FOREST, Va. --- Shenandoah University became the first back-to-back champion in ODAC baseball in 15 years on Saturday afternoon as the Hornets recovered from a 5-1 setback in the first title game to post a 5-4 triumph over Randolph-Macon College in the winner-take-all final showdown to secure the league hardware. With the victory, the Hornets earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
Both teams worked around a rain delay in the first championship game and then a start time for the final contest that was pushed back twice. However, the crew at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark kept the field in excellent playing shape. The venue, which serves as the home of the Carolina League's Salem Red Sox, provided an excellent stage for the conference tournament despite its alter format for weather concerns.
For Shenandoah (31-12), the win marked the programs third baseball title since joining the ODAC in 2012-13. Championships the past two seasons mark the first back-to-back titles since Virginia Wesleyan claimed trophies over Washington and Lee in both 2003 and 2004.
Next up for Shenandoah and possibly other ODAC teams is the NCAA Division III Tournament. Fifty-eight teams will compete in this season's field with 40 of those squads earning entry like SU as their league's respective automatic qualifier. Two teams will earn independent bids, while team's like Randolph-Macon (28-10-1) will need to earn one of 16 at-large selections.
The selection show is slated to air at 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday, May 13 on www.ncaa.com.
When it comes to standout players, the tournament brought out the best in many of the ODAC's stars. This year's 14-player All-Tournament Team is led by Shenandoah second baseman Tristan Baker as the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) for a second straight season. Baker, the ODAC's all-time leader in career hits with 262 knocks following the tournament, posted a slash line of .520/.600/.680 in six total tournament games. That featured a pair of three-hit games and a trio of two-hit efforts as he extended his current hitting streak to 21 straight games.
Listed below is the complete All-Tournament Team. For more information, be sure to visit the websites of the participating schools and go to the ODAC baseball tournament page on the conference's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.
MOP - Tristan Baker, SU
P - Gerard DePhillips, SU
P - Robert Klinchock, SU
P - Nick Roth, R-MC
C - Matt Moon, SU
IF - Jeff Butler, R-MC
IF - Cole Grinde, R-MC
IF - Michael Nickles, R-MC
IF - Luke Nussman, SU
IF - Frankie Ritter, SU
OF - Matt Blaise, R-MC
OF - Grant Thompson, SU
DH - Kevin Mooney, R-MC
UT - Jacob Pilarski, VWU