Leopards make return trip to JUCO

It took longer than planned, but Temple (Texas) College is returning to the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, the Leopards won the Southwestern District by defeating McLennan Community College 6-5 in 13 innings.

In a game that lasted more than four hours, Leopards catcher Collin Janssen broke five scoreless innings in the 13th by lacing a walk-off solo home run off McLennan’s Ryan Turner.

Janssen went 3 for 3 and hit a home run in each of the Leopards’ three games against McLennan.

Temple forced Thursday’s championship game by defeating the Highlanders 10-9 on Wednesday.

McLennan took a 5-1 lead, putting up two runs in the top of the seventh inning. Temple responded in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs, including a solo home run by Colten Booth and an RBI single by Stafford Brantley to tie the game at 5-5.

Temple, coached by former major league pitcher Craig McMurtry, returns to JUCO for the first time since 2006.

In 2006, the Leopards finished 1-2 and were eliminated on the third day of the tournament.

The first day of JUCO is May 29, and the Leopards square off with Faulkner (Ala.) State Community College at 3 p.m.

The Western District opened its much-anticipated tournament Thursday at Lamar Community College.

The Runnin’ Lopes defeated Central Arizona 8-5 in the first game and Southern Nevada, led by projected No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper, defeated Western Nebraska 9-8.

Harper helped propel the Coyotes with a two-run home run in his first at-bat.

Southern Nevada faces Lamar today at 2 p.m., with Western Nebraska and Central Arizona playing an elimination game at 11 a.m. The title game is Saturday.

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