JUCO Notebook: 1st-base seats popular at night games

Alpine Bank Junior College World Series Tournament Chairman Jamie Hamilton said ticket sales for the Lincoln Park Tower seats, the new, box-seat section along the first-base line at Suplizio Field, exceeded expectations for night games. All 987 tower seats were sold out for Saturday night’s JUCO World Series championship game, Hamilton said.

Some were glad they did not have to arrive at the ballpark at 4:30 p.m. to reserve the seats, Hamilton said.

“Some people think (the seats) are just for corporate dollars,” Hamilton said. “But we always kept the $35 season passes for adults and $25 for students.”

But the afternoon games did not sell so well.

“On Tuesday and Wednesday, they start working,” Hamilton said.

Some concerns about the tower seating came from large parties who could not find available and adjacent seats. Instead, for example, they would simply find an open section on the third-base side, Hamilton said.

“There are still 6,000 available,” Hamilton said. “They might not be where they’re used to sitting, but they still have good views of the baseball field.”

Hamilton said the thank-you cards and emails have offset any complaints about the tower seating.

And what about so much change? Hamilton said he tells those who complain of stadium changes that it simply is progress.

General admission, walk-in tickets were $10. For tower-seat walk-ins, the cost was an additional $5 for night games and $4 for day games.

Hamilton said it seems the allure of the tower seating section was not necessarily the drink holders or comfortable seating.

“It’s the ambiance,” he said. “It’s the feel. People just say, ‘Wow.’ “

Happy 75th, NJCAA: In the home plate area, in the dirt behind the catchers, the city grounds crew put the “NJCAA” and “75,” to mark the 75th anniversary of the NJCAA, 1938 to 2013. The grounds crew used lighter-colored dirt to make it stand out.

Unexpected power: Jarred Fancher’s solo home run with one out in the bottom of the second inning Saturday night was his third of the tournament and pulled San Jacinto (Texas) College North into a 2-2 tie with Iowa Western Community College.

The power surge must have been a pleasant surprise for Gators fans. Entering the tournament, Fancher had not hit a home run this season, despite playing in 47 of San Jac’s 60 games and collecting 131 at-bats. He had only two doubles and seven RBI and a .198 average.

He finished the World Series with the three home runs and five RBI in six games.

Don’t pitch him inside: When Iowa Western shortstop Brandon Tierney was hit by a pitch in the second inning, it marked the fifth time he reached base in the tourney as a hit batsman.

Three bags at a time: There were 18 triples and 33 sacrifice bunts in this year’s JUCO World Series. The triples are the most since 2004, and the sacrifices are the most since 2006.

Stellar defense: The 55 errors in this tournament were the second fewest in the past nine years. The official JUCO website’s numbers go back as far as 2004.

There were 53 errors in the 2008 season.

T in Texas is for titles: Prior to this year, three of the previous four national champions came from Texas. Navarro College won the national title in 2011. Howard College won it in 2009. Grayson County won it in 2008. The one team to win the national title in the past four years that wasn’t from Texas was Iowa Western.

Going the distance: The last time the JUCO World Series ended with Game 18 on Friday night was 2009 when Howard (Texas) College defeated Santa Fe (Fla.) College for the national title.

Local draws home-plate duty: All six umpires from the tournament crew worked the championship game, with Grand Junction umpire Pancho Flores working behind home plate.

Third ejection: San Jac designated hitter Kyle Chaskin thought he had just drawn a walk on a full count with one out in the sixth inning, so he tossed his bat gently toward the Gators dugout and started toward first base. He turned around when he heard Flores call it strike three, and as he passed Flores on the way back to his dugout, Chaskin earned an ejection.

The only other ejections were one player and a coach from Shelton State (Ala.) Community College in its elimination game Thursday against San Jac.

You won’t see them: Neosho County (Kan.) Community College coach Steve Murry wasn’t kidding when he said he loved the camouflage-style jerseys Iowa Western wore against his club in an elimination game.

Murry posted on Twitter, @SteveMurry44, his team has six camouflage styles to vote on. The color combinations use Neosho’s orange and black and work in gray and white.

Attendance: The attendance for the championship game was 9,812, the second largest crowd of the tournament, trailing only the night game on Memorial Day (10,435).

It brought the final, eight-day, 19-game total to 106,238.

The tournament record is 137,920, set in 19 games in 2010.


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