The Foresters headed into the championship game of the Mid-Central Conference tournament knowing that Spring Arbor University would have to beat them twice to take the title from them. HU made a statement by completing an undefeated run through the tournament with a 14-9 victory over the NAIA 9th-ranked Cougars in the first game. It was the Foresters' 30th win of the season and the third consecutive win over the region's top-ranked team.
There were plenty of fireworks in the early stages of the game. The Foresters began the display with seven runs on five hits in the top of the second. Spring Arbor got one back in the bottom of the frame and then duplicated the Foresters' effort with seven runs on five hits in the bottom of the third to take an 8-7 lead.
Using a 30 mph wind to their advantage, the Foresters sent two balls deep in the fourth. After Alex Rinearson walked to open the inning, Adam Farris, who had come on in relief of HU starter Trent Huffman the previous inning, jacked a two-run shot to center to put the Foresters back on top 9-8. Next Andrew Drummond came to the plate and went back-to-back with another bomb to center.
Edwin Rodriguez got in on the act in the top of the sixth. Following a one-out single by Drummond, Rodriguez sent a two-run blast, also to center, to give HU a 12-8 lead. Spring Arbor answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to draw within three, but that would be as close as it would get.
The Foresters added two insurance runs on three hits in the eighth and then HU closer, Korey Grow, retired the Cougars in the ninth to earn the 14-9 victory and an automatic berth in the NAIA Region VIII Tournament.
Farris picked up his first win of the season on the mound for the Foresters. He threw six innings and allowed one run on six hits and two walks while striking out one. Drummond and Rodriguez each tallied three hits in the game to lead HU's offense. Rodriguez and Austan Kas led the team with three RBI apiece.
As winner's of the MCC tournament, the Foresters will host the NAIA Region VIII Tournament at Forest Glen Park on Wednesday, May 7 through Friday, May 9. Pairings for Wednesday's first round games are HU vs. Indiana Tech at 1:00 p.m. and Spring Arbor vs. Madonna at 4:00 p.m.