Coleson Titus started the season as Army’s bullpen catcher but he never stopped working.
Titus maximized his practice at-bats and took advantage of any extra hitting with coaches on off days.
Eventually, the sophomore would earn his way into Army’s lineup in March by doing the little things – bunting, walking and extending counts.
“The coaches put a lot of trust in me to continue to grow,” Titus said Sunday. “As I’ve gotten more at-bats, I’ve seen it a little better each time and I think now all of the work is really coming through.”
All of the work was for moments like Sunday. Army, the four-time defending Patriot League champion, had dug itself a hole, falling to Lafayette 7-5 in the opener of the best-of-series Saturday and trailing 3-0 through 4½ innings of a must-win Game 2.
The Black Knights’ bats awoke in the fifth inning. Derek Berg started the seven-run rally with a 2-run home run. After Ross Friedrick’s fielder’s choice tied the game, Titus, who hit two solo home runs in Game 1, stepped to the plate. Titus blasted a 3-run shot over the left-field fence to Cullum Hall to give Army the lead for good in a 15-6 win.
Robbie Buecker held Lafayette to one hit and one run over seven innings to lead the Black Knights to a 5-1 victory in Game 3 and advance to their sixth straight Patriot championship series. Titus added a two-run single in the clincher.
“I think it starts with staying simple,” said Titus of his go-ahead Game 2 homer. “We got Chris Barr on first base and then Derek Berg did his thing and hit a home run and then it’s just tacking on and passing the stick. It’s something we do really well and it’s something that makes our offense really good at times. I think trying to stay within that is going to propel us through the championship.”
If Titus can continue his hot hitting into next weekend’s Patriot best-of-3 championship against Bucknell, the Black Knights (36-16) will be hard to dethrone. Titus batted 6-for-13 with three home runs and seven RBI in the three games against Lafayette. He entered the weekend with 12 RBI on the season.
“I’m in the middle of the order and I’m there to do my job,” said Titus, who hits sixth in Army’s lineup. “I’m there to pass the stick along and maybe get something going if that’s the position I’m in. But really, it’s about doing the little things and it’s all motivated by the seniors and what they have done for us and how they have led us this far.”
Army’s senior class, led by Patriot League player of the year Kevin Debrule, Friedrick and Buecker have one more series after Army’s sweep Sunday. And, one more chance for another Patriot League title and NCAA Division I tournament opportunity.
“I think the first game (of the Lafayette series) we tried to let it happen instead of willing it and really working at it,” Titus said. “I think we can keep this energy going and the love for our seniors.”