APPLETON, Wis. — Forrest Chadwick watched the Millsaps College relief pitcher throw four straight balls to intentionally walk Tucker White to load the bases. University of Southern Maine fans and players held their breath.

Chadwick, a Gardiner Area High School graduate, understood what he needed to do. It was the top of the 10th inning with one out in the opening game of Friday’s NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. The game was tied.

Within moments it wasn’t.

USM beat Millsaps 2-1 on Chadwick’s ground ball past infielders creeping closer to home plate, hoping for a force out. The single brought home Jake Glauser with the winning run.

“Any time the bases are loaded, you get a little amped up,” said Chadwick. He checked his heart rate. It was steady.

Chadwick knew Millsaps’ freshman reliever was a sinkerball pitcher. He waited for a sinker that didn’t sink and got it. The bases remained full but Millsaps’ Harper Grier got the next two outs.

Andrew Richards walked to the mound for his fifth inning of scoreless relief. He gave up a single to Stephen Gates with one out, then got two fly-ball outs. Suddenly, USM players ran to the mound, congratulating Richards and each other.

USM advances to play Linfield College of Oregon at 5:30 p.m. today. Linfield is coached by former New York Yankees third baseman and 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius. Linfield held off a late rally to beat Ithaca College 8-6 in the tournament’s second game.

Freshman Shylar Scates, an Erskine Academy graduate, got the start and hit Gates, Millsaps’ lead-off hitter.

“I was so excited when I got the text from (coach Ed Flaherty) the night before,” Scates said. “I was feeling the adrenaline when the game started. I got a little nervous and I was trying to work inside.”

Flaherty made a quick trip to talk to his young pitcher. It’s the first game, you’re a little jittery, you’ll be fine, Scates remembers hearing. Two of his next three outs were strikeouts.

“I made two mistakes in the game,” Scates said.

The first was to Gates, who led off the third inning with a low liner to the left field corner for a double. Keith Shumaker followed with a single, driving home Gates for the game’s first run.

“I couldn’t get him out all day,” Scates said.

Actually, he struck out Shumaker in the first. Shumaker did lead off the bottom of the sixth with a double, knocking Scates out of the game.

“I felt good knowing (Richards) was coming in,” Scates said. “He’s been taking care of us all year. I did my job.”

So did Millsaps starter Will Edwards. He kept USM hitters off balance for much of the game, mixing effective breaking pitches with his fastball. He gave up one run and allowed only five hits before leaving in the 10th inning under unusual circumstances.

Glauser, pinch-hitting for Troy Thibodeau, worked a walk. Sam Dexter, a Messalonskee High School graduate, sacrificed. Gates fielded the bunt but in pivoting to force Glauser at second, the throw hit Edwards in the head and bounced to third base.

Glauser and Dexter were safe on first and second and Edwards was on the ground, curled in the fetal position, holding his head.

“I was lollygagging to cover first and got in the way,” said Edwards, who left the game. “I’m OK. I think the throw was too short to really hurt me.”

Grier came in and walked White intentionally, bringing Chadwick to the plate.

It was a tense game, marked by good execution and thinking. In the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Wall led off with a single, bringing Flaherty out of the dugout for a conference with Richards, catcher Matt Verrier and the infielders.

Flaherty expected a sacrifice bunt. Or maybe Samuel Doucet would pull back and slash a hit past the charging infielders. Flaherty called for a pitchout.

Wall was running on the pitch and thrown out easily at second.

In the eighth, Blake Littlejohn was thrown out at second by White with two outs, trying to stretch a single into a double. Millsaps coach Jim Page had no quarrels with Littlejohn’s decision. “I thought we had been playing a little timid. We needed to go for it.”

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