Hutchinson, San Jacinto on way back to JUCO

Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College’s baseball team lost its first six games this season.

The Blue Dragons, though, have won six in a row, and those six wins vaulted them into the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

Top-ranked San Jacinto (Texas) College-North swept the Southern District tournament in Mt. Pleasant, defeating Blinn College 6-2 in the championship game.

The Gators (48-10) got two runs in the second, third and sixth innings to secure their 17th trip to Grand Junction.

Hutch came out of the losers’ bracket in the Region VI sub-regional last week to reach the district playoffs.

Once the Blue Dragons got to Wichita, they won their three games by a total of four runs. Two went extra innings, including Tuesday’s 8-6 win over Seward County in 12 innings to clinch Hutchinson’s second trip to the World Series. The Blue Dragons (37-22) qualified in 2005.

San Jacinto, seeking its first title since 1990 and sixth overall, beat Angelina 7-1 in the first round, then beat Navarro 14-8 and shut out Northeast Texas 9-0.

Hutchinson plays the first game of this year’s JUCO World Series, at 9 a.m. on May 29 against the East Central champion. Gordon (Ga.) College hosts Chattanooga (Tenn.) Community College in a best-of-three tournament starting Friday for that spot.

San Jacinto plays Game 2 at noon against Gulf District champion State College of Florida.

The other team that’s qualified, Faulkner (Ala.) State Community College, plays the Southwestern champion at 3 p.m. In that district tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, defending national champion Howard College was eliminated Tuesday in an 8-2 loss to Odessa.

McLennan Community College reached the championship game with a 4-2 victory Tuesday over Temple College. Odessa and Weatherford played in an elimination game late Tuesday night, with that winner facing Temple at noon today for the right to play McLennan at 4 p.m. for the JUCO berth.

In the prime time game the first day of JUCO, the Eastern champion, either Pitt (N.C.) Community College or Potomac State (W.Va.), plays the Western champion.

The four-team Western District tournament begins Thursday in Lamar and features Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada College, expected to be the No. 1 draft pick in the June draft. Central Arizona plays Lamar in the first game Thursday, with Western Nebraska facing Southern Nevada.

In the Northern District, Wasbash Valley (Ill.) and Kishwaukee (Ill.) play a three-team tournament this weekend at Iowa Western. That champion plays Sunday night against the South Central champion.

Crowder (Mo.) Community College won its regional title Tuesday 20-5 over Maple Woods (Mo.) College and travels to Wilburton, Okla., playing Delgado (La.) Community College and Eastern Oklahoma starting Thursday.


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