HARWICH, Mass. – The season ended for the St. Joseph’s College baseball team, but not before a late-inning rally came a hit or two shy of extending another magical run in the NCAA Division III New England baseball regional.

The sixth-seeded Monks were ousted from the double-elimination tournament Saturday with a 5-3 loss to No. 3 Wheaton in a game played over the course of two days.

The game started at 8 p.m. Friday and was suspended because of fog at 11 p.m., then resumed at noon Saturday with Wheaton at bat in the top of the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead, a runner on second base and one out.

“We knew it was going to be a short chance,” said Monks senior right fielder Todd Keneborus. “We knew we would have to man up.”

The Lyons quickly made it 3-0 when Hal Landers singled to drive in Hadi Raad, who had doubled with one out Friday night before the game was suspended.

The Monks bounced back with three runs in a wild eighth.

Alex Markakis started the rally with a single to center and went to third on Dan Achorn’s double to left-center. Markakis scored on pinch-hitter Alex Lorenc’s grounder to short, then Sam Butts singled to left and Achorn scored when the ball was misplayed, making it 3-2.

Chris Campbell was hit by a pitch from reliever Ryan Grant, and Butts scored the tying run when Grant made an errant throw on Nate Martin’s bunt.

Martin originally was called safe on the play, but after the umpires deliberated, he was called out for not touching first base.

Wheaton won the game by scoring twice in the ninth on two hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly.

“It’s another step, now we have to see if we can take the next,” said Monks Coach Will Sanborn. “You did wonder, was last year just a nice run or will we be able to do it again?

“I don’t think anybody wants to play St. Joe’s down here now, and that’s exciting going forward.”

The Monks finished the tournament 2-2, facing only the top three seeds. They split with Wheaton, beat No. 1 Tufts and lost to No. 2 Western New England, which will play for the title today at noon.

The Monks’ effort follows their deep run in last year’s regional, when they went 3-2.

Sanborn said he was proud of his team’s ability to respond after such a strange set of circumstances.

“That eighth inning showed a lot of character. It was the bottom of the order and it shows you the resiliency of these guys,” said Sanborn. “Sometimes it comes down to breaks.

“I think the guys forget how special it is to get into this tournament. There’s a lot of good teams that don’t make it.”

Butts, who went 3 for 3 with a run scored, said the experience was strange — starting and stopping, only to restart a day later.

“It’s definitely not something we’ve done all year,” said Butts. “We looked at it as an opportunity to see another pitcher.”

But, he said, the tourney run felt like a building block he and his teammates will remember next year.

“We got back here again, which shows the consistency of this program,” Butts said.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

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