Santa Clarita, Calif. - The Tabor College Bluejays got off to a great start in the opening round of the NAIA National baseball tournament defeating the Cavaliers of Concordia University (Ore.) 8-7 in 10 innings.
After giving up the lead in the top of the 10th inning, designated hitter, senior Wes Moody, hit a one out walk off single with the bases loaded to score two for the exciting win.
"I just figured he was going to throw a fastball," said Moody, "I was just trying to hit something hard."
Freshman Jacob Webb (4-3) pitched the last five innings to earn the win. Webb gave up three runs on two hits and struck out nine. Tabor recorded 16 strikeouts overall.
"I tried to throw everything I had," said Webb. "I felt like everything was working, just getting locations down and just making sure I was making my pitches."
The Bluejays got off to a slow start giving up four runs in the first inning. The Jays battled right back bringing across five runs of their own in the bottom of the first. The inning was capped off with a two run homer by junior Troy Torres.
After each team scored a run in the second the score was 6-5. Both teams were held scoreless until the ninth inning. Tabor had several scoring opportunities, stranding six runners, including having the bases loaded with one out in the 5th, only to come up empty.
The Cavaliers evened the score in the top of the ninth. Jimmy Sanchez led off the inning with a ground rule double. He later scored after a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.
In the top of the 10th, after striking out the leadoff hitter, Webb gave up a solo shot to Carl Beckert, giving Concordia their first lead since the first inning.
Junior Grant Silva led off the bottom half of the inning with a double down the right field line. Junior Kirk Rocha followed with the intention of bunting Silva over, but was hit with a dangerous pitch that got him in the neck. Rocha was able to remain in the game, taking his base.
Junior Kevin Seeger followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Concordia elected to intentionally walk senior Tyler Kozlowski to load the bases for Moody. Tabor Coach Mark Standiford was confident when Moody was given the opportunity to win the game. "I had a senior at bat, which is big, and a left hand hitter up – I felt good".
Moody delivered on a 2-0 count with a hit into right field. Silva came in and Rocha scored just ahead of the throw, which began the celebration on the field.
"It was a pretty incredible game," said Standiford. "We started off tough, we battled and the guys hung in there. I am really proud of them. They really showed some character."
Coach Standiford was also pleased with the performance of Webb coming in relief. "He (Webb) has been outstanding; the guy has an electric arm. It was big for him to come in and calm everything down and gets us settled a little bit."
Several Bluejays chipped in at the plate. Silva and Rocha each had three hits and scored two runs. Senior Art Corona was 2-5 with two runs scored and senior Tyler Kozlowski was 1-3 with an run batted in.
The Bluejays continue in the winner's bracket today at 3 p.m. (PST) with a match up against number one seed and tournament host The Master's College Mustangs. The Master's are ranked #7 in the NAIA.