Champions again! Army Baseball wins sixth consecutive Patriot League Championship

By Army Athletic Communications Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2024 Time: 16:09 EST
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WEST POINT, N.Y. – Make it six in a row.

Army West Point Baseball defeated archrival Navy May 20 at Doubleday Field to win its sixth consecutive Patriot League Tournament Championship with a 3-0 victory in Game 2 of the best-of-three series.

"It's not set up to do this," said head coach Chris Tracz on the program winning a sixth consecutive championship. "It's a new team. We had to fight through a lot of stuff. But I'm really proud of them.

"As the year goes on, and you get closer and closer as a team, the adversity, the time on the bus, the wins and losses bonds the team together," he added.

Matthew Ronnebaum pitched eight shutout innings and struck out nine batters. He tied his existing career-highs in both categories, previously set at Navy last season in a regular season game April 23. 

"I couldn't have done it without the guys behind me today," Ronnebaum said. "Emotions were high today. Myself, [catcher] Derek Berg and [pitching coach] John Sheehan had a plan from before the game, [and] things were working."

"We've been working for this all year," Chris Barr said. "It's always sweet to dog pile on our field with all these guys who have worked all year."

Having taken Game 1 of the best-of-three series Sunday, the Black Knights needed just two hits Monday to secure the conference title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Tanner Gresham worked around a pair of baserunners in the ninth inning to record his first save of the season, in what was his fourth appearance back from Tommy John Surgery. 

"[When I took the mound] there were a lot of things going through my head," Gresham said. "That last out is still replaying in my mind right now. I didn't just do it for myself, I did it for all of my teammates. It's unbelievable."

"[Gresham] is one of the hardest-working guys on this team. Seeing the success he's had after coming back from Tommy John is amazing," Ronnebaum said.

Barr had both hits for Army on Monday. 

After Addison Ainsworth and Thomas Schreck walked in the third inning, Ainsworth scored on a wild pitch before Barr drove in Schreck and Berg with an RBI single.

Tracz led the club to its second title in his two-year tenure at West Point. 

Army won the tournament title after claiming the regular season crown two weeks ago, with a 16-8 Patriot League regular season record. The Black Knights will take a 31-21 overall record to the NCAA Tournament. 

By the Numbers

6: Army's run of six consecutive conference tournament championships is the longest active streak in the country across all leagues. 

13: The Black Knights won their 13th Patriot League Tournament title, most in conference's history. 

15: Ronnebaum retired 15 straight batters from the first into the sixth innings. 

5: Navy had just five total baserunners Monday. 

Black Knight Notes

Army extended its lead in the all-time series vs. Navy to 133-131 Monday after breaking a stalemate in Sunday's Game 1 win. 

The Black Knights finished 5-2 on the year against Navy and 6-2 against service academy rivals, having defeated Air Force March 2. Army secured the Baseball Star over Navy with a three-game series win at West Point April 26-28.

The program is 14-3 in its past 17 games against Navy. Army has also won 17 of its past 21 games over Navy and Air Force. 

Army's shutout win was its fourth of the year and second against Navy.

Ronnebaum wins Tournament MVP, Four Named to All-Tournament Team

Ronnebaum was named Patriot League Tournament MVP and also secured a spot on the All-Tournament team. 

Additionally, Barr, William Parker and Steven Graver were selected to the All-Tournament Team.

2024 Patriot League Baseball All-Tournament Team

Matthew Ronnebaum, Army West Point, Sr., RHP - Most Valuable Player 
Chris Barr, Army West Point, So., 2B
William Parker, Army West Point, So., LF
Steven Graver, Army West Point, Sr., RHP
Eduardo Diaz, Navy, Sr., SS
Brady Bendik, Navy, Fr., RHP
Landon Kruer, Navy, Jr., RHP
Nick Harnisch, Holy Cross, Fr., RHP
Van Coughlin, Holy Cross, Fr., C
Tyler O'Neill, Bucknell, Jr., RHP
Grant Voytovich, Bucknell, Sr., OF

Next Up

The Black Knights now await its NCAA Regional destination. The selection show will be Monday, May 27, at noon, with Regionals set for Friday, May 31 through Monday, June 3.