KINGSTON, Pa. - Wesley College slugged four homers in the first two innings, including three in the second inning, but a powerful Penn State-Altoona lineup overpowered the Wolverines 22-14 in the ECAC South Championship Game.
The two teams combined for 36 runs, 32 hits, 17 walks and five hit batters in the offensive eruption.
Wesley (26-17-1) jumped ahead 1-0 on the first of two solo shots in the game by Grant Morlock (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) in the first, but the Nittany Lions (32-17) answered back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning.
That lead did not last long, however, as Wesley scored six runs with two outs in the second inning. After James Overstreet (Dover, Del./Lake Forest) walked, Billy Crowe (Newark, Del./Salesanium) reached on a hit by pitch. Rob Benedict (Drexel Hill, Pa./Monsignor Bonner) followed with his first career homer, a three run shot to left for a 4-3 Wesley lead. Stu Madden (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) struck out but reached first on a wild pitch. Kevin Murphy (Middletown, Md./Middletown) and Morlock capped the inning with back-to-back home runs.
The Wolverines scored three more runs in the top of the fourth. Murphy singled in Madden and later scored on an infield single by Geoff Kimmel (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence). Scott Marshall (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial) knocked in Wesley's final run of the inning with an RBI double for a 10-3 lead.
Altoona, however, plated an improbable 11 runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 14-10 lead. RJ Barnard led off the inning with a double and later hit a three-run homer in the inning.
The Wolverines battled back to tie the game at 14-14, scoring twice in each the fifth and sixth innings. Kimmel drove in both runs in the fifth with a two-out, bases loaded single and in the sixth runs came home on a sacrifice fly by Crowe and an RBI ground out by Benedict.
Seven more runs scored for the Nittany Lions in a game breaking seventh inning that put the game out of reach. John Schall had the big blow in the inning with a two-run home run.
Wesley first three hitters, Madden, Murphy and Morlock combined to score nine runs in the game, three apiece. Five different Wolverines had two hits in the game: Madden, Murphy, Morlock, Kimmel and Marshall. Benedict drove in a career-high four runs and Murphy and Kimmel knocked in three each. Overstreet stole three bases.
Barnard had a monster game in the win with four hits, four RBIs, three runs scored, a home run and two stolen bases. Grady Luzier scored five runs and drove in three more while collecting three hits. Jim Byers drove in five runs and also had three hits. Schall added four RBIs.
Kevin Obermeier picked up the win in relief. He allowed two runs in 4.1 innings of relief to close the game.
Kyle McGuire (Hartly, Del./Polytech) took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned in 2.2 innings of relief.