Cochise a fan favorite

Scrappy Apaches impressing the masses

Cochise (Ariz.) College became something of a fan favorite during the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

Known at JUCO for speed and scrappy play, the Apaches have won over Grand Junction fans.

Fans also said they admired the error-free ball Cochise played through four games prior to Friday night’s 14-13 loss to Central Alabama Community College. Plenty of those defensive plays have been of the spectacular variety.

Grand Junction resident Charleen Kahre said the Apaches’ postseason run made them her favorite entering the tournament, and she’s caught every Cochise game at Suplizio Field.

“I got one of my degrees at Arizona State, and I know they’ve been away from home for a long time to finally get here,” Kahre said. “That endurance is admirable. They’re at least getting to see a lot of Colorado.

“There have been some outstanding outfielder plays. It was amazing when an outfielder caught the ball flipping over the bullpen (mound).”

Kahre has been attending the JUCO World Series since 1987 and said the Apaches’ 2-1 loss to Neosho County in the first round had her supporting Cochise.

“I enjoyed the 2-1 game, and it feels like it’s been a long time since there’s been a game like that,” she said. “They’re a fantastic defensive team. They run the bases well, too. They don’t have too many long hits, but they’re smart on the bases.”

Kent Pacheco of Grand Junction said that the “scrap” shown by Cochise led him to root for the Apaches.

“They chip away at you, like they have all tournament, and they stay in it,” Pacheco said. “It’s great to watch these young kids. They border us, they’re in our district, and they’re the closest thing we have to a home team.”

Colorado Mesa University baseball player Aaron Corwin said as a pitcher he’s admired Cochise’s pitching depth. He also pointed to Palm Beach’s hitting as a personal highlight for the tournament.

“There’s just been a lot of good baseball and timely hitting,” Corwin said. “The quality of these teams is great.

“If I had to pick one, I’d probably go with Arizona. I have a lot of family out there, but I’m more of a fan of good baseball.”

Five-year-old Monument Little Leaguer Jaden Burns picked Cochise at random, but said he enjoys all of the hits.

Liam Dinelli, 4, said Cochise was his pick because of its skill on the base paths.

“I like them because they’re fast,” Liam said. “I like hitting because of the running.”


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