The Bluefield College men’s baseball team fell just short of winning back-to-back championships in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) 2010 World Series.
The Crusaders struck first in the championship game with two singles and a sacrifice bunt to go up 1-0 in the top of the third, but BC rallied for two scores of their own in the bottom of the third, thanks to a Tony Singleton double and two Greenville errors. The Rams would have scored more off a Travis Weaver bomb to left field if not for, according to play-callers, “a great catch” that “robbed Weaver of the home run. BC did score more in the fifth, starting with a Zac Goodyear single, another Crusader error on Tony Singleton’s at bat, and a Billy Funk single, which scored Goodyear to put Bluefield up 3-1. Devin Good followed with a sacrifice bunt to put Singleton in scoring position. He scored on a wild pitch to give BC a 4-1 lead. Then, Ryan Lambert singled to score Funk as the Rams built a 5-1 advantage heading to the sixth.
That’s when North Greenville mounted its comeback, starting first with a leadoff home run by Adam Taylor. And, with two outs in the inning, Greenville’s Tyler Callicutt smacked a double, and Dayton Lupton followed with a single to score Callicutt and cut the BC lead to 5-3 heading into the final frame.
In the top of the seventh, the Crusaders continued their comeback, sending Randy Stegall to first on a hit-by-pitch and getting Anthony Foulk on base with a line drive base hit. Both Crusaders scored when Taylor, who homered in the sixth, belted a two-run double to left field to tie the game at 5-5.
Bluefield couldn’t score in the bottom of the seventh, forcing extra innings. In the eighth, both teams scored: North Greenville on a textbook sacrifice bunt squeeze play, and the Rams on Singleton double, followed by a Funk single, and a Good sacrifice fly RBI.
Neither team scored in the ninth as they headed to the 10th tied 6-6. Greenville’s Callicutt opened the top of the 10th with an ominous double that BC right-fielder Greg Moon lost in the sun. Lupton followed with a single to score Callicutt and to give the Crusaders what would be the final 7-6 lead. The Rams placed two runners on base in the bottom of the 10th, but stranded both to fall short of another National Championship ring.
The 2010 World Series run for BC, the team’s fourth in a row, was bittersweet for head coach Mike White. On one hand, Coach White recorded his most wins ever in a season with a 41-16 overall record in 2010. On the other hand, the coach sees the collegiate careers of his first class of recruits at BC come to an end
“We had a great year. The 41 wins is amazing,” Coach White said, “and these seniors have given so much to Bluefield College. Their hard work and dedication has enabled us to grow as a program. Their being gone next year has not had a chance to sink in yet.”
The BC seniors include Singleton, who led the team in hitting in the championship game, going 3-4; Good, who is generating interest from several Major League programs; Lambert, who had a three-run home run in the World Series; Donald Howell, an NCCAA All-American; Jeremiah McMillan, who had 10 home runs and 49 RBI this year; K.J. Sobolewski, Coach White’s very first recruit in the class; and Brian Deal, who had a 1.5 earned run average in limited action in 2010.
The 2010 World Series was also bittersweet in that the Rams felt short of claiming back-to-back national championships, but did earn the NCCAA World Series Sportsmanship Award. Goodyear, Adam Hoyt, and David Gibson also earned placement on the World Series All-Tournament Team.