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Being ranked and winning 40-plus games was nice, but Georgetown College baseball had another first for the program in mind all season - winning the Mid-South Conference Tournament.
The No. 14 Tigers (45-9) came into the tournament as the second seed and emerged from the toughest day, the first, unscathed as one of only two teams with a 2-0 record. They took care of business Friday in the semifinals and when Shawnee State University battled out of the elimination bracket, the two squared off once again in the championship game.
Then GC got just enough offense, and senior Jason McGinnis pitched a complete-game shutout for the 3-0 crown win.
"Another goal met, and now we focus on the national tournament," said GC coach Micah Baumfeld. "I felt like we got great leadership from McGinnis on the mound, and then we're able to get some runs early. That was the difference in the pitcher's duel."
Through eight and a half innings, the two teams managed a combine seven hits and just two runs. GC's bats came to life for a few more hits and one more run in the bottom of the eighth, but in the end it was the depth of pitching that was really the ace in the hole for Baumfeld.
While most teams lean on two or three pitchers, the first-year coach had five or six he knew he could call upon. His confidence in his staff was evident on day one with the start of Shaun Meyer, who did not start a conference game all season. The sophomore went a full nine innings in a shutout win over University of the Cumberlands.
MSC Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year Tyler Arthur took care of game two, with the help of Chris Villalobos and closer Chad Richie. Chase Ballinger pitched the semifinal against Shawnee and Richie came in once again to close the door.
In the championship, McGinnis had a perfect game through four and two third innings, but back-to-back singles broke up the no-no. However, the senior finished it out.
"We've had a lot of goals over the past few years," McGinnis said. "We've been working for this and just really came together as a team this year. We had confidence in every position and in our pitching staff. It has been a great season, but we have more to accomplish.
"That's been an important part of this season. One win at a time and one goal at a time. We get back to practicing and focus on the national tournament, starting with the regional brackets."
Regional brackets will not be announced until Sunday, May 6.
|National Tournament 5/24-30|
|Indiana Institute of Technology||4|
|NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Round|