Delta State earns berth in CWS

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Delta State took the long, hard road back to the Division II World Series.

The Statesmen beat Stillman College, 5-2 and 10-7 Monday, to escape the losers’ bracket and win the NCAA South Regional in Tampa, Fla.

With the victory, Delta State advanced to its 11th World Series and first since 2005. Games begin Saturday in Cary, N.C., and DSU’s first game will be Sunday at 4 p.m. against St. Mary’s (Texas).

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Other regional winners were West Chester, Chico State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Southern New Hampshire, Catawba and Indianapolis.

Delta State (46-13) won five elimination games in a 72-hour span to take the regional championship. Two of those — Sunday against Alabama-Huntsville and the first game Monday against Stillman — were won in the final at-bat. Delta State scored three runs in the top of the ninth to earn the 5-2 win.

The finale was a little easier. Brent Langston went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored, and Brent Kakwitch scored four runs as the Statesmen won 10-7. Eighth-seeded Stillman scored three runs in the seventh inning to pull within a run, at 8-7, but Kakwitch delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth and later scored on a squeeze bunt to give DSU some breathing room.

Josh Branstetter retired the side in order in the ninth, getting Logan Hunter swinging at strike three for the final out.