Casey, red-hot Concordia advance to World Series

GLENDALE — The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Danny Casey (Glendale Community College, 2009) senior, Concordia University baseball: The La Crescenta resident played a role in helping the Eagles advance to the Avista-National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, for the first time since 2006.

Concordia received a three-run homer from designated hitter Bryan Nicholson to record a 4-2 win against third-seeded host California Baptist on Saturday in the title game of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Riverside Bracket.

Nicholson's home run in the seventh gave the Eagles a 4-2 lead.

Concordia improved to 38-19 and will meet Faulkner in an opening-round game at 8:30 a.m. May 27 in Lewiston. The Eagles have won a program-best 12 games in a row and 20 of their last 22.

Casey, a third baseman, went hitless in four plate appearances, but did have two assists.

In another tournament game Friday, Casey finished with two hits to help the Eagles post a 4-3 win against Cal Baptist. Casey also registered three assists. Against British Columbia, Casey had a hit and scored a run in Concordia's 6-5 win Thursday.

Through Saturday, Casey is batting .282 (40-142) with eight doubles and 26 runs batted in. In 41 games, Casey has scored 21 runs and recorded 91 assists and 33 putouts.

Garrett Salzman (St. Francis High, 2008) junior, Macalester College baseball: Thanks to the torrid hitting of Salzman, Macalester turned in a successful season that included a share of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crown for the first time since 1950.

Salzman also enjoyed a breakout campaign, winning the conference batting championship and helping the Scots (26-14) advance to the conference tournament. Unfortunately for the Scots, their season came to a close Saturday.

Salzman, a catcher, batted .441 in conference and was selected to the all-conference team. In 18 conference contests, Salzman ranked first in hits (30) and third in on-base percentage (.494). Salzman had one five-hit game and notched 12 multiple-hit games. He had at least three hits in a conference game eight times.

Overall, Salzman batted . 403 (50-124) with two home runs and 22 RBIs. In 35 games, Salzman registered 11 doubles and scored 20 runs.

Alyssa Sovereign (Crescenta Valley High, 2010) freshman, Penn State softball: Sovereign, a reigning All-Area pick, picked up a prestigious honor, as she was selected Big Ten Conference's Freshman of the Week for the week of May 8-14.

In that time frame, Sovereign, a right fielder, helped Penn State go 4-0 in conference and put the Nittany Lions back into the NCAA Tournament.

She batted .455 in conference contests against Ohio State and Northwestern. Sovereign went three for six and drove in four runs in a road doubleheader against Ohio State on May 11. She drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth to give the Nittany Lions a 4-3 win in the second game.

Sovereign remained red hot at the plate. She went two for five with an RBI and a run scored in a pair of games against Northwestern.

Penn State will meet visiting Fordham in an NCAA Division I Regional opening-round game at 2 p.m. PDT Friday. The Nittany Lions will face Oregon or Albany on Saturday. The double-elimination regional will conclude Sunday.

Through Saturday, Sovereign is batting .268 (41-153) with three home runs and 22 RBIs. She's recorded nine doubles and scored nine runs in 52 games.

In the field, Sovereign hasn't made an error, as she has recorded 48 putouts and five assists.

Evan Simonitsch (St. Francis High, 2007) junior, Loyola Marymount baseball: Simonitsch, an outfielder, turned in a fine effort at the plate for the Lions during a nonconference game against Cal State Bakersfield on May 9.

Simonitsch collected three hits and drove in a pair of runs to spark host Loyola Marymount to an 8-2 victory. The Lions are 26-21 and 7-8 in the West Coast Conference entering today's nonconference road contest against Cal State Fullerton

Simonitsch is batting .246 (28-114) with five doubles and seven RBIs. He's scored 10 runs in 34 games.

Eric Kleinsasser (Crescenta Valley High, 2007) junior, Occidental College track and field: Kleinsasser appears to be peaking at the right time. On May 7, he clocked a personal-best mark of 14 minutes 34.70 seconds to finish 14th in the 5,000-meter race at the Occidental Invitational.

Kleinsasser, a three-time Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion in cross-country, will next participate in the 10,000 at the NCAA Division III Nationals on May 26 in Delaware, Ohio.

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