Central Alabama brings JUCO field to five teams
Wynn Fletcher coaches the baseball team at Central Alabama Community College. He’s also the athletic director.
And he drives the team van.
More importantly, he’ll be making travel arrangements today for his baseball team to visit Grand Junction and play in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
The Trojans won the Southeastern District title with a 13-5 victory Thursday over Southern Union (Ala.) State Community College in Ozark, Ala.
“We’re on the van,” he said when he answered his cellphone Thursday evening. There was no chatter in the background, however. “Everybody’s crashing, I think.”
Fletcher said the tournament was physically and mentally taxing, although the Trojans made it through undefeated.
“To me it was both,” Fletcher said. “I didn’t sleep very well, and you’re nervous the whole time and you want everything to go the right way. Things have to line up for you, and it did. I couldn’t be happier with them; they played extremely hard.”
The Trojans scored four runs in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie and take control of the game. Zach Rinehart doubled home one run, and a ground ball, a hit batter and two more singles put Central Alabama up 8-4.
Ben Hall added a two-run home run in the ninth for Central Alabama (38-13), which plays the first game of the JUCO World Series against Palm Beach (Fla.) State College. First pitch is at 9 a.m. Saturday.
■ In the East Central District, Columbia State won the opening game 6-3 over Georgia Perimeter. Columbia State faces Walters State (Tenn.) College this morning to get to Saturday’s championship game.
The loser this morning plays Georgia Perimeter in an elimination game.
Middle Georgia College was the fourth team in the tournament, but it was disqualified Thursday morning because of an eligibility issue, according to the NJCAA office.
JUCO makes security changes
In an effort to get fans into the stadium quicker and to ensure their safety, some changes as to how fans enter the stadium have been made.
Bags and coolers will be checked for alcohol, which is not allowed at the stadium during the JUCO World Series, and any other banned items.
Fans are allowed to bring in their own food and beverages, and they may bring in a personal-sized cooler.
The increased security, JUCO Chairman Jamie Hamilton said, is for fan safety. Bags and coolers also will be checked at the north gate and at the entrance to the outfield bleachers.
The large gates to the left and right of the turnstiles at the south entrance will allow access into Suplizio Field.
Fans with general-admission tournament passes are asked to enter the gate to the left of the turnstiles, closer to the football field.
Fans with reserved seats and single-game ticket holders will enter to the right of the turnstiles, the main baseball entrance.
Signs will be posted at the stadium to help direct fans to the correct gates.
Gates open 90 minutes before the first game each day.