Newberry’s historic season ends in NCAA Tournament Friday
NEWBERRY – The Newberry baseball team’s historic season came to a close Friday evening at the Smith Road Complex, falling to sixth-seeded Young Harris and third-seeded Catawba in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Wolves (41-16) had a tough time scoring runs, ultimately falling to the Mountain Lions 5-1.
Young Harris was able to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning to start their momentum. The Mountain Lions extended their lead in the bottom of the second inning to make it 3-0.
Newberry had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fourth as Peyton Spangler flew out to center field but Kenny Bergmann was unable to leg out the throw at home and was tagged out to end the inning.
The top of the fifth began with Dalton Lansdowne tagged out trying to stretch a base hit into a double, but Danton Hyman reached moments later and came around to score on an RBI single by Tyler Ackard to cut the deficit to 3-1. It marked the 62nd game of Newberry’s last 63 that Hyman had reached base safely, a mark he would extend in the nightcap with a pair of hits that gave him a career-long 16-game hitting streak.
Young Harris was able to tack on two more runs in the sixth to help secure the game. Newberry was only able to get two more hits for the remainder of the game and finished with nine overall.
Coming into the back half of the doubleheader, the Wolves would face Catawba for the sixth time on the season, coming into the game with a series sweep at the Smith Road Complex in April but with losses in the two most recent meetings at the 2019 Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship. The contest was an elimination game for the Wolves, while Catawba entered the game with a 1-0 record in the NCAA postseason
Catawba was able to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead to start the game, but Josh Bookbinder ended the inning with a strikeout to limit the damage.
Both sides had difficulties in finding their bats for three straight innings as Bookbinder and Hunter Shepherd kept their oppositions in check, only giving up a combined three hits, before Catawba broke through with two runs on four hits in the top of the fifth inning. Catawba then added three more runs, two of which were unearned, in the top of the eighth.
“We learned a lot this season and it was a great experience and these guys earned the right to host,” said head coach Russell Triplett. “The four seniors showed the rest of the team what it takes to get to this point and we can only learn from this experience.”
“In order to beat a Newberry team like this, you have to have really good pitching and great defense but you also have to have some luck as well,” said Catawba head coach Jim Gantt on facing Newberry. “They hit balls all over the park and we were fortunate to be in the right position, they’re a great team.”
The games were seen by a crowd of 803, the second-highest attendance in Smith Road Complex history. The standing room only crowd was over 100 fans above the stadium’s listed capacity and saw fans sitting three- and four-deep in lawn chairs along the concourse and on the grass surrounding the stadium seats.
Friday marked the end of the careers of Hyman, Spangler, Ackard, and Charlie Fessler. The senior class departs with 131 wins, making them the winningest class in school history. The Wolves had three 30-win seasons in their tenure capped by a school-record 41 wins in 2019.