Charleston Baseball Wins Offer to Host Atlantic Region for D-II Playoffs
When the coronavirus pandemic called off the 2020 Division II baseball season, the University of Charleston baseball team was on pace for another stellar season after winning the Mountain East Conference (MEC) during the season 2019.
While Charleston has been unable to replicate its conference success in 2021, failing to win a conference title for the first time since 2017, the Golden Eagles have held a 31-11 season (24-4 MEC) and earned the opportunity to host the 2021 NCAA. Atlantic Division II at the Welch Sports Complex.
As the fifth and final seed in the Atlantic region, second MEC team behind league champions West Virginia State, Charleston will play the first game of the long weekend against Bloomsburg, the opponent of Pennsylvania State. Athletic Conference (PSAC) – the fourth seed.
With a first pitch at 11 a.m. Thursday, the Charleston and Bloomsburg winner will face PSAC’s No.1 opponent Seton Hill in Game 3 of the Regional Championship at 7 p.m. Thursday. However, even with a loss to Bloomsburg or Seton Hill, Charleston would not be eliminated from the double elimination tournament. If Charleston were to lose to Bloomsburg, he would play the Millersville and West Virginia state loser at 11 a.m. on Friday.
As the region’s lowest seed, the odds might appear to be against Charleston. But it hasn’t been wise to bet against Charleston at home this season. On the road or in neutral site contests, Charleston went 10-8 in 2021. Home? 21-3.
Although he hasn’t played any of the three PSAC teams this season and his only series against West Virginia State has been called off, Charleston appears to be in a good position to make a run in the West Virginia area. ‘Atlantic this year. Even though the Golden Eagles ended the season with a 0-5 skid.
2021 has been an unprecedented season for all varsity teams, and Charleston is no exception. Even with the hardships and changes caused by COVID-19, the Golden Eagles’ 31 wins rank fourth among the strongest wins in team history – behind only the 2019, 2018 and 2017 teams.
A number of talented men from the lower and upper class have made it all possible for second-year head coach Robbie Britt and Charleston this season. Senior pitcher Logan Campbell was named MEC pitcher of the year and freshman Mitchell Vincent was named MEC Freshman of the Year. In addition, the Golden Eagles had five All-MEC first-team players (receiver Drew Hefner, outfielder Hayden Cartt, outfielder Colby Johnson, pitcher Colt Webb and Campbell), three All-MEC second-team players (second baseman Bryce Toussiant and pitcher Austin Heinrich) and three honorable mentions (first baseman Tyler Dellerman, shortstop Braxton Boddorf and pitcher Seth Nightingale). Campbell and Cartt also won second team honors in the Atlantic region.
With 91 strikeouts this season, Campbell set Charleston’s one-season strikeout record, breaking Heinrich’s record of 87 one-season strikeouts in 2019. Campbell led the Charleston pitching staff with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 58 innings while going 9-1 in 11 starts. A personal ERA of 3.93 ranks second in the MEC behind the state of West Virginia alone.
Webb and Sykes (with graduate pitcher Robert Fultineer and freshman Dane Sykes) pitched under 4.00 ERA in at least 11 appearances and Nightingale’s 4.15 ERA in 14 appearances was not far behind.
While the Charleston attack, led by Cartt, Mitchell and Vincent, wasn’t a huge power threat (ranking in the bottom third of the MEC in homers), it was strong and efficient. A team batting average of 0.325 led the MEC and his slugging percentage (.492), triples (17) and stolen bases (109 of 134) also led the conference.
Cartt led the way with a .372 batting average while hitting eight homers and conceding 35 runs. Dellerman, Boddorf and Toussaint each beat over .350 while scoring at least 40 hits and 10 doubles. Johnson led the team with 30 stolen bases in 33 attempts.
A veteran team with experience in all facets of the squad, Charleston won’t be easy for any of the teams in the Atlantic region. With so much veteran leadership, balanced hitting and a talented pitching staff, the Golden Eagles could be the dormant choice to exit the region.
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