Gordon outslugs Jefferson to move on
Every year during the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, there’s at least one game with ridiculous numbers.
That game was Tuesday night.
Only one position player in the starting lineup didn’t cross the plate at least once in Gordon (Ga.) College’s wild 20-13 victory over Jefferson (Mo.) College.
“A lot of teams, I think, and in the past we’ve been the same way, had three or four guys produce most of the offense,” Gordon coach Travis McClanahan said. “But this team spreads it out across the board. That’s why it’s a little tough for pitchers sometimes because there’s another guy coming in there.
“There’s not a lot of game adjustment going on. They understand the flow of the game. There’s some ballgames it’s going to be 20-13, some are going to be 2-1. These guys are good baseball players that know the game. They get a feel for the game and go with it.”
Jefferson leadoff man Sage Boehner got on base twice but was stranded at third in the fifth and sixth innings. He was the only one not to score a run.
The teams combined for 31 hits.
“It’s like nobody thinks they’ll get out when they go to the plate,” said Grant Massey, Gordon’s No. 9 hitter who went 2 for 4 and scored three runs. “They were the same way, too; whoever out-hits each other.
“Hitting is contagious, man. It’s fun when everybody’s hitting. You go up there thinking I’m going to hit the crap out of it, too.”
Fifteen men struck out.
Every player for Gordon was walked or hit by a pitch.
Twenty walks were issued (none intentionally), 14 by the half-dozen Jefferson pitchers used.
Eight of the nine starters for each team had at least one hit.
Nine pitchers ended up taking the mound, three for Gordon, six for Jefferson.
Seven doubles, one triple and three home runs were hit.
And not one of those numbers was a tournament record.
“It’s baseball, you know. The atmosphere out here tonight was fantastic,” said Jefferson first baseman Fred Ford, who put on quite a show himself with two home runs and a wall-rattling double.
“This is why you play the game. This is why you go to the next level to junior college ball, to play in places like this. … I had fun playing in the game, and I enjoyed the game. It wasn’t the cleanest game we wanted to play, but we’ll come back ready to fight tomorrow.”
When it was 4-2 after the first inning and 6-3 after the second, you weren’t sure if it was going to be one of those “last team to put up a big number” games or if it would settle in after the quick start.
“It was gorilla ball at its finest,” Jefferson coach Sam Carel said. “And at the end they put up a seven-spot in the sixth, and that ended up being the difference in the game. Our guys kept coming out and competing, our guys on the mound competed, everybody competed. It happens in gorilla ball. Sometimes you come out on the short end.”
That last big number was the seven runs the Highlanders (38-23) put up in the bottom of the sixth inning on only two hits.
The two hits, though, were key. Drew Adams hit a bases-loaded single to bring home two runs, and Jody Stone followed with a line-drive home run just inside the foul pole in left for three more runs.
“I’ve never played in a game like that before. It was pretty awesome,” he said.
“He threw me two balls, and I had a real good feeling he was going to throw me a fastball. I didn’t know where it was going to be, so I was just kind of looking for a fastball in the zone, and I saw it and just swung and squared it up, and thank God it stayed fair.”
Two more runs were walked home. The seven-spot gave Gordon a 19-13 lead, and the Highlanders, who play San Jacinto (Texas) College-North at 7:30 tonight in the winners’ bracket, added one more run in the seventh.
Jefferson (53-11) plays to stay in the tournament at 3 today against Shelton State (Ala.) Community College.
For awhile, it looked as if Jefferson would be the team that had the last big number, with two five-run innings, the fourth and sixth.
However, every time the Vikings put up that big number, Gordon answered.
With five teams left in the field, Ford still believes the Vikings have a shot.
“You just kinda sit back, and what’s done is done,” he said. “You control the things you can control. And we sit back and say, ‘So what?’ It’s not the first time we’ve been on the brink of elimination for our season, and we’ll come back strong. I’m not worried about that. We’ve got a great group of guys.”