Warriors use ‘masterful’ comeback to beat Mustangs

Tribune file photoLewis-Clark State’s Kevin Knapp (center top) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the game-winning run against The Master’s College in 2013.

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. 8

May 28, 2013

NAIA World Series

Game No. 13

Lewis-Clark State (2-1) vs. The Master’s University (1-1)

In a Tuesday noon game at Harris Field, the Warriors and Mustangs were battling to stay alive in the tournament. In the first eight innings, LCSC did not get a runner past second, and had managed just five hits, all singles, in trailing 2-0. Looking to add to its lead, The Master’s had a runner at second in the top of the ninth with one out before Warrior reliever David Murillo got back-to-back fly outs.

LCSC’s Kyle Blackwell was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and Eric Peterson worked Mustang starting pitcher James Scott for a walk. The Warriors’ Cody Lavalli then sacrificed pinch-runners Will Thorp and Brian Corliss to second and third base, respectively. Outfielder Kyle Knigge came to the plate and smashed the first pitch he saw from Scott up the middle, scoring both runners to tie the game at 2.

Mustang coach Monte Brooks decided 128 pitches was enough for his starter, and brought in Tommy Kister from the bullpen. Kevin Knapp then was inserted to run for Knigge at first. After a Warrior out, Kister hit Jacob Cano with a pitch, moving Knapp to second. Jake Shirley, the LCSC catcher, stepped up to the plate and slapped a single through the right side of the infield. Knapp never hesitated rounding third base, sliding head-first into home, just avoiding a tag attempt, and giving the Warriors a 3-2 walk-off victory.

That sent The Master’s packing for California, and LCSC to the semifinal-round game against Embry-Riddle. The Warriors defeated ERU 13-7, before finishing as the runners-up to Faulkner.

Warrior walkoffs

Here’s a look back at some important dates in Lewis-Clark State NAIA World Series history:

May 27, 1986: Ray Atkinson, Brett Holley and Rusty Harris hit home runs on consecutive pitches, and the Warriors hit Series-record seven home runs in game against South Carolina-Aiken.

May 26, 1987: LCSC has Series-record 24 hits but also leaves record 23 men on base in game against Southern Arkansas.

May 27, 1987: Pat Mackey notches record six hits and has hits in 12 consecutive at-bats, and LCSC scores Series-record 25 runs in game against Grand Canyon.

May 28, 1987: Warriors set Series record of most runs (107), hits (102), doubles (26) and best batting average (.418) in six games.

June 1, 1988: Ed Ramirez sets Series mark for most strikeouts by a relief pitcher in a game with 13 against Oklahoma City.

May 28, 1989: Darrell Wagner records 16 strikeouts in game against Hawaii-Hilo.

May 31, 1990: Mark Yockey throws second 12-strikeout Series complete game against Southeastern Oklahoma State.

May 27, 1992: LCSC plays in Series title game for 11th consecutive season.

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