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UFV men’s baseball wins Canadian College World Series after thrilling walk-off

Cascades win second title on Monday (May 20) after walk-off hit in the bottom of the 13th inning
UFV men’s baseball wins the Canadian College World Series in Lethbridge, Alta. (Blair Takahashi)

The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) men’s baseball team won the Canadian College World Series (CCWS) title in Lethbridge, Alta. after a dramatic walk-off in the bottom of the 13th inning.

Kelowna native Brady Renneberg hit a long fly ball into left field, and Tyson Christie ran all the way home from first base to meet his excited teammates. The Cascades won the championship by a final score of 10-9 over the Okanagan College Coyotes on Monday (May 20).

“The boys went crazy,” head coach Riley Jepson said. “Lots of emotions, lots of hugs and some tears. It was a cool moment.”

This is the second time the program has won, with the first victory coming in 2019. UFV went a perfect 4-0 in the tournament, beating the University of Calgary, Thompson Rivers University and Okanagan College twice.

“Pretty awesome to have that goal and complete it like that,” Jepson said. “I was pumped for the guys who hadn’t won one yet to have that moment.”

After three scoreless innings Okanagan College broke the ice in the top of the fourth. A wild pitch scored the first run, and Okanagan’s Rico Dominico finished the job by hitting a double to score two more runners. The Cascades, now down by three, tied it up in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back singles from Anthony Setticasi and Max Prevost.

The Coyotes took a 4-3 lead in the seventh after a runs batted in (RBI) single. The lead didn’t last for long, as another Setticasi single tied the game and Christie tripled to score Setticasi in the bottom half.

The Coyotes exploded for five runs off three hits, three walks and an error in the top of the eighth. Even down by a daunting score of 9-5, the Cascades weren’t done yet. Kensuke Nakane brought home Nick Holdershaw in the bottom half to cut the Coyotes lead to 3.

The Cascades were able to stifle the Coyotes offence in the top of the ninth to set the stage for a comeback. Prevost, Renneberg and Holdershaw all hit RBI singles to tie the game at nine in the bottom half and force extra innings.

Heading into extra innings with a championship title on the line, Jepson said it was the older players on the team who “stepped up and rallied the boys to bring some energy.”

Defence was the story of the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. After recording two quick outs in the 13th, Christie got on base after an Okanagan error. The three-hour and 45-minute marathon was ended when Renneberg took advantage of his opportunity. Renneberg shot a ball down the third base line to score Christie and win the ballgame in dramatic fashion.

Matthew Picheniuk entered the game to pitch and recorded three scoreless innings, earning the win in the process.

Jepson is in his first season as head coach and was also a former player at UFV, so winning the championship was extra special.

“I played with some of the seniors, and to have them go out like that was awesome,” Jepson said. “Winning it your first year just sets the tone for years to come.”

UFV plays in the Canadian College Baseball Conference. They finished second in the regular season standings with a 18-12 record, and 2.5 games behind Okanagan College. The CCWS is an annual eight-team double-knock out tournament to determine an overall champion.

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