PULLMAN – The era will end eventually – it wouldn’t be an era if it didn’t – but Whitworth coach Dan Ramsay and his seniors are delaying the inevitable for as long as possible.
Ramsay will join the program at Washington State once the season ends, which will not be for a few more weeks because the Pirates are headed to the NCAA Division-III baseball tournament after sweeping the inaugural Northwest Conference tournament as a No. 3 seed.
Brackets for the NCAA Division III Regionals will be announced on May 11th, with the regionals held May 13-17. The eight regional champions will advance to the NCAA Division III World Series, held in Appleton, Wisconsin, on May 22-26.
So, the Cougars are just going to have to go without a director of baseball operations a little while longer.
“We’re just really thankful that he stayed all four years even though he’s had other opportunities to leave,” senior Josh Davis said. “I think that because he was here for all four of our years we really want to send him out well.”
Whitworth’s senior class collectively refers to itself as “the bookends,” and has come full circle after contributing as freshmen to the first team to make the Division III College World Series in school history.
After two losing seasons, the Pirates (28-13, 16-8 NWC) have a chance to go back.
“Oh man, I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel with how things are shaping up and how they’re wrapping up,” Ramsay said.
The Pirates appeared to be in the midst of a special season, going on a 10-game winning streak during the meat of their conference schedule. But their record was loftier than their play and reality soon hit hard.
Whitworth lost five of its next seven games and had to pull off a road sweep at Willamette to assure itself of a spot in the conference tournament.
“There are times when you’re playing bad baseball and you’d almost prefer, rather than we go 10-0 that we go 5-5, so the players understand that playing bad baseball isn’t going to win them games,” Ramsay said. “Sure enough, we came out of that 10-game stretch feeling pretty good about ourselves, but we were playing bad baseball and it kind of bit us in the butt.”
Lately, however, the Pirates have been exceptional. Particularly staff ace Dan Schleibe, who against Linfield in the tournament-opening game threw the first nine-inning no-hitter by a Whitworth player since colleges started using metal bats. Scheibe (9-2) boasts a 1.55 earned-run average and entered the week with the second-most strikeouts at the Division III level. He tallied 11 more against the Wildcats to win his duel against Chris Haddeland (7-2), the two-time D3Baseball.com National Pitcher of the Year.
Ramsay credits Schleibe’s dominance in part to the work of assistant coach Trevor Shull.
Hamilton tops list
Washington State sophomore closer Ian Hamilton notched his 25th career save, striking out the side in the ninth to preserve a 3-0 Cougars victory over rival Washington during a nonconference game played in Seattle.
The save was Hamilton’s 10th of the season and moves him past Reed Rainey into sole possession of first place on the school’s all-time saves list. With the win, WSU (24-19, 7-11 Pac-12) has won 10 of its last 13 games and last four series, three of which came against Pac-12 competition.
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