Pitcher Miguel Trota Salud, a 22-year-old college senior, led the California Lutheran University (CLU) Kingsmen to their first Division III World Series championship in the United States.
Salud was formerly a pitcher for the Blue Batters of Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
The NCAA championship season had been down to the two final games against the Washington and Jefferson College Presidents, but despite CLU’s lukewarm turnout during the first few games, the Kingsmen triumphed in the end.
The team had risen slowly but surely in the rankings, recovering from a 2-12 loss in Game One of the series. In his first season of play with CLU, Salud consistently closed the games. His stellar performance in the tournament earned him the title Most Outstanding Player. On this unexpected turn of events, Salud told Tiebreaker Times, “From the beginning, I did not even think that I will be closing out. I was just the first guy out of the pen. And when they told me that I would be the closer, I just took my approach and hit my spots. Every time I come out, the only thing I see is me and my catcher.”
A postgame interview further explains the team’s strategy. Watch it below:
Before his involvement with the Kingsmen, Salud already turned heads back home in the Philippines back in 2013 when he helped lead the Ateneo Blue Batters to victory against Adamson University during UAAP Season 75. As a rookie pitcher, he was a reliable standout and was awarded co-MVP with his hitter Matt Laurel. The Blue Batters made history that season by claiming their first UAAP championship and established Salud as one to watch.