No. 15 Trinity defeated by Whitworth in NCAA West Regional championship game

No. 15 Trinity defeated by Whitworth in NCAA West Regional championship game

(Portions of this story courtesy of Linfield College Sports Information)

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. - Trinity University advanced to the 2012 NCAA Division III West Regional championship game with an elimination game 6-5 victory in 11 innings over Coe College. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they came up short against Whitworth University in the regional championship as Whitworth earned a trip to the Division III World series with a 9-2 win. Trinity vs. Coe Box Score | Trinity vs. Whitworth Box Score | West Regional

Trinity vs. Coe Game

In an action-packed, extra-inning thriller, Trinity topped Coe 6-5 to advance to the championship game of the McMinnville regional.

Trinity capitalized on poor defense from the Kohawks early on, plating a pair of runs in the first. With one out, Kevin Clements shot a double into right center to bring home Dominick Robusto and Kelly Woodruff.

Coe responded, however, scratching out a run in the first and another in the third to tie the score at 2-2.

The Tigers regained the lead thanks to back-to-back singles from Kevin Francke and Ryan Schweers. After advancing on a wild pitch, Francke scored on a groundout by Robusto.

RBI doubles from Tyler Leadley and Adam Nisenson in the seventh pushed Coe (29-17) to a 4-3 lead, which it would hold going into the ninth.

Robusto led off the ninth with a base hit, and came around to score to tie the game at five runs apiece and send the teams into extra innings.

Both teams plated a run in the tenth, but it was a sacrifice fly from Franke that brought in the winning run in the 11th.

Trinity vs. Whitworth Game

McMinnville Regional Most Outstanding Player Kevin Valerio went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI to lead Whitworth to its first regional championship in program history with a 9-2 thumping of Trinity (Texas) in the championship game.

Making their first NCAA Division III postseason appearance, the Pirates (30-14-1) won an unofficial “best-of-three” against the Tigers (37-12) to advance to the NCAA Division III Finals in Appleton, Wis. The teams played each other three times during the regional tournament, with Trinity taking the first game in the winner’s bracket but the Pirates getting the better of the nation’s 15th-ranked club in the latter two contests.

In the title game, the Tigers scored first, as a sacrifice fly from Kevin Clements brought home Kelly Woodruff in the opening frame.

Whitworth scored one run apiece in the second, fourth and fifth innings, and clung to a 3-2 advantage at the end of the sixth.

Not wanting to leave the door open for any late-inning drama, the Pirates pulled away in the seventh, posting five runs on four hits, one walk and a hit batter. Doubles from Nick Motsinger and Tyler Pfeffer plated four runs, giving the Pirates a six-run spread, 8-2. 

Dan Scheibe entered the game in the fifth, relieving Jason Renner after 1 1/3 innings, and gave up just one hit while tallying four strikeouts to pick up the win.

Joshua Davis, Erik Nikssarian and Paul Miller joined Valerio with two hits apiece, and Motsinger drove in a total of three runs.

Will Donnan was the sole Tiger to record multiple hits, posting a 2-for-4 line on the game.

Starter Ben Klimesh, who had posted a six-hit, 12-stikeout shutout in Trinity’s tournament-opening win, struggled in the championship game on limited rest. He lasted just four innings, giving up two earned runs with no strikeouts, and was relieved by a total of four Tiger pitchers.


2012 NCAA Division III West Regional All-Tournament Team
Player Position School
Kevin Valerio (Most Outstanding Player)
OF Whitworth University
Sean Raisch
OF Coe College
Ben Strellner
Coe College
Jacob Ludvik
OF University of La Verne
Kevin Clements
2B Trinity University
Ben Klimesh
Trinity University
Christian Muscarello
Trinity University
Josh Davis
Whitworth University
Erik Nikssarian
OF Whitworth University
Landon Scott
DH Whitworth University
Dan Scheibe
P Whitworth University