Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

La Roche Baseball in National Title Hunt Plays Wesconsin-Whitewater Friday in D-III College World Series

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

La Roche Baseball in National Title Hunt Plays Wesconsin-Whitewater Friday in D-III College World Series

Article excerpt

When Chase Rowe was named the head baseball coach at La Roche College at age 23 in 2006, the cupboard was admittedly bare to compete at the national level.

A decade later, the cupboard has been filled - with talent and awards - but there's room to add even more.

With 41 victories this season, the program's third consecutive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title and countless individual conference honors, the 11th-ranked Redhawks (41-10) are on the verge of program history as they prepare to make their NCAA Division III College World Series debut Friday against two-time national champion and 14th-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater in Grand Chute, Wis.

"It's just a lot of hard work and a lot of years for me and my staff of building the program and a testament to the type of people that are drawn here to La Roche, the type of kids that we have," Rowe said. "I'm looking forward to sharing the experience with them and hopefully getting an even bigger win."

The first pitch is at 8:45 p.m. at Fox Cities Stadium. Eight teams will compete in the double-elimination tournament.

La Roche's College World Series debut is a contrast from Wisconsin-Whitewater (34-15), which is making its eighth appearance and is one of 12 schools to win multiple NCAA Division III baseball championships. Wisconsin-Whitewater presents a new opponent for La Roche, but the Warhawks' reputation precedes them.

"Traditionally they're a massive school," Rowe said. "[A] powerhouse in a lot of sports."

Wisconsin-Whitewater won the national championship in 2005 and 2014, when the Warhawks' current seniors were sophomores. While Wisconsin-Whitewater has more postseason experience, La Roche has thrived this spring with its back to the wall. Facing elimination in the conference and NCAA regional tournaments, the Redhawks strung together winning streaks to win both. …

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