NAIA District 3 Baseball Playoffs : Westmont Eliminates Master's as Madsen Makes Most of Reprieve

Times Staff Writer

The bases were loaded and batter Kent Madsen had worked the count to 2-and-0.

It was almost a reprise of two innings earlier when Madsen grounded out with three men aboard to end the fifth inning and spoil Westmont's first scoring opportunity in the losers'-bracket game of the NAIA District 3 championship tournament at Westmont.

This time, though, the odds were in Madsen's favor.

Ahead on the count with only one out, Madsen could look for his pitch--a fastball away.

And Jeff Hagy of The Master's College made the mistake of throwing Madsen his pitch.

The senior left-hander stroked Hagy's offering into left field, driving in both Westmont runs in a 2-1 victory over Master's on Friday.

The loss bounced the Mustangs from the double-elimination tournament. Azusa Pacific defeated them, 12-2, in a first-round game Thursday.

Hagy's pitch to Madsen was the first real mistake the senior right-hander made. He had a no-hitter after five innings and had retired the Warriors in order the first three innings.

The problem for the Mustangs was that Westmont's Mike Ashworth, a 6-foot, 6-inch senior right-hander, had a no-hitter through four innings and, like Hagy, retired the first nine batters he faced.

Master's ended the stalemate on Eric Beagles' line single to right in the fifth to break up Ashworth's no-hitter.

The Mustangs then scored the game's first run in the seventh. David Mayr singled and advanced to third on Tod Skinner's double to left. Mayr scored when a balk was called on Ashworth for separating his hands while on the mound.

Master's loaded the bases in the seventh but any further threat was quelled as Ashworth tagged out Ted Grissom at the plate to end the inning. Grissom had attempted to score when Ashworth's pitch got away from Jack Schniepp.

Schniepp also played a role in extending Westmont's game-winning rally in the seventh. Guy Keefer drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second when Schniepp hit a high chopper to third. Beagles made the play but threw high to first. John Yackel then walked to load the bases with nobody out.

Hagy went to a full count on David Heldoorn before striking him out. Madsen then drilled his clutch hit and earned a measure of redemption.

"A lot of things go through your mind when you're in that situation," Madsen said. "Being a senior, I was thinking that this could be my last at-bat. I also remembered that I'd blown it the time before.

"When he fell behind on the count, I was looking for a fastball and he threw it. My strength is opposite-field hitting and that's what I did," the Warrior center fielder said.

Hagy (8-7) tried to throw Madsen a low pitch in on his hands, one that he ostensibly would ground into an inning-ending double play.

"We felt that if he just kept the ball down then we would have a good chance," Master's Coach Pat Harrison said. "He just got the ball up."

Master's (24-26) was making its first appearance in the tournament.

In other tournament games:

Azusa Pacific 8, Cal Baptist 6--Trailing, 6-3, Azusa Pacific (38-12) rallied for three runs in the seventh inning and two in the eighth in a second-round winners'-bracket game that was marred by a bench-clearing brawl in the eighth.

Westmont 6, Cal Baptist 5--Rob McDaniel's two-run single in the fifth put Westmont ahead, 6-3, in a losers'-bracket game. The Warriors (30-16) play Azusa Pacific, ranked 10th in the NAIA, in today's championship series.

If Westmont wins, the teams will play a second game to determine the title. Azusa Pacific, which has lost all four games against Westmont this season, is undefeated in tournament play.

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