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CEDAR RAPIDS — Underneath their bios on the school’s website for their team, Eastern Connecticut State baseball players are asked questions. The answers to them provide a little glimpse into their personalities, who they are away from the field.
Outfielder John Mesagno and infielder Luke Broadhurst were asked, among other things, about the favorite moment in their respective lives. Their answers, given preseason, mind you, were identical: winning the national championship in 2022.
What a couple of clairvoyant fellows.
ECSU grabbed the NCAA Division III World Series title with wins Tuesday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium over defending champ Salisbury (Md.), 11-6 and 3-2. The latter was the Warriors’ 23rd in a row and moved their uber-impressive overall record to 49-3.
The former total is a school record, impressive considering the history of this program. Eastern Connecticut State has won five national baseball championships, this being its first since 2002.
“It’s part of the tradition at our university,” said Coach Brian Hamm. “We’re really proud to represent the university, and to get one for all the people back home, including all our parents and families of the team is very special.”
And predicted by at least two of its players. ECSU lost its two games of the regional tournament last season, and the six seniors and two graduate students in the starting lineup used that as motivation.
“This has been our goal since the date Cortland beat us last year,” Mesagno said. “We wanted to bring back the core from last year. We knew we had some unfinished business. We’ve just been working toward that.”
Eastern Connecticut State won all five of its games here, committing only one error. The half-dozen runs it allowed in the opening game Tuesday was the most it gave up at this eight-team, double-elimination tournament, which featured a bunch of high-powered offenses.
First baseman Josh Tower went 5-for-5 with five RBIs in the first game Monday and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. The five hits tied a World Series record.
“Going into this World Series, from the regional to the super regional, I was 2-for-25. I was kind of on a down,” he said. “To get going with five hits today ... My dad texted me and told me I tied the tournament record. So that’s kind of surreal at that moment, knowing I’m a part of history in D-III baseball.”
“It was just a matter of time before we opened it up (offensively),” ECSU’s Ryan Bagdasarian said.
Billy Oldham threw 6 1/3 good innings in the second game to notch his second tournament win. Tommy Benincaso finished things out from there, spiking his glove to the ground in jubilation as Warriors second baseman Noah Plantamuro fielded a chopper over his head before completing the throw to first for the final out.
“Give them credit. They were aggressive at the plate all day,” said Salisbury Coach Troy Brohawn, whose team finished 39-12. “I just thought we met up with a team today that competed harder than we did today ... I’m not saying we didn’t compete hard. They just competed harder.”
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