Morningside was eliminated from the GPAC Baseball Postseason Tournament when it lost an 11-8 slugfest against regular season league champion Northwestern in Monday’s Northwestern Bracket Championship Game in Orange City, Iowa.
The Red Raiders will take a 29-18 record into Wednesday’s GPAC Championship Game against Midland, while Morningside bowed out with a record of 22-25-1.
Morningside and Northwestern combined for 28 hits, including nine home runs, in Monday’s offensive bonanza. The Mustangs slugged five home runs among their 13 hits with blasts from Nathan DeChaine, Joe Genoways, Jordan Pierce, Andrew Kasperbauer and Mitch Kellogg.
Two of the home runs came in the top of the first inning when the Mustangs struck for back-to-back blasts to take an early 3-0 lead. Northwestern starting pitcher Raphael DeHoyos retired the Mustangs’ first two batters of the game before he served up a double to DeChaine followed by back-to-back home runs by Genoways and Pierce.
Northwestern closed within 3-1 on a solo home run by Christian Stekl in the bottom of the first inning and then used a four-run second to go up 5-3. Northwestern had four hits in the second inning uprising, including a two-run home run by Zachary Rosson.
The Mustangs tied the score at 5-5 on a RBI double by Dylan Mersola in the fourth inning and a solo home run by DeChaine in the fifth. The home run by DeChaine was his 14th of the season and the school-record 47th of his career.
The Red Raiders answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good at 8-5. A leadoff home run by Michael Callahan put the hosts in front 6-5 before Mitchell Kresnik delivered a two-run single later in the inning.
Morningside closed within 8-6 when Kellogg led off the sixth inning with a home run and capped its scoring when Kasperbauer clubbed a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
The Mustangs had multiple hit performances from DeChaine with a home run and double, Pierce with a home run and single, Kellogg with a home run and single, and Levi Davidson with a pair of singles. The Mustangs completed a 13-hit attack with home runs from Genoways and Kasperbauer, a double from Mersola and singles from Shea Patterson and Derek Clayton.