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Casey, Eagles win series

Baseball: Underdog run ends for GCC product and Concordia with NAIA title.

June 04, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

GLENDALE — The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Danny Casey (Glendale Community College, 2009) Concordia baseball senior: Casey and the Cinderella Concordia squad culminated the greatest season in program history with a 9-3 victory over Lubbock Christian on Friday night in Lewiston, Ida. in the championship game of the NAIA World Series in front of reported 3,075 fans.

"Everybody thought we couldn't do this," said Casey of his Eagles squad, the only team in Idaho that was never ranked in the NAIA Top 25. "We beat every team. … We're the best team here."

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Casey sent a run-scoring single up the middle to score the ninth run of the game in the top of the ninth and the fifth run of the stanza, as the Eagles turned a close game into a blowout.

"It just started falling into place," said Casey of the game-clinching rally. "It's contagious."

For the game, the former GCC standout and La Crescenta product went one for three with a run, a run batted in, a stolen base and was hit by a pitch twice. He also had four assists playing flawlessly at third base.

Concordia, the ninth seed in the 10-team tournament finished its season at 44-19, winning a first-ever NAIA title in the process and becoming the first Golden State Athletic Conference squad to do so.

Casey began the Concordia offensive in the top of the third when he was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and eventually came around to score for a 1-0 lead. Lubbock answered right back with two runs to take the lead in the bottom of the inning.

He capped the Eagles' scoring in the five-run ninth when he singled up the middle to drive in the final run of a magical season.

"It's amazing," said Casey of winning the championship. "I can't even explain it."

Lonnie Kauppila (Crescenta Valley High, 2009) Stanford baseball freshman: The former two-time All-Area Baseball Player of the Year made a magnificent NCAA postseason debut on Friday against Kansas State.

Kauppila went four for five with two runs, two runs batted in and a stolen base in the Cardinal's 10-3 win over the Cougars in the opening game of the Fullerton Regional.

The Cardinal (33-20) will now face the winner of the Illinois-Fullerton game in a winner's bracket game at 8 p.m. today.

Kauppila, who transferred to Burbank High after his sophomore season, is now hitting .327 with a .360 on-base percentage.

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