No. 12 Bobcats shock No. 2 LSU-Eunice twice to reach World Series
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2011-05-22 03:07:44
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
GOODMAN – The Jones County Junior College Bobcats continue to reach milestones in an historic 2011 season.
The 12th-ranked Bobcats rallied from a 6-4 deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning by scoring four runs on just one hit and shocked the second-ranked and defending national champion LSU-Eunice Bengals 8-7 in the championship game of the Region 23 Tournament.
“These guys are just unbelievable,” said third-year JCJC head coach Christian Ostrander, who was named Region 23 Coach of the Year immediately after the game. He was named MACJC Coach of the Year earlier in the week. “Just the guts these guys have. They just play with heart and emotion.
“Just everybody out there did great.
The win puts JCJC in the NJCAA Division II Junior College World Series for the first time in school history.
The Bobcats will compete in the national tournament in Enid, Okla., on May 28-June 4. JCJC, the South representative, is scheduled to meet the winner of the North Plains region at 4 p.m. on May 28. Tournament information will be posted at www.njcaa.org.
The victory also gives the Bobcats a 42-15 record, a school-record for wins. LSU-Eunice, who had won the regional three straight times and five times in the past seven years, ends the season at 43-17.
Earlier in the day, the Bobcats had forced the second game with a 6-5 decision over the Bengals when Ladd Rhodes hit a two-run, walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning here at Charlie Donald Field on the campus of Holmes Community College.
“It was a storybook ending,” said Ostrander.
The two wins over LSU-Eunice capped an unforgettable 33 hours of baseball for the Bobcats.
After losing the tournament opener 5-4 to Holmes on Thursday, JCJC beat Northwest 6-0 in a game that started at 11 a.m. on Friday and beat Holmes 11-5 Friday night. That gave them the opportunity to play the Bengals on Saturday and they responded in remarkable fashion, wrapping up the second game around 8 p.m.
JCJC never led in either game until its final at-bat.
“That’s a great team over there we were playing,” Ostrander said. “All you can do when you are playing a team like that is to stick within striking distance and that’s what we were able to do in these two games.”
In Saturday’s nightcap, the Bobcats were down two runs entering the bottom of the eighth.
Graham Odom led off with a walk and Zach Allen popped out to short. Rhodes and Vito Perna drew walks to load the bases.
Nick Ray then hammered a single to right to score Odom and make it 6-5. Darion Hamilton’s groundout to second scored Rhodes and tied the game at 6-6.
Bengal reliever Tanner Olinde then threw a pitch in the dirt that catcher Stuart Turner blocked towards the LSU-Eunice third base dugout. Perna broke for home plate and the throw to Olinde covering was wild. Perna scored and Ray was able to score all the way from second base to make it 8-6.
But the Bengals did not go quietly in the top of the ninth.
Sam Carriere led off with a single, but Zac Hawkins followed with a bullet right at Headrick at third base. Headrick caught the ball and threw across the diamond to Ray at first base to double up Carriere.
Wet Delatte then slugged a home run over the rightfield wall to make it 8-7 and Hommy Rosado followed with a single. Jacque Fruge then walked to put the tying run at second.
But reliever Ryan Waters got Turner to hit a ground ball to Headrick. He fielded it cleanly, stepped on third base and the Bobcats began to celebrate.
The Bengals came out quickly after absorbing the tough loss just about 30 minutes earlier.
Matthew Richard led off with a single and Dalton Herrington promptly blasted a two-run homer to make it 2-0 in the top of the first.
But the Bobcats responded immediately.
Rhodes singled with one out and Perna launched his team-leading, seventh home run of the season to center to tie it at 2-2.
LSU-Eunice went up 4-2 in the third. Richard singled, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a groundout and scored on Delatte’s sacrifice fly. Rosado then smashed a solo home run.
But JCJC scored a run in the bottom of the third when Darion Hamilton walked with two outs and Headrick reached on an error. Ryan Roberts would then single to score Hamilton.
The Bengals then increased the lead to 6-3 in the fourth. Richard doubled, took third on a passed ball and scored on Herrington’s sacrifice fly to center. Carriere and Hawkins followed with singles and Delatte’s groundout scored Carriere.
Controversy struck in the bottom of the fourth.
Allen and Rhodes both singled. With two outs, Nick Ray came to the plate. Just as the pitch was being delivered, one of the umpires called a balk. Ray singled to left to drive in Allen from second.
LSU-Eunice appealed to the umpire that Allen had missed third. The umpire agreed and called Allen out. Ostrander protested and after a lengthy discussion, the umpires would not reverse the call and would not grant the balk call. The run came off the board and the Bobcats still trailed 6-3.
But JCJC would score a run in the fifth.
Hamilton walked and Headrick reached on a fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Chad Guice delivered a clutch, two-out double to score Headrick and make it 6-4.
That would set the stage for the heartstopping, final two innings of play.
Waters pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and got credit for the victory, improving his record to 4-2. He gave up one run, three hits and walked one.
Chase Stewart, the winning pitcher in the day’s earlier game, was outstanding in long relief for JCJC. He pitched five innings, gave up two runs, five hits, walked one and struck out one. He retired eight straight batters at one point.
Starter Josh Palmer went 2 2/3 innings, allowed four runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out one.
The Bobcats got a double and single from Guice, two singles each from Ray and Rhodes, a home run from Perna and a single each from Roberts and Allen.
The Bengals, who outhit the Bobcats 15-8, got three singles from Carriere, a home run and a single from Rosado and home runs from Herrington and Delatte. They got a double and single from Richard. Hawkins, Fruge and Truman Van Veckhoven had two singles each.
Jared Dye started, went 4 2/3 innings, allowed four runs (three earned), six hits, three walks and struck out two. Tyler Venable went 2 2/3 innings, gave up two runs, one hit and walked two. Tanner Olinde went the final 2/3 innings and took the loss. He gave up two runs, one hit and walked one. He falls to 3-1.
Jones County 8, LSU-Eunice 7
LSU-Eunice (43-17) 202 200 001 – 7 15 2
Jones County (42-15) 201 010 04x – 8 9 0
Jared Dye, Tyler Venable (5), Tanner Olinde (8) and Stuart Turner. Josh Palmer, Chase Stewart (3), Ryan Waters (7) and Ryan Roberts. WP-Waters (4-2). LP-Olinde (3-1). LSU-Eunice hitters: Hommy Rosadeo HR, 1B; Sam Carriere 3 1B; Matthew Richard 2B, 1B; Dalton Herrington HR; Zach Hawkins 2 1B; Wet Delatte HR; Jacque Fruge 2 1B; Truman Van Vickhoven 2 1B. JCJC hitters: Ladd Rhodes 2 1B; Chad Guice 2B, 1B; Nick Ray 2 1B; Vito Perna HR; Zach Allen 1B; Ryan Roberts 1B. T-2:40.
Region 23 Tournament
At Holmes Community College
Charlie Donald Field
Game 1, LSU-Eunice 2, Northwest 1
Game 2, Holmes 5, Jones County 4
Game 3, Jones County 6, Northwest 0
Game 4, LSU-Eunice 10, Holmes 6
Game 5, Jones County 11, Holmes 5
Game 6, Jones County 6, LSU-Eunice 5
Game 7, Jones County 8, LSU-Eunice 7
JCJC wins Region 23 Tournament and advances to NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Okla., on May 28-June 4.