By TOMMY BRYAN, sports editor
LEBANON -- What started out as just a meal for Cumberland’s NAIA National Championship baseball team, turned into a lovefest Monday at Immanuel Baptist Church. Family members, city government officials and base- ball alumni were on hand as the Lebanon Sports Commission put together a going away party of sorts for the 58-9 Bulldogs.
“We’re a family, we love each other,” said infielder Derrick Harwood. “That’s what has made this a special team, a special group of guys. After tonight, a lot of us will be going our separate ways. But we’ll always be a part of this family.”
Cumberland coach Woody Hunt took the microphone briefly, thanking those in attendance and his, “brilliant, magnificent,” team. “This was without question the most consistant team I’ve ever coached,” Hunt said. “We never hit that lull, they always found a way to bounce back.
LEWISTON, ID -- Senior Kris Miller earned Most Valuable Player honors and six other Bulldog players were named to the 2010 Avista-NAIA World Series All-Tournament Team, as announced by the national office at the conclusion of last week’s World Series.
Miller collected four home runs and had 10 RBIs in five contests, helping the Bulldogs to their second World Series championship. The New Caney, Texas, native added a double and three walks in the five games. Miller hit a pair of homers in CU’s 8-1 triumph over Oklahoma City University and added round-trippers in the first meeting with Lee University and versus Point Loma Nazarene.
The rightfielder turned in perhaps the biggest defensive play of the series for the Bulldogs as well, gunning down a runner at the plate in the club’s 11-9 victory over Lee in the winner’s bracket final.
Joining Miller on the All-Tournament team was first baseman Greg Appleton, shortstop Sam Kikla, third baseman Matt Greener, catcher David Fanshawe, outfielder Troy Frazier and pitcher Aaron Wilkerson.
Appleton and Greener tied for the team-high with nine this in the series, with Appleton collecting one triple, a home run and four RBIs. The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, native also scored seven runs while collecting a pair of hits versus OCU and in the first meeting with Lee and adding three more hits against Point Loma Nazarene.
Greener broke out of his postseason slump in the World Series, registering two hits in four of the five games. He delivered the knockout blow in the club’s 13-7 victory over Point Loma, a grand slam in the sixth inning, and added a two-run single versus the Sea Lions. The Jupiter, Fla., native drove in 10 runs in the series and scored eight times as well.
Kikla hit three homers, drove in six runs and scored seven times in the series. The Malabar, Fla., native got the Bulldogs off to a great start versus OCU with a solo homer in the first and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth. He had two hits and scored twice in the 11-9 triumph over Lee and then belted a pair of home runs and drove in three runs in the victory against Point Loma.
Frazier collected eight hits in the series for Cumberland and lined out sharply four or five other times. The Louisville, Ky., native hit three home runs and had five RBIs, scoring five runs as well. He registered three hits with a solo homer in the victory against OCU and hit two home runs with four RBIs in the 11-9 win versus Lee.
Fanshawe did his best work behind the plate, helping the Bulldog pitching staff continued its stellar work in the postseason, but the Miami, Fla., native also recorded seven hits with a pair of doubles, two home runs and six RBIs in the series. He doubled, homered and drove in two runs in the opener versus Embry-Riddle, a 9-1 victory, and then homered and drove in all four Cumberland runs in the 4-3 championship win over Lee.
Wilkerson had as much to do with the Bulldog national championship as any other player, winning the first and last games of the tournament. The Waco, Texas, native allowed a solo homer and just four hits while striking out 13 in eight innings in a 9-1 victory over Embry-Riddle. Then in the title game, he tossed a four-hit shutout for eight innings against Lee before starting a game-ending doubleplay in the 4-3 victory. The righthander struck out seven, walked three and allowed seven total hits in the contest.