The Yale baseball team, which finished the NCAA Corvallis Regional in second place with a 2-2 record, placed two position players and a pitcher on the All-Tournament Team. The announcement was last night after Oregon’s 8-1 victory over the Ivy League champions.
The three chosen from Yale were Alex Stiegler, Tim DeGraw and Scott Politz. That was good news in New Haven. Even better is that they are all undergraduates who are expected back in the fall to start another drive to the post season.
Yale’s outstanding pitcher, Scott Politz, who just completed his sophomore year, was named to the All-Tournament team as the right-handed hurler, along with lefty Luke Heimlich of Oregon State. The Bulldogs’ coach of 25-years, John Stuper, gave the southpaw the ultimate compliment in calling him the best college pitcher he has ever seen.
Stuper also had praise for his own pitcher, Politz. “If he isn’t an all-American, then I don’t know what an all-American is,” he told the media in Oregon.
Politz pitched the regional’s opener in which the Bulldogs, seeded third, upset #3 Nebraska, 5-1. Former major league All-Star and now the coach at Nebraska, Darin Erstad, said afterward, “We had no answer for his cutter. Then he mixes the changeup in and away..and we pretty much got carved up.”
He retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced and finished the year with a record of 11-2.
Alex Stiegler took over at second base for two games after Simon Whiteman, a sophomore from Trumbull and Fairfield Prep, was injured in the eighth inning of the opener against Nebraska. Whiteman, incidentally, was a three-sport star in baseball, track, and soccer, where he was team captain, at Fairfield Prep.
Stiegler, only a freshman, got six hits and six RBI in Yale’s four games. In the first elimination showdown, which Yale won over Holy Cross on Sunday afternoon, he had three hits and five RBI. He returned to his outfield position for the final elimination game that night against Oregon State but was still given the second base spot on the All-Tournament team.
Center fielder Tim DeGraw finished the four games at Goss Stadium on Oregon State’s campus with seven hits, including three against Holy Cross, and scored six runs for the Bulldogs. Like Politz, he is a sophomore.
Wins and losses
The won-lost record of the #1 Beavers is now a stunning 52-4, including 28-1 at home, Those are winning percentages of an incredible .929 and .966 respectively.
Yale and Stuper are taking pride in finishing 34-18 this year, an all-time high number of wins in Yale’s long baseball history that began in 1865. The previous high was 33 victories accomplished in 1993, a team also coached by Stuper.
Referring to Pat Casey, the OSU coach, Stuper remarked, “It’s so clear to me that Pat recruits and nurtures high-character kids, They play the game the right way, they act the right way. Just incredibly talented young kids who … are destined for Omaha (the College World Series).”
Next season at Yale Field
What bodes well for the Bulldogs is that the trio named to the All-Tournament team is expected back next season. On the 2017 squad there were only three seniors (now technically alumni since they graduated two weeks ago). They were the pro prospect Richard Slenker, the captain from Pound Ridge, NY, Harrison White the right fielder from Niguel, CA, and Andrew Herrera, of Allendale, NJ, behind the plate.
The Corvallis Regional All-Tournament Team
Seven players from Oregon State, three from Yale and one from Holy Cross made the All-Tournament team. Big 12 champion Nebraska, which was eliminated quickly (0-2), failed to gain a place.
Catcher – Adley Rutschman, Oregon State
First Base – KJ Harrison, Oregon State
Second Base – Alex Stiegler, Yale
Third Base – Michael Gretler, Oregon State
Shortstop – Cadyn Grenier, Oregon State
Outfield – Steven Kwan (Oregon State), Tim DeGraw (Yale) and Bill Schlich (Holy Cross)
Designated hitter:– Trevor Larnach, Oregon State
Pitchers – Luke Heimlich (Oregon State) and Scott Politz (Yale)
Most Outstanding Player – Steven Kwan, Oregon State