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Barna powers Eagles into superregionals

Steve Yingling, Tribune Sports Editor

Lambuth College wasn’t given the opportunity to make up a pair of rained out games against Cumberland, Tenn., denying the Eagles a chance to win the Mid-South Conference baseball title.

The Eagles didn’t forget that one-game deficit in conference play and took it out on Cumberland in the Mid-South and Trans-South regional last weekend in Lebanon, Tenn. Behind junior catcher Chris Barna’s pair of home runs Lambuth eliminated Cumberland 17-5 on Saturday and then won the regional on a dramatic homer Sunday.

“That was awesome, especially since they didn’t want to play us for the conference title,” said Barna, a former catcher for South Tahoe High. “To send them home on their home field was just great.”

The victories propelled the Eagles into the NAIA Super Regional, which begins Thursday in Jackson, Tenn. Lambuth plays Spalding, Ohio, in a three-game series, with the winner advancing to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.

Barna, a second-team all-Mid-South Conference catcher, has hit five home runs in postseason play. His pair of homers against Cumberland were solo and three-run shots.

“I don’t know what it is. I’m just seeing the ball well,” said Barna, who hit .350 with two homers during the regular season. “I keep telling people I’m getting lucky right now.”

In Sunday’s final against Lyon, Ark., Lambuth’s Robin Arnold hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning for a regional-clinching 9-8 victory.

“It was a wall scraper,” Barna said. “The team was standing on the top step of the dugout and everyone was blowing and yelling at it to get out of the park.”

After Arnold touched home plate, Barna and the rest of the Eagles dog-piled to celebrate the regional title.

“It was probably one of greatest feelings in the world,” Barna said. “We’re finally playing up to our potential. We knew going through the year that we were a great team and we’re finally believing in ourselves.”


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