CHAMPIONS!!! Lynchburg Wins First Division III Baseball Title in Program, ODAC History

Lynchburg won the first NCAA Division III baseball championship in program and ODAC history on Thursday with a 7-6 victory over Johns Hopkins University. Photo Credit: Caroline Gerke, Lynchburg
Lynchburg won the first NCAA Division III baseball championship in program and ODAC history on Thursday with a 7-6 victory over Johns Hopkins University. Photo Credit: Caroline Gerke, Lynchburg

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa --- For the first time in conference history, the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament champion wears an ODAC-member jersey.

The University of Lynchburg erased a pair of deficits and closed out its first trip to the Division III final eight playoffs with the first baseball championship in ODAC and program history via a 7-6 score over Johns Hopkins University on Thursday evening on PG Cares Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The Hornets (48-8) close the season with an ODAC record 48 victories. In 12 NCAA Tournament games, Lynchburg went 10-2 on the way to lifting the walnut and bronze trophy. The Hornets out-scored their opposition, 80-57, including 41-29 in Iowa.

Wesley Arrington, who tossed a complete game on Monday in the Hornets 7-1 win over East Texas Baptist University to secure a spot in the final series, picked a great time for his first career save as he threw the final 1.2 innings. That included a strikeout of All-American left fielder Matt Cooper for the game's final out. Arrington was needed in that role as All-American closer Jack Bachmore made just his second start of the season and worked the first five innings to earn the win and improve to 9-1.

Several players had big days offensively, but the biggest swing of the day came from right fielder Jackson Harding. He cleared the bases with a three-run double in the fifth inning to give Lynchburg its first lead at 7-5. Catcher Holden Fiedler went 3-for-4 and scored a run, while second baseman Benton Jones drove in a pair with his ninth homer of the year. Third baseman Gavin Collins drove in two runs with a key basehit.

Five Hornets were named to the All-Tournament Team (complete list below). Zack Potts received Most Outstanding Player honors after two wins and 16.0 innings on the hill over two starts in Iowa. He and Arrington earned selections as starting pitchers. Fiedler was behind the plate for all 54 of Lynchburg's innings on PG Cares Field and earned the catcher's spot. Jones and Brandon Garcia continued the Hornets representation up the spine as the all-tournament second baseman and shortstop, respectively.

RELATED: NCAA Bracket | NCAA Championship History

Scoring came early and often for both teams with the scoreboard showing 4-4 after just two innings.

Johns Hopkins (48-8) jumped on the board with four runs in the top of the first. Cooper led off with a single to center and then scored on first baseman Dillon Souvignier's triple in the right-center gap. Third baseman Shawn Steuer skied one to right to score Souvignier with a sacrifice fly. Catcher Ben Frank walked and moved up to second on a sac bunt by centerfielder Tripp Myers. Designated hitter Caleb Cyr then hammered a curveball beyond the left field fence for a two-run shot and 4-0 advantage.

Lynchburg responded with two in the bottom of the frame. Garcia extended his safely-reaching streak to seven games with a walk. After Jones popped up to third, left fielder Avery Neaves walked and DH Sean Pokorak was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Two batters later, third baseman Gavin Collins came through with a two-run single to left, plating both Garcia and Neaves to cut JHU's lead to 4-2.

That advantage would disappear by the end of the second inning. Fiedler led off with a single to right off reliever Cole Jefferson, who entered the game to record the final out of the first inning in place of starter Ben Keever. Lynchburg's backstop was nearly stranded on first until Jones came through with a no-doubt-about-it blast to right-center for a two-run homer and a new game at 4-4.

The score was static until Hopkins retook the lead in the fifth inning with a run, but it could have been worse for the Lynchburg-faithful. Souvignier led off with a single to right. With one down, he attempted to steal second as Bachmore threw over to first on a pick-off attempt. First baseman Eric Hiett threw out Souvignier at second. The out was key as Frank hit the next pitch over the left field fence for a solo homer and a 5-4 edge.

The Blue Jays lead would again be short-lived with the Hornets going ahead for the first time on Harding's big swing. Neaves was hit by a pitch and Pokorak walked to lead off the bottom half of the fifth. Jaspar Carmichael relieved Jefferson and promptly loaded the bases with a free pass to Hiett. Two batters later, Harding split the gap in right-center for a bases-clearing three-run double and a 7-5 Lynchburg lead.

Lynchburg's bullpen bent but did not break in closing out the game. Logan Tapman was first up in the sixth. He hit Cyr with a pitch, but he was erased on a 4-6-3 double play to end the sixth inning. Mason McDowell worked seamlessly around a single by Souvignier in the seventh, but in the eighth, McDowell left after Hopkins loaded the bases on a HBP to Frank and walks to pinch hitter Lukas Geer and second baseman James Stevens. Arrington entered with one out. Shortstop Dylan Whitney singled to center to score Frank, but Hornets centerfield Carrson Atkins threw out Geer at home by a wide margin for the second out. After another HBP to right fielder Sam Browning, Arrington fanned Cooper to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Arrington left little to question in the ninth. He got Souvignier to fly out to center to start the inning, induced a grounder to second by Steuer for the second out, and then fanned Frank to register his career first save, one complete with a celebration dogpile and a national championship trophy.


  • SP: Wesley Arrington, Lynchburg
  • SP: Jackson Balzan, Salisbury
  • SP: Zack Potts, Lynchburg
  • SP: Gabriel Romano, Johns Hopkins
  • RP: Matthew Irwin, East Texas Baptist
  • RP: Matt Savedoff, Johns Hopkins
  • C: Holden Fiedler, Lynchburg
  • 1B: Dillon Souvignier, Johns Hopkins
  • 2B: Benton Jones, Lynchburg
  • 3B: Shawn Steuer, Johns Hopkins
  • SS: Brandon Garcia, Lynchburg
  • OF: Scott Cameron, Salisbury
  • OF: Ben Lea, East Texas Baptist
  • OF: Andrew Parker, Baldwin Wallace
  • DH: Danny MacDougall, Endicott
  • MOP: Zack Potts, Lynchburg