Midland, MI – Delta College opened the post-season with an 11-8 victory over Schoolcraft in the semi-finals of the Region XII tournament on Saturday at Northwood University. With the win, the Pioneers advance to the regional championship game against the winner of Schoolcraft and Lorain Community College in the loser's bracket final. Schoolcraft defeated Lorain earlier in the tournament by the score of 13-6.
Delta jumped on the board in the bottom of the first courtesy of a two-run error before Schoolcraft responded with a run of their own in the top of the second inning. After Schoolcraft tied it on a solo homerun in the top of the third, Delta retook the lead on a Tyler Snover sacrifice fly to score Hunter David followed by a Ty Jones RBI single that scored Z Westley.
Schoolcraft closed the gap to 4-3 heading in to the bottom of the fifth before Delta picked up four runs to take a five-run lead. Tyler Snover got things going with a single before Ty Robbins followed up with a one out single to put runners at first and second with one out. Mitch Morley then walked to load the bases before Justin Heinlein placed a perfect bunt to score two runs while beating the throw to first. Heinlein then stole second base and when the throw went in to center field it allowed Morley to score and Heinlein to advance to third. He then scored on a Zack Booth single through a drawn in infield to put Delta up, 8-3.
With two outs and a runner at second in the top of the sixth, Delta replaced starting pitcher Justin Jurek with left-handed reliever Guy Henika who induced a ground ball to seemingly end the inning. But the play turned in to an error before back-to-back infield hits and a walk made it 8-6 and forced Delta to lift Henika for Jake Gross. Schoolcraft greeted Gross with a double to make it 8-7 before he struck out the final hitter of the inning to preserve the lead.
Delta added a single run in the bottom of the inning and two more in the seventh to put some distance between them and the Ocelots while Gross went out in the eighth inning and struck out the side to keep the score at 11-7. Schoolcraft would threaten in the ninth by scoring a run but would make the final out at third base when Dean Marais threw a runner out trying to advance on a single to right to end the game.
Ty Snover led the offense for DC, going three-for-four with three RBI and two runs scored while Hunter David added two hits and scored twice. Ty Robbins, playing for the first time after a two week hiatus due to injury, added three hits and drove in two runs.
"We played extremely well in all facets of the game with the exception of one inning," said head coach Danny Smith. "As long as our pitching holds up and our offense continues to battle, we're in a good spot to win the first regional in our programs history."
"But we're a long way from winning anything at this point."
Tomorrow's regional championship will be played at 4pm at Northwood University. The if-necessary game will take place on Sunday at noon.