Completing an incredible late-season run, St. Louis Community College won the Region XVI Tournament Monday with a 3-1 victory over Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods.
The Archers plated three first-inning runs, and held on behind the pitching performances of Seth Mesey, who limited Maple Woods to a single run over six innings, and closer Donald Lovelady, who pitched three innings to record the save.
“I don’t think Donnie has thrown three innings for us all year, and Mesey was good,” head coach Scott Goodrich said. “Maple Woods hit some balls hard in the fifth and sixth innings, and we just felt like in the seventh inning to go to Donnie. We needed a couple shutdown innings, so we went to Donnie and he’s been good for us all year. Innings seven, eight and nine went pretty quick.”
The victory gave the fourth-seeded Archers their first-ever regional title since the program became districtwide in 2011. The Archers reached the tournament’s championship tilt by winning its first three postseason games, scoring 36 runs in the process.
In the eyes of Goodrich, the postseason performance was mostly an indication of his team’s ability to continue the quality of play shown late in the regular season.
“There’s one thing that I tried to stress before their first game, and that was when we get to this point, an elimination game in a tournament, a lot of people say you need to raise your game,” Goodrich said. “We didn’t need to raise our game. We just needed to play to our abilities. We really did that for four games. We made a lot of mistakes, and those mistakes were made out of aggression. When everyone plays to their abilities, those things will happen with us scoring runs the way we did.
“We had a series versus Crowder late in the season where we didn’t know what to expect, and we pitched pretty well,” Goodrich added. “We didn’t hit great, but they were key hits and big hits. We were running pretty thin on pitching after that with a doubleheader against Maple Woods. We were down by 13 at one point and scored seven to finish the first game. We came out in game two and played well. It was very similar to a regional tournament game.”
Goodrich, in just his second season as Archers head coach, has already logged a pair of winning records and now has a regional title to his name. He took over for Tony Dattoli following the 2013 season.
“For the most part, guys buy into our approach, and that’s being smart and aggressive,” Goodrich said. “If we’re aggressive and we’re smart, things are going to go our way more often than not. When we’re at the plate, if we control our at-bat, we’re pretty good.”
The Archers (32-21) are awaiting the winner of Region 2, who will host the Archers in the NJCAA Division I South Central District Championship slated May 15-17.