Gents Fall in Championship Game to Oral Roberts
Saturday, May 26, 2007

Files associated with this release:
Box Score

2007 Mid-Continent Conference Baseball Championship Runners-Up











MACOMB, Ill. -- The magical journey of the Centenary baseball team (28-31) ended Saturday, as the Gents fell 9-1 in the championship game to Oral Roberts (40-15) in the 2007 Mid-Continent Conference Baseball Championships, played at Boyer Stadium, on the campus of Western Illinois University.

Falling for the second time in program history to Oral Roberts in the championship game, Centenary became only the second No. 4 seed to advance to the championship game under the current tournament format.

The Gents entered the championship game as the underdog, facing the nine-time defending Mid-Con champions in the Golden Eagles. Building off of the team’s two victories over Western Illinois and Valparaiso Friday, Centenary bonded together over the final few weeks of the 2007 season to reach Saturday’s title game.

The day started promising for Centenary, as the leadoff hitter in both the first and second innings got on, both advancing into scoring position.

Unfortunately for the Gents, junior infielders Teddy Saenz (San Jose, Calif.) and Cameron Penney (Valley Center, Calif.) were both stranded at second, unable to put Centenary on the board due to multiple pop flies in the first two innings.

Leading 1-0 after two, Oral Roberts scored four runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead on Centenary.

ORU junior outfielder and first team All-Mid-Con selection Brendan Duffy led off the third drawing a walk on four-straight pitches by Centenary starter Johnny Noland (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Golden Eagles designated hitter Brian Van Kirk.

The big hit for ORU came on a Pat Warfle three-run homer to left, extending what was a 1-0 lead heading into the inning to five runs.

Noland was strong over his first two innings, inducing fly balls to get out of jams. The junior left-hander was hit with a bit of bad luck in the third, as what appeared to be an out by Saenz at third was called safe. Saenz appeared to have tagged Duffy at third off of a sharply hit ball by Chad Rothford, overruled by third-base umpire Josh Schepis.

The play would have resulted in the second out of the inning.

With Rothford at first after the fielder’s choice, Warfle hit the low pitch by Noland over the left-field fence to open up the game for the Golden Eagles.

Oral Roberts added three runs in the top of the sixth, capped by a two-RBI single to left by Rothford.

Behind an eight-run lead, ORU freshman pitcher Jerry Sullivan earned his fifth win of the season. Named to the all-tournament team following the victory, Sullivan struck out eight over eight innings, allowing six hits.

Noland, who finished his season with a 2-7 record, stood strong for the Gents in his 5 1/3 innings pitched, holding the most dangerous offense in the Mid-Con to just five hits. He struck out two, allowing seven runs, with four being earned.

Following Saturday’s championship game, Justin Darr (The Woodlands, Texas), Nate Santiago (Mukilteo, Wash.) and Jeremy Sheehan (Bonner Springs, Kan.), along with Penney represented Centenary on the 2007 Mid-Con All-Tournament Team.

Junior Calvin Sanchez (Santa Cruz, Calif.) led the Gents at the plate in the tournament with a .500 average and a .571 on-base percentage. He was followed by Penney and Santiago, who hit .438 and .385 for four games, respectively.

Although falling in the end, the Gents leave the field distinguish with their heads held high.

The seven-member senior class has led the program to new heights in their four seasons. Four appearances in the Mid-Con Tournament, these seven players made two trips to the conference championship game.

Seniors Brandon Fulenchek (McKinney, Texas), Justin Huff (Beaumont, Texas) and Matt Webb (Blue Springs, Mo.), along with Darr and Santiago all took the field for one final game Saturday. With Will Kaage (Burlington, Wash.), who led the Gents into Saturday’s final with a win over Valparaiso Friday, and David McElroy (Victoria, B.C.), the seven have etched their names into Centenary history, leading the program with their hearts, bodies and souls.

No one knows what the future brings for these seven players, but for four seasons, these players have poured their hearts into the program.

Sometimes crying, sometimes laughing and celebrating, Saturday’s championship game should be looked at a beginning, not an end. Looked at with joy, rather than repent and regret.

One scene during the 95-minute rain delay illustrated the character and spirit of the Gents during the 2007 season.

Down 9-0 in the bottom of the ninth, with hope and time running out on the season, Noland and freshman pitcher Peter Stark (Dallas) slid across the infield tarp, drenching themselves with rain water and dirt. Smiles ran across the two players’ faces on their way back to the Centenary dugout.

The scoreboard may have been against them, but the spirit of the Gents could not be crushed.

As the sun sets on another season of Centenary baseball, the program looks towards a bright horizon and a new summit.

2007 Mid-Continent All-Tournament Team



Dallas Cawiezell


Chance Chapman

Oral Roberts

Justin Darr


Brendan Duffy

Oral Roberts

Jeremy Hefner

Oral Roberts

Cameron Penney


Zach Rodeghero


Chad Rothford*

Oral Roberts

Nate Santiago


Jeremy Sheehan


Jerry Sullivan

Oral Roberts

Kyle Surprenant

Western Illinois

Pat Warfle

Oral Roberts

Adam Younger

Oral Roberts



*Tournament MVP



Game was delayed 95 minutes due to inclement weather with no outs in bottom of ninth.