2021 NABF College World Series Champions Grand Rapids Brewers

RECAP

Jack Butler

jbutle58@lakers.mercyhurst.edu

 

Youngstown, Ohio – The 2021 NABF College World Series hosted eight teams from four different states, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. Three of the states were represented in the semifinals on Saturday when the Grand Rapids Brewers from Michigan played the Lake Erie Warhawks of the Western Reserve Collegiate League (WRCL) in Northeast Ohio. In the second semifinal, the Jasper Reds from southwest Indiana faced off against the regular season Champions of the WRCL. 

The first semifinal wasn’t even a contest as the Brewers, who went 2-2 in Pool B play, showed the Warhawks why they are one of the best colligate teams in the country by winning 12-2. Grand Rapids dominated at the plate, on the base paths, on the mound, and defensively. It all started in the first inning when Drew Fleming launched a solo blast. Ryan Dykstra following it up with a ground rule double and he scored on fielder choice ground out by Luke LaCross. Spencer Cable joined the act with an RBI single making it 3-0 Brewers. 

Owen Krizan shut down the Warhawks all afternoon with an easy first inning only allowing a single to Michael Knapp. The Brewers sent eight to the plate in the second, scored twice and one on a LaCross single which made it a 5-0 Grand Rapids lead. The Warhawks got their second hit off Krizan but could not get the clutch hit to get on the board. 

The Brewers showed off their wheels in the fourth when they swiped six bases leading to three more runs scoring. Krizan now with an 8-0 advantage was on cruise control as he tossed his fourth scoreless frame and got his second double play in as many innings.

Grand Rapids made it a 11-0 ballgame with back-to-back RBI doubles by Aaron West and Jared Evans and LaCross plated his fourth run on a single. The Warhawks got on the board in the six as a lead off walk turned into a Knapp single driving in Nick Compton. Cable drove in his third run of the game in the seventh on a bases loaded walk making it 12-1 Brewers.  

Krizan allowed another run on a sacrifice fly by Max Peyton but finished what he started after striking out Compton swinging to send the Brewers to the Championship. 

In the second semifinal, the Jasper Reds, the Pool A Runners Up, faced the Pool B Winners the Stark County Terriers. The Reds scored first in the second when Dustin DuPont doubled, and Grant Stratton drove him home on a sacrifice fly. Stark County responded with five in their half, three coming on a bases clearing two bagger by Tim Orr making it 5-1 in favor of the Terriers.   

Jasper Reds started the comeback in the fourth inning when they plated a run on a Ryan Powell ground out. Then, Eli Hopf kept his team in the game by tossing two consecutive scoreless innings. In the sixth the Reds finally knocked Drew Hallgren out of the game after scoring three runs off him with one coming on an Austin Simmers single.  

Hopf tossed another scoreless frame in the sixth keeping the game deadlocked at 5. This made the final three innings the battle of the bullpens and the Terriers won that matchup.

Tim Munz got out of trouble in the sixth for Stark County and went on to toss a scoreless seventh. Orr put the Terriers back in front that half inning with a two-run homer, giving him a five RBIs, and Shea Simmer removed all doubt with a three-run blast in the eighth. Those two late homers made it 10-5 Stark County. Munz retired DuPont to end the second semifinal giving him the victory in relief while most importantly punching a ticket in the Championship against the Brewers.

The undefeated (5-0) Stark County Terriers and (3-2) Grand Rapids Brewers faced off in the 2021 NABF College World Series Championship at Austintown Fitch High School. Grand Rapids bats continued where they left off in the semifinals with a solo blast by Drew Fleming two batters into the game. It was Flemings third round tripper of the tournament.

Stark County answered right back on a John Philippi two out RBI single. With the game tied, the Brewers broke the game wide open when they exploded for seven runs in the second. Spencer Cable, Jared Bujdos, and Robbie Stuursma, the seven, eight, and nine hitters, hit back-to-back-to-back solo home runs. Aaron West and Luke LaCross joined the act by each plating two on singles. The Brewers now had a commanding 8-1 advantage.  

Brewers starter Alex Babbitt made it look easy on the mound as he only yielded a lone hit and run through the first two innings. The Grand Rapids scoring avalanche continued in the third as three more runs crossed the plate which extended their rout to 11-1.  

Babbitt retired the side in order in the third, but the Brewers failed to score in the fourth. In the Terriers half, Shea Simmer got them a run closer on a run scoring single plating Philippi making a 9-run deficit. That was the closest the Terriers got as Babbitt finished the shortened complete game by striking out Nick Rossetti to give Grand Rapids the 2021 NABF College World Series Championship. 

The Brewers began their celebration just outside their third base dugout which was followed by both teams starting a handshake line going down the baselines. Bob Mingo, who ran the tournament, presented the Runners Up and Championship trophies and medals to the Stark County Terriers and Grand Rapids Brewers respectively.

COLLEGE DIVISION ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Player Name Team Name
Drew Fleming Grand Rapids Brewers Tournament MVP
Michael Knapp Lake Erie Warhawks Batting Champion
Bryce Holt Lake Erie Warhawks
Julian Jaume Brooklyn Cougars
Landon Mokris Jasper Reds
Coleman Stauffer Creekside Crocodiles
Chris Mattaz New York Nine
Sam Witt Toledo Hawks
Jarret Lyon Stark County Terriers
John Bufford Stark County Terriers
Ryan Dykstra Grand Rapids Brewers