CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – LaGrange opened its first Division III World Series with a 12-0 win over Trinity (Texas) on Friday night at Perfect Game Field in Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Panthers face Eastern Connecticut State on Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
Junior Baley Coleman provided strong starting pitching and third baseman Joe Ruth added his name to another record. Ruth had three hits in the game, giving him 104 for the season to break the record of 103 set by Sean Risley of Marietta in 1986.
Coleman allowed only four hits over 7-1/3 innings for his 11th win of the season, tying Titus Martin's record set in 2003. He walked only one and struck out nine.
The Panthers opened the scoring in the third inning off Trinity starter Joseph Chavana. Rhett Hebert reached on an error and took second when Gabriel Pallo reached on a fielder's choice. Hebert and Pallo moved up on Rhett Mixon's sacrifice bunt. McKinley Erves followed with a single up the middle to drive in both runners for a 2-0 lead.
The Panther bats came alive in their last three at-bats, scoring 10 runs to break the game wide open.
LC added to its lead in the sixth. Joe Ruth led off the inning with his 102nd hit of the season. One out later, Cael Chatham singled to put runners at first and second. David Smigelski reached on an error as Ruth came around to score the first run of the inning. Jared Aldridge's RBI double to right center plated Chatham for another run. Rhett Hebert attempted a bunt and the pitch sailed to the backstop as Smigelski raced home to make it 5-0.
The Panthers broke the game open with a four-run seventh. Jack Layrisson had a two-run triple, followed by Chatham's RBI double. Hebert's sacrifice fly drove in the final run of the inning for a 9-0 lead. Ruth doubled ahead of Layrisson's triple for his 103rd hit.
LC finished its scoring in the eighth as Ruth set the record. He singled sharply to right field for hit number 104. The Panthers tacked on three more runs for the 12-0 final.
Chatham turned in the defensive play of the game to start the eighth inning. He fielded MJ Mertz's grounder at deep short, lost his balance, and threw out Mertz from a sitting position.