Offense, pitching help Jefferson (Mo.) rout Cisco

Offense, pitching help Jefferson (Mo.) rout Cisco

Jefferson (Mo.) College’s Sage Boehner dives safely back safe into first base on a pickoff attempt by Cisco (Texas) College’s Alvaro Moreno during the first inning of the Vikings’ 11-3 victory Saturday night in Game 4 of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series at Suplizio Field.

Jefferson (Mo.) College pitcher Dalton Friend delivers Saturday night during the Vikings’ victory at Suplizio Field.

The umpire ending up on his backside notwithstanding, the Jefferson (Mo.) College baseball team played Saturday night like a team intent on hanging around much, much longer than a year ago.

The heart of the Vikings’ order scored eight of its 11 runs in an 11-3 win over Cisco (Texas) College in the final game of a wind-blown opening day of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

Toss in the hard-throwing left-hander, Dalton Friend, who watched from the dugout last season as the Vikings went 0-2, and from the third inning on, Jefferson was in complete control.

“I think that’s the best assessment for what our guys did,” Jefferson coach Sam Carel said of how relaxed his club played. “We prepared relaxed all week, and we continued to do that out there.

“(Friend) helps make everyone relax, let’s be honest. He struggled in the second and then settled in nicely and cruised to victory for us.”

Not lost on Friend, who had shoulder surgery a month before last year’s JUCO World Series, was the significance of Saturday night’s game.

“First win in school history at the World Series,” he said with a grin.

Brendon Neel, who hits second for Jefferson, hit a solo home run in the third inning, sprinting around the bases like he was stretching a single into a double, and tripled and scored in the eighth. Jefferson, ranked second in the nation, had 15 hits, including four doubles, two triples and a home run.

“Brett Wiley and Fred Ford hit over .400 all year, me and (Tyler) Hibbert, he’s hurt, but Daniel Murphy, all of us have hit over .350 all year. We just keep on driving in runs,” Neel said.

And about that home run sprint?

“When I hit it, I didn’t know if it was high enough to go out,” he said. “I’ve always been told if you hit a home run, you still run around the bases, so that’s what I did.”

After Jefferson kept scoring runs in bunches, putting up three runs in the top of the ninth, Friend came back out to try to finish the game. He was throwing as hard as he was early but had lost some of his command, loading the bases on a base hit, a walk and a hit batter. Out came Carel, and Friend wasn’t all that happy to be relieved.

“In the dugout, my pitching coach came over to me and said if we have a long offensive inning, we’re going to put (Brad Lombard) in for you,” said the 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher, who allowed five hits, walked three and struck out seven.

“I said, ‘No you’re not, this is my game. I didn’t get to experience this last year.’ I had only thrown 105 pitches and had plenty of bullets left in the gun. I think I sat in there and thought about it too much and was too amped up.”

Jefferson (52-10) answered Cisco’s three-run second inning with three runs of its own in the top of the third to take a 4-1 lead on Neel’s one-out home run, a double by Wiley and a base hit and error by Ford, who scored on a sacrifice fly by Murphy.

“We’ve been hot the last couple of months,” Wiley said. “If one guy’s struggling, the next guy picks him up. Even the bottom of the order is producing runs.”

Cisco used four pitchers to try to stay in the game, and the Wranglers (47-14) were in it until a three-run seventh inning that included home plate umpire Charles McElroy getting tangled up with Cisco catcher Cameron Massengill on Jevon Jacobs’ base hit to right.

Kyle Leslie came around from second to try to score, but appeared to slide well short of the plate as Massengill applied the tag. McElroy, scrambling to get to his feet, called the runner safe, prompting Cisco coach David White to come sprinting out of the dugout.

After Brett Peel walked, Sage Boehner flied out, but the Vikings had a 7-3 lead, added one in the eighth and three more in the ninth.

Wiley, hitting third, doubled twice and scored both times, cleanup man Ford went 2 for 5 and scored twice, and Murphy and Leslie, who hit fifth and sixth, respectively, each scored one run.

The Vikings spent part of the day at Allen Unique Autos, set up by their team host, trying to stay busy since they had the entire day to wait to play.

“Our host family had a nice lunch for us at that car place, and that was really neat,” Neel said. “The food was amazing. We went back to the hotel and sat around for about three hours listening to music. Longest three hours of my life.”

But it apparently helped them relax.

“We brought back a sophomore core of guys,” Neel said. “Last year I felt we were just satisfied to get here. We’re intent on winning this thing.”


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