13th-ranked Bobcats claim MACJC State Baseball Tournament championship
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2011-05-15 19:04:26
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College third baseman Chase Headrick said Sunday’s 11-6 MACJC State Baseball Tournament championship victory over the Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers reflected the 2011 campaign for the Bobcats.
“This game kind of sums up our season,” said Headrick, the third-year sophomore third baseman from West Jones who slugged two home runs and singled to help the Bobcats rally from a 3-0, first-inning deficit. “We started off the season slow and did not look very good. But we heated up and pulled it together and got rolling.
“That was the same thing we did today.”
The victory gives the 13th-ranked Bobcats their third state baseball championship in school history. The first one occurred in 1952 and the other one happened in 2002 when JCJC defeated Northwest in Senatobia.
The win improves JCJC to 38-14 on the year, which ties a school record for victories in a season, which was set last year.
It also gives JCJC a remarkable 112-42 record in three years under head coach Christian Ostrander.
After receiving the customary dumping of the water and ice cooler, Ostrander was quick to credit the Bobcat team.
“I tip my cap to these players,” he said. “From day one until right now – to get to where we have gotten – I just could not be more proud. They just came out and played with determination. We played three great ballgames against some great opponents.
“Northwest is a great team. We had to beat them twice and it was not easy to do.”
Northwest is now 31-19.
JCJC’s season is not done.
They will advance to the Region 23 Tournament Thursday through Saturday at Holmes Community College. JCJC, Northwest, Holmes and third-ranked LSU-Eunice will comprise the field. LSU-Eunice is the defending national champion and has won three of the past five NJCAA Division II Junior College World Series.
The winner of the regional will advance to the national tournament May 28-June 4 in Enid, Okla.
But first, the Bobcats had to take care of business before a packed house on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Community Bank Park.
The Rangers came out quickly and plated three runs on four hits in the first inning. Chad Wardlaw and Bradley Noland started the game with singles and Dex Herrington reached on a fielder’s choice. Josh Johnson then delivered a two-out, two-run double to right and Drew Griffin followed with a run-scoring single to give Northwest a 3-0 lead.
The Bobcats would then score at least once in the next five innings to take the lead.
Headrick started with a home run over the leftfield wall in the second to make it 3-1.
“I think the wind might have helped that one a bit,” he quipped.
JCJC then took advantage of an error to score two runs in the third and tie it up. Chad Guice led off with a single and Graham Odom sacrificed. But the Rangers threw the ball away at first, putting runners at second and third. Leadoff batter Zach Allen then hit a foul ball outside the leftfield line for a sacrifice fly to score Guice. Odom took third on the play. Ladd Rhodes’ groundout to deep second base scored Odom to make it 3-3.
The Bobcats would take the lead for good in the fourth.
Nick Ray was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Darion Hamilton followed with his first of three singles. Ryan Roberts would then single to score Ray to make it 4-3.
JCJC made it 6-3 in the fifth. Allen was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Rhodes singled to center. After the runners advanced on a groundout, Hamilton delivered a two-run single to right.
“The whole time we had the feeling that we were going to win this game,” said Rhodes, the sophomore centerfielder from Gulfport, who has signed with Southeastern Louisiana University. “It’s a great feeling to come out on top. Before the year, everybody’s goal was to win the state championship.
“It’s a great group and we’re happy to win it. It’s unbelievable. I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet.”
The Rangers got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Austin Overall led off the inning with a home run to left to make it 6-4.
But JCJC increased the lead to 8-4 in the sixth. Headrick led off the inning with a bomb off of the scoreboard in left. Roberts followed with a single and was replaced by courtesy runner Jarrett Jenkins. After a strikeout, Odom sacrificed Jenkins to second and Allen followed with an RBI single.
But Northwest would get those two runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Jeremy Carlisle led off with a walk and one-out later, Griffin blasted a two-run home run to left to make it 8-6.
JCJC got a run without a hit in the eighth when Roberts walked, Guice and Odom were hit by pitches and Allen walked to force in a run.
The Bobcats added two insurance runs in the ninth. With two outs, Hamilton and Headrick singled and both advanced on a wild pitch. Roberts then followed with a two-run single.
After starter Logan Riddell pitched six innings and reliever Ryan Waters threw two frames, the Bobcats turned to ace Andrew Pierce to get the final three outs. He retired Joseph Blair on a flyout to center, struck out Dylan Castoria and got Overall to foul out to Ray at first base.
A wild celebration, including a ‘Bobcat dogpile’ ensued on the pitcher’s mound as the team celebrated their third state championship.
Riddell, 9-4, grabbed the victory. He went six innings, allowed six runs (all earned), eight hits, walked two and struck out seven. Waters went two innings and gave up an infield hit. Pierce pitched a perfect ninth.
Headrick homered twice to give him three on the year and singled, while Hamilton singled three times and Roberts singled three times and drove in three runs. Allen singled and had three RBIs, while Rhodes and Guice added singles.
Griffin singled twice and homered for the Rangers, while Noland had three singles. Overall homered, Johnson doubled and Wardlaw singled.
Colt Burns, 5-2, started and took the loss. He gave up eight runs (four earned), eight hits, walked none and struck out two. Heath Kitchens pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowed one earned run and walked one. Jake Brigman pitched to one batter and walked him. Jeremy Massie went the final 1 2/3 innings, allowed two runs (both earned) and three hits.
The season continues on for the Bobcats.
Headrick is optimistic their outstanding year will continue.
“We break it down after every game with ‘family’ and that’s what I’m most proud of this year,” said Headrick. “The team kind of came together after the second time we played Baton Rouge (a 4-2 loss on March 22). We had a common goal after that.
“This is a big accomplishment for us, but we are not done by any means.”
All JCJC games in the regional tournament will be audiocast on www.jcjc.tv with Lance Pittman on the call.
Jones County 11, Northwest 6
Jones County (38-14) 012 122 012 – 11 12 0
Northwest (31-19) 300 012 000 – 6 9 2
Logan Riddell, Ryan Waters (7), Andrew Pierce (9) and Ryan Roberts. Colt Burns, Heath Kitchens (7), Jake Brigman (8), Jeremy Massie (8) and Joseph Blair. WP-Riddell (9-4). LP-Burns (5-2). JCJC hitters: Chase Headrick 2 HR, 1B; Darion Hamilton 3 1B; Ryan Roberts 3 1B; Zach Allen 1B; Ladd Rhodes 1B; Chad Guice 1B. Northwest hitters: Drew Griffin HR, 2 1B; Bradley Noland 3 1B; Austin Overall HR; Josh Johnson 2B; Chad Wardlaw 1B. T-2:38.
MACJC State Baseball Tournament
Jones County Junior College
Community Bank Park
Game 1, Holmes 8, Miss. Gulf Coast 5
Game 2, Jones County 7, Northwest 0
Game 3, Northwest 7, Miss. Gulf Coast 5
Game 4, Jones County 6, Holmes 1
Game 5, Northwest 9, Holmes 8
Game 6, Jones County 11, Northwest 6
JCJC wins MACJC State Tournament