DC Ends Season With a Narrow 5-4 Defeat in HCAC Tourney
Friday, May 10, 2013 | by Robby Hamman
Defiance (20-16)
Anderson (22-20)
5/10/2013 | North Manchester, IN | Attendance: 100
Win: Dan Schmitz (5-6) 8.01141410
Loss: Taylor (6-3) 7.095502
Helland (DC) 412110
Masopust (DC) 302020
Levengood (DC) 512000
Cole Heberli (AU) 413201

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The best season in recent memory of Defiance College baseball came to an end on Friday afternoon in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Jackets fell to the Ravens of Anderson in the elimination game by a final of 5-4.

Anderson was the first to get in the scoring column in the game with a solo homerun from Cole Heberling in the bottom of the second inning to give the Ravens a 1-0 lead.

The Yellow Jackets responded in the top of the third with a run of its own to tie the game at one run apiece. Aaron Helland led off the frame with a single to left and then immediately stole second. Later in the inning, Andy Habecker came through with a clutch two-out base knock into right field to drive in DC’s first run of the day.

After the Purple and Gold held the Raven bats scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, the DC hitters went back to work in the fourth.

Gary Levengood started things off by reaching on an Anderson throwing error. The freshman then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then to third on a wild pitch. Ryan Kohlhofer drove in Levengood with a single into left to give Defiance its first lead of the game at 2-1.

The Ravens abruptly responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-2 advantage. Anderson’s three-run inning was highlighted by a leadoff single from Austin Young followed by three consecutive singles.

The home squad tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth to extend its lead to three runs at 5-2 off a Jeremy Shelmadine RBI single.

Defiance cut the Anderson lead to two in the sixth inning, as Helland recorded his second hit of the afternoon to score Joel Musser from second on a two-out RBI single to center to make the score 5-3.

The score remained 5-3 through the seventh and eighth frames. Both teams’ pitching staffs managed to hold the opponents’ bats at bay and send the game into the final inning with a two-run discrepancy.

For the second game in a row, DC battled to the final out and made the game interesting in its final at bat. Darin Waterman began the inning with a single into left field followed by a single from Pat Masopust to give the Jackets runners on first and second with no outs.

Andy Habecker then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position with one out. Musser then stepped to the dish and drew a walk to load the bases with the Purple and Gold still trailing by two runs.

The Yellow Jackets next hitter, Levengood, popped out for DC’s second out of the inning, bringing freshman pinch hitter Ben Weber to the plate. Weber hit a grounder to Anderson’s shortstop, who botched the play allowing Waterman to score and everyone to move up a base on the play.

With the Jackets only down by one run and the bases loaded, Anderson managed to survive the Defiance rally by recording a strikeout for the final out of the game, securing the 5-4 victory.

Friday’s game marks the second consecutive game for the Jackets that the team staged a ninth inning rally that fell just short. Like Thursday’s loss to Manchester, Defiance outhit Anderson in the game but was unable to record the win.

At the plate, the Purple and Gold was led by Helland, Masopust and Levengood, who each recorded two hits in the game and drew a combined three walks.

The Yellow Jackets finish their season with a record of 20-16, which is the most wins for the program since the spring of 1995. The HCAC Tournament berth was the first for Defiance since the 2004 season.