WCU Baseball Team Wins Division II National Championship
For the second time in six years, the West Chester University baseball team has captured the Division II national championship.
The Golden Rams capped a perfect NCAA tournament run with a 5-2 victory over UC San Diego on Sunday at AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas, to secure the crown.
Unionville High School graduate Nick Ward, a junior who played his freshman season at Virginia Commonwealth, homered in the third inning for WCU (44-11), which won all eight of its tournament games.
In mid-May, the Golden Rams lost in the semifinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs to Mercyhurst, a team with a better record and national ranking. However, WCU got revenge against the Lakers a week later, beating them in the NCAA regionals in Jamestown, N.Y.
“I don’t really have any words,” Ward said. “I had no idea what to expect coming in. This was all new.”
It wasn’t for his coach, Jad Prachniak, who also led WCU to the national title in 2012 as a rookie coach.
“I think it starts with talent on the field,” Prachniak said. “You are going to face resistance along the way during a season. This team was exceptional in handling those moments and minimizing the effects – especially on the back end of the season.”
Relief pitcher Josh McClain, who earned two wins and a save, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
“I’m super grateful of the guys that were behind me all year,” McClain said. “I had a lot of trust in them. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to share this with.”
First baseman Jared Malone, a North Penn High School graduate, had two hits on Sunday. He and Ward were both named to the All-Tournament team.
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