Eastern Michigan wins MAC
By Phil Stanton
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – The Eagles are soaring!
Second-seed Eastern Michigan posted a 12-4
victory over No. 1 Kent State to capture the 2008 Mid-American
Conference Championship at VA Memorial Stadium.
Under first-year head coach Jake Boss, the Eagles
(25-32) started the season 0-17 before turning things around,
capturing their first MAC title since 2003. EMU fell to the
Golden Flashes (36-20) 3-2 a year ago in the championship game.
Sean Hoffman (5-2) earned his second win of the
tournament. He threw 128 pitches on Wednesday in a complete-game
victory over Western Michigan. On three days rest, Hoffman
worked six innings with eight hits, four runs, one walk and one
strikeout. Dan Puls tossed three hitless innings with three
strikeouts to earn his second save.
Zack Leonard led the Eagles with three hits, two
runs and three RBI. Kyle Rhoad and Jeff Davis also had three
hits for EMU.
Leonard, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player,
started the scoring for the Eagles with a monster home run off
the scoreboard in left in the top of the second, his ninth
KSU answered in the bottom of the frame as Jared
Bartholomew had a leadoff single, moved to second on a single by
Jared Humphreys, went to third on a one-out walk to Brett
Weibley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cory Hindel.
EMU snapped the tie in the fourth with a leadoff
homer by Josh Ivan, his seventh. Michael Boyd capped a five-run
fifth with a three-run homer, his third and second in the past
two days, to give the Eagles a 7-1 lead. Jim Gulliver had an RBI
double in the top of the sixth to give EMU an 8-1 advantage.
Ben Klafczynski belted a three-run homer in the
bottom of the sixth to pull KSU to within four at 8-4, but the
Eagles answered with four in the top of the seventh, keyed by a
two-run single by Jeff Davis, to push the lead to 12-4.
Joining Leonard on the all-tournament team were
Ivan, Hoffman and Steve Bradshaw from EMU; Doug Sanders, Greg
Rohan and Brad Stillings from KSU; Matt Stoeklen from Ball
State, Dave Reynolds from Northern Illinois and Chris Rigo from
Congratulations to the staff of the Chillicothe
Paints of the Frontier League for hosting a great event. The
Paints learned about a month ago that they would host the event,
and they did an outstanding job. I hope the tournament returns