Pettit shuts down Huskies in late innings, explosive bats carry Lakers to World Series

Oswego State won Game 11 of the New York Regional by a score of 9-4, earning its first trip to the Div. III World Series in program history with a total of 14 hits in the second game of the day. With the win, Oswego State now sits at 32-9 on the season as they prepare for the start of the World Series on Friday.

The No. 2 seeded Southern Maine Huskies were able to edge out the Lakers in the first game of the afternoon 7-6, thanks to a ninth-inning, two-run home run from right fielder Zach Quintal. It took one more game for the top-seeded Oswego State baseball team to punch its ticket to Appleton, Wisconsin.

“This is the next step in our journey this year toward a national championship,” Lakers manager Scott Landers said postgame. “I can’t say enough of how proud I am through this whole season for these guys. We faced some adversity all year long, so I didn’t expect anything different when we lose Game 1 today.”

The Lakers used three pitchers in the historic win. Sophomore Bobby Zywicki got the ball to start the game, only his second start of the season to date, and went four innings. He allowed six hits and three earned runs before giving way to junior left hander Brad Wroblewski. Wroblewski worked 1.1 innings and earned the win, but walked three batters and was tabbed with one earned run during that span.

The St. Bonaventure transfer, Reston Pettit, closed out the game for the Lakers over the final 3.2 innings. A stretch of nine batters retired in a row helped the junior earn the save in his first relief outing of the year. Pettit allowed just two hits and struck out four, while allowing no earned runs in his ninth total appearance of the season.

“[Pettit] was a big starter for us early in the year and struggled down the stretch a little bit,” Landers said. “I”ll tell you what, he was nails today. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and he was locked down at the end of that game when we really needed it.”

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Reston Pettit came on in relief in Sunday’s victory and was dominant for Oswego State over the final 3.2 innings. (Cole Parzych | The Oswegonian)

Oswego State got on Southern Maine’s pitching staff early and often in the New York Regional finale. In the top of the first inning, the Lakers scratched across two runs on three hits and a walk to get on the scoreboard first.

Mike Dellicarri continued his impressive regional (.400 BA) with a single through the right side, just past the outstretched glove of second baseman Jake Dexter. This scored senior center fielder Wes Randall to make it 1-0. The Lakers then tacked on one more run in the top of the first after Dellicarri moved to third base, thanks to a fielder’s choice and stolen base, his seventh of the season.

Zach Kollar then doubled the Lakers’ lead with a bunt single past the pitcher. Southern Maine starting pitcher, Tyler Leavitt, faced his last batter of the day in Eli Holton after the left fielder reached on a fielder’s choice and both Kollar and Barnes advanced to second and third, respectively.

The Lakers continued to add to their lead, making it 4-0 in the second inning. Catcher Alex Brown and third baseman Hamilton each doubled in a run to give the Lakers some more insurance.

Southern Maine would dig into the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Jake Dexter followed Devin Warren’s double with a single off the left-field fence to drive in the in the sophomore center fielder from second base.

The bottom of the third inning saw the Huskies cut the lead in half with one more run. This time, an RBI ground out off the bat of catcher Kip Richard drove in Quintal.

The Lakers were able to blow the game open with a four-run fifth inning and never looked back. All the damage came with two outs and started with a walk and stolen base from Holton. First baseman Kyle Dinges drove in the first run of the inning, and Randall singled to drive in two more runs. Hamilton singled and drove in Brown in the next at-bat to complete the big inning from Oswego State.

Southern Maine would score a run in the bottom half of the fifth inning to make it 8-3, but Oswego State added one more in the sixth when Kollar doubled, advanced to third on a balk and scored after a sac fly from shortstop Zach Whelan.

The Huskies had a rally going in the sixth inning when Wroblewski loaded the bases with walks and just one out in the inning. Pettit entered and got shortstop Andrew Olszak to fly out, scoring utility man Jake Dexter from third on a sac fly. With runners on the corners and a 2-2 count, Pettit got left fielder Dylan Hapworth to strike out swinging.

Pettit cruised through the next two innings and the first two batters of the ninth until back-to-back singles from Olszak and Hapworth gave the Huskies some life, snapping Pettit’s streak of nine batters sent down in a row. On the brink of elimination, third baseman Matt Bender stepped in the box with two outs. Bender hit a grounder to short and Whelan fielded it cleanly and threw on to Dinges at 1st to seal the victory for Oswego State.

Senior captains Eric Hamilton and Tim Cronin hugging after winning the New York Regional. (Cole Parzych | The Oswegonian)
Senior captains Eric Hamilton and Tim Cronin (front left) hugging after winning the New York Regional. (Cole Parzych | The Oswegonian)

Hamilton finished the day with six hits in nine trips, including two doubles and two RBI in the regional-clinching win. More than a handful of nice plays at third base as well helped the senior earn MVP honors during the regional after starting 0-10 at the dish this weekend. Dellicarri and starting pitcher Robert Donnelly were named to the all-tournament team.

“Last year we came so close to the tournament championship, and this year we were able to do it,” Hamilton said. “I just do whatever I can to help this team win and today meant hitting the ball and playing some defense, whatever it may be. After the start I had at this tournament, I can’t really thank these guys enough for sticking with me and staying by my side.”