game-winning hit in Friday’s game as well.  He drew five walks for a .684 on base percentage after coming in on Thursday night after Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) was injured.

“He (Johnson) had some great at bats,” Woodson commented.  “We preach that the bench always needs to be ready.  He stepped in this weekend and was big.  He did it for us at Arkansas early in the year and did it again today.  That’s the type of guy we need coming off of the bench.”

Scoby also had three hits in the title game while Bain, Martin, and Mahoney added two each as part of a 14-hit attack.

Deetjen earned his second win (8-2) of the tournament, allowing just one run in 3.1 innings of relief.  He was named to the All-Tournament Team after posting a 1.59 ERA in 11.1 innings of work.

Mahoney, Loeffler, and Vavra were all named to the All-Tournament Team as well.  Mahoney, the shortstop representative on the team, batted .455 with seven runs batted in along with a .684 on base percentage.  Loeffler had three doubles and eight RBIs while hitting .412, and Vavra was the second base pick on the All-Tournament Team after batting .429.

Joe Betcher paced the UIC offense with three hits while Brian Evan suffered the loss (5-6) in relief, allowing three runs in four innings of work.

Valparaiso (35-23) enters the NCAA Tournament having won 27 of its last 32 games overall.  The Crusaders will find out their regional opponents as well as the tournament site on Monday morning.  The selection show begins at 11 a.m. CDT and can be seen live on ESPNU.

“I can’t wait to see our name come up on the board,” Woodson concluded.  “Every year it is exciting watching the show to see where the teams are going.  This year we finally get to see our name come up on the screen.”

M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25 Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo