By Jason Brassell
There are 10 teams total from across the nation that make the JUCO World Series, proving that even making it to Colorado is an impressive accomplishment. Winning a game in the series is a much bigger deal. Getting the win by scoring 20 runs in seven innings shows that a team is serious about winning it all.
Scoring 20 runs in a game is exactly what CVCC did on Saturday against New Mexico Junior College. The Pirates’ bats caught fire in Grand Junction, as the fourth inning of the game was the only inning that CVCC didn’t get a run across home plate. Almost every single batter in the lineup had at least one hit, one run scored, and one RBI. The outlier was third baseman Tyler Daughtry, who showed patience at the plate by walking three times. The Pirates racked up 18 hits in the game, with two of those hits being doubles, one triple, and two home runs.
The Pirates were able to build a 8-0 lead, scoring four runs in the first inning and four runs in the second inning. The Thunderbirds were able to come thundering back with six runs in the top of the third, with the Pirates adding one run in the bottom of that same inning. The fourth inning was scoreless for both teams, while CVCC was able to add two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. The sixth inning saw New Mexico putting up one run, with CVCC continuing their hit parade and scoring four more runs.
Leading 15-7 going into the seventh inning, the Thunderbirds needed to put some runs on the board to keep the game from being called early. They did just that, scoring five runs to close the gap to 15-12. The Pirates answered with five runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh to end the game by a score of 20-12 and advancing to the next round.
Kyle Ledford led the Pirates at the plate, going 4-for-6 with three runs scored and four RBI. Davis Schwartz, one of the heroes of the ACCC championship game, continued his hot streak by going 3-for-5 with four runs scored and one RBI. Austin Zeitler was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI. He had one of the two home runs for the Pirates. JoJo Odachowski, who was also 2-for-4, had the other homer. Designated hitter Andrew Greckel was 2-for-3 with two walks, three runs scored, and one RBI.
The win sent the Pirates to the next round to face off with Central Arizona, who went into the World Series with a 45-19 record. The Vaqueros defeated Monroe College 12-4 in their opening game.
The beginning of the game looked a lot like the first game for CVCC, as they held Central Arizona scoreless in the top of the first inning before scoring two runs in the bottom. Schwartz led the game off with a single to center field before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Greckel. Ledford then reached base on a throwing error that allowed him to make it to second, with Schwartz scoring the first run of the game. Ledford advanced to third on a wild pitch before Zeitler singled him in for the second run. Unfortunately, that was the only runs the Pirates scored in the game. The Vaqueros were able to put 10 runs on the board to end the game in seven innings.
The loss sent CVCC to face Connors State in an elimination game Tuesday. The Cowboys went into the tournament with a 48-11 record.