Underdog mentality pushes Lindenwood baseball team to unlikely rise to national tournament.
Not much was expected of the Lindenwood baseball team, but the Lions went from a team on the bubble for the NCAA Central Regional tournament to a few steps from being national champions.
The Lions were ranked 11th in the conference’s preseason poll, Lindenwood became red hot in April and won 15 out of 17 games to end the regular season.
“I believe we are a very contagious team,” Lindenwood outfielder Rayce Singbush said. “Once we got on a roll, we snowballed into a better team.”
A 2014 Geneseo graduate, Singbush and the Lions stayed red hot winning the MIAA Conference Tournament trophy with a 12-8 victory over Missouri Southern.
Once Lindenwood got on a roll, something just clicked for the Lions.
“Having that underdog story behind us gave us that little extra oomph to make something happen,” Singbush said.
Lindenwood went on to win the Central Regional championship over the University of Central Oklahoma with an 8-4 victory to advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championships.
“I think one of the better aspects of this team was our ability to handle adversity well,” Singbush said. “There were a lot of times we could have just rolled over and died, but we just kept at it. Whether you were playing or not everyone kept the energy up in the dugout and that leads to more runs.”
Lindenwood secured the first NCAA postseason bid in school history, and in just its fourth year of eligibility at the DII level. Singbush was named to the Central Regional All-Tournament team.
After earning the first national tournament win in school history, Lindenwood saw its season come to an end in Grand Prairie, Texas, on May 31.
Lindenwood was eliminated from the National Championships with an 11-6 loss against the University of California, San Diego, and they finished the national tournament with a fifth-place showing.
Singbush singled and came around to score in the second inning cutting the lead to 5-2 in the championship game.
Every Lindenwood player but one finished with at least one hit.
This season, Singbush finished fourth on the team in batting average (.304), fifth on the team in on-base percentage (.377) and second on the team in stolen bases (16).
Lindenwood concludes its season with a 40-20 overall record, its most wins since the 2010 campaign.
Singbush says the Lions have a bright future returning a balanced team with eight of the nine players from this season’s squad.