Lewis-Clark State has played in 195 NAIA World Series games, winning 145, with 19 national titles. Of the victories, the Warriors had fallen behind by at least one run, or more, in 62 games, and came back to win. They have overcome deficits of three or more runs 17 times and six or more runs three times. A two-man committee, my grand-dog Pickle and I, have ranked the top 10 Lewis-Clark State come-from-behind victories in Series play.
Comeback No. 9
May 24, 1992
NAIA World Series Game No. 8
Lewis-Clark State (1-0) vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor (1-0)
In a rare Sunday afternoon game in Des Moines, Iowa, the Warriors and Crusaders played a classic extra-inning contest. Pushed because of rain delays, the winner’s bracket game was the only contest of the day, but the few fans in attendance were treated to an afternoon delight.
LCSC took a brief 1-0 lead in the second inning, but allowed three unanswered runs and came to the bat in the bottom of the eighth down 3-1. Warrior outfielder Dave Bingham tripled, then scored on a ground out, to bring LCSC to within one. When the Crusaders threatened in the ninth, LCSC coach Ed Cheff brought in reliever Andy Purcell to replace starter Kekoa Kaluhiokalani, and Purcell got out of the jam.
In their half of the ninth, Warrior pinch-hitter Liko Periera reached second on a Crusader error, then was sacrificed to third base. Travis Woods then tied the game with a single to right, but Mary Hardin-Baylor induced a double play to force the game into extra innings.
Purcell held the opponents off the board in the top of the 10th. With one out in the bottom half, Warrior third baseman and current head coach Jake Taylor reached third on a fly ball that bounced off the Crusader right fielder’s glove.
Crusader starting pitcher Denny Fussell, who held the Warriors in check for most of the game, then struck out Bingham. Larry Ephan followed with a screamer off the wall, scoring Taylor with the winning run. With the 4-3 victory, LCSC improved to 2-0 in the tournament. Purcell, who threw two hitless innings, upped his record to 7-2 on the season.
Mary Hardin-Baylor fought its way through the loser’s bracket, winning two consecutive one-run games, then lost 14-4 to LCSC in the championship game.
Here’s a lookback at some important dates in Lewis-Clark State Avista NAIA World Series history:
May 31, 1985: Joe Padilla hits record three HRs and sets mark with 14 total bases in game against Southern California College.
June 4, 1985: Tony Dineen becomes only LCSC pitcher to win three Series games.