Cumberlands baseball clinches trip to NAIA World Series

The Cumberlands are headed to the NAIA World Series for the first time in school history.
The Cumberlands are headed to the NAIA World Series for the first time in school history.(John Lowe/WYMT)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 3:36 PM EDT
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WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The Cumberlands baseball program reached the unique intersection of milestone and history on Friday.

With an 8-6 win over the College of Columbia, the Patriots punched their ticket to the school’s first ever NAIA World Series and handed head coach Brad Shelton his 1,000th career win.

“We’ve been so close, we’ve had some really good teams that just made it through the last day It’s been a process,” Shelton said. “Those close calls have prepared our program for today. I’m just so happy for our alumni, our students and this bunch of guys...they’re just all in. The best thing about them is that they’re better people than players. I’m just so proud and happy that this is the group that’s taking us to the World Series.”

It wasn’t an easy win, with the Cougars taking a 5-3 lead in the sixth inning.

Cumberlands responded in the seventh inning. Ryan Shavers and Raphy Almanzar reached base on a walk and a single. Then Charlie Muniz ripped a home run to center field to give the Patriots a 6-5 lead.

With the home run, Muniz set a new NAIA Opening Round record with six dingers. He also tied the school record for hits in a single season with 93 (Jason Ellis, 2002).

The Pats added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth behind a triple and a wild pitch. Columbia homered in the ninth, but a strikeout by closer Cesar Avila sealed the seal.

Cumberlands will open up NAIA World Series play on Friday, May 26 in Lewiston, Idaho. Opponents will be determined once all Opening Round regionals are completed.