“I knew it was going to be really tough,” said Cumberland head coach Woody Hunt. “Gomez pitched another terrific game for us. This team has a special make-up. We’ve grinded it out every tournament, with nothing coming easy to us. This is a gift from God and I thank him for the way this team came together.”
Gomez, who improved to 7-4 on the year, scattered six hits over nine innings with four strikeouts and three walks. The performance gives him two complete-game victories against Lewis-Clark State at this year’s World Series.
Lewis-Clark State threatened in the bottom of the ninth, however Gomez, as he did the entire game, worked out of it with a strikeout of pinch hitter Chris Woolley and ground out to third base by Brian Corliss.
With the win, Cumberland finishes the season with a 49-20 record. The third national championship puts the Bulldogs, who are now 3-2 all-time in the title game, into a tie for third all-time in most banners with former-member Lewis (Ill.). Lewis-Clark State ends the year with a 47-9 record and falls to 16-7 all-time in the finale.
Gomez found himself in trouble right out of the gates as an error and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out for the Warriors in the top of the first. However, Gomez worked out of the jam, striking out Michael Sexton and inducing a ground ball to the shortstop from Jacob Cano.
Richie Seaton’s double down the left field line, which landed just past the outstretched glove of Raymond Pedrina, drove in the first runs of the ballgame. Justin Byrd and Tyler Anderson both scored on the play to give Cumberland a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
Zero’s littered the scoreboard until the bottom of the seventh when Cumberland added an insurance run on a Jociel Veras hot-shot that went through the legs of the Lewis-Clark State third baseman. Chris Hall, who took a ball of the shoulder to lead off the inning, scored from third to make it a 3-0 Bulldog advantage.
Lewis-Clark State threatened in the top of the eight after a single by Cody Lavalli and a double by Michael Sexton put runners on second and third with two outs. However, Gomez quickly shut the door on the inning, forcing Jacob Cano to fly out to left field on the first pitch he faced.
Five Bulldogs combined for the club’s five hits, including a single by World Series Most Valuable Player Sam Lind. The senior second baseman ended the event with a .542 (13-for-24) batting average with three doubles, two home runs, 12 RBIs and six runs scored.
Three pitchers appeared in the contest for Lewis-Clark State. Ty Jackson, who was making his first start since April 26, took the loss to fall to 4-1 on the year.
Jake Shirley led the offense for Lewis-Clark State with a 2-for-3 effort at the dish. He also walked twice.
Tonight’s game is the first shutout victory in the World Series finale since Lewis-Clark State defeated St. Ambrose (Iowa), 9-0, in 1996.
“We’ve had more talented teams that never made it out here,” said Hunt. “But I’ve never had a team that would fight and grind like these guys. It’s just a great win for us – a feeling I can’t describe.”
The World Series concluded with an awards ceremony that included the All-World Series team, consisting of 16 individuals, the Charles Berry Hustle Award, the World Series Gold Glove Award and the Most Valuable Player Award. Honorees listed below.
The Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho). For more information on the 58th annual championship, click here.
2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series All-Tournament Team
1B – Cody Riley, Oklahoma Wesleyan
2B – Sam Lind, Cumberland (Tenn.)
3B – Ricky Coleman, Cumberland (Tenn.)
SS – Tyler Anderson, Cumberland (Tenn.)
INF – Jeff Butler, Oklahoma Wesleyan
C – Kevin Hawk, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
C – John Fidanza, Georgia Gwinnett
OF – Ryan Sells, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
OF – Garrett Easton, Oklahoma Wesleyan
OF – Jose Ruiz, Oklahoma Wesleyan
OF – Justin Byrd, Cumberland (Tenn.)
DH – Jake Shirley, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
P – Anthony Gomez, Cumberland (Tenn.)
P – Julian Merryweather, Oklahoma Baptist
P – Michael Noteware, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
P – Diego Ibarra, Oklahoma Wesleyan
Charles Berry Hustle Award – Jeff Butler, Oklahoma Wesleyan
World Series Gold Glove Award – Kevin Hawk, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
World Series Most Valuable Player – Sam Lind, Cumberland (Tenn.)