JUCO 2009: Notes May 24, 2009

Weather is the main attraction on Day 1

The weather played tricks on the fans during the first day of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

Temperatures started out cool, with fans donning jackets, sweatshirts and long pants.

Then things warmed up, both on the field and on the temperature gauge.

After an 11-inning game that produced only seven runs under overcast skies, 22 runs were scored in only six innings of Game 2.

Then the weather took center stage, with a quick temperature drop, followed by rain and a 70-minute rain delay.

Play was halted in the seventh inning, and two minutes after stopping play, the grounds crew had the tarp on the field.

After about a half-hour, the rain subsided and the grounds crew started the grueling process of removing hundreds of gallons of water from the tarp.

Brooms, rollers and squeegies funneled the water into the drain by the first-base coaching box, and after wrestling the tarp back into place along the third-base line,

The field was prepped again and play resumed, with Cowley County (Kan.) Community College defeating Seminole State (Okla.) College 11-8.

Walk-offs: The game-winning home run by Runey Davis of Howard (Texas) College was the first walk-off shot since Grayson’s Michael Reed hit a home run to end Game 13 of the 2008 World
Series against Alvin (Texas) Community College.

Extra-inning rarity: No game last year went extra innings. In 2007, Shelton State beat Iowa Western in 10 innings. The 11 innings played Saturday were the most since 2004, when Dixie State (Utah) College and San Jacinto (Texas) College-North went 11 innings. Saturday’s game was the 34th extra-inning game in JUCO history.

Good enough to stay: The Game 1 attendance was announced at 6,889 and no one left early, since the game was tied 3-3 from the fifth inning until Davis’ home run in the 11th.

Don’t I know you? Shelton State and Iowa Western have become familiar each other, playing in three straight JUCO World Series’ against one another. Shelton State has won all three matchups, winning 10-9 in 10 innings in 2007, 10-2 in 2008 and now 16-6 in six innings Saturday.

Shout-out to the Mavs: The loudest the crowd got during Game 2 was when Mesa State’s 7-2 victory over Belmont Abbey in the Division II World Series was announced. The score was announced periodically, and each time the Mavs’ score was read, cheers grew louder.

Three for three: David Kindred, Matt Kirkwood and Dustin Dunn each collected 3 RBI and went a combined 9 for 11 for Shelton State.

Big-score Bucs: Shelton has won three of its past four games JUCO World Series games by the run rule. The Buccaneers were the last team to win by run rule, winning 11-0 in game 16 of the 2008 World Series.

Searching for a title: Seminole State has the most appearances in the JUCO World Series without a title, 15. San Jacinto is in its 17th JUCO tournament and has won the most titles of any program, five.

Rematch: In February, Seminole and Cowley faced off in Oklahoma. The Trojans beat the Tigers 7-3. In the rematch, the Tigers outscored the Trojans 11-8. The schools are only about two hours away from one another, and were supposed to play in the final regular-season game, but it was rained out.

Announce my presence with authority: Ronald Melendez of Cowley County led of the bottom of the first with a home run, the first leadoff home run of the 2009 JUCO World Series.

JUCO late-night: With Game 1 going 11 innings and Game 3 bogged down by a 70-minute rain delay, the final game of the Day 1, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., didn’t start until 9 p.m.

The crowd gave the grounds crew a big hand for its effort in getting the game started.
Let’s get it started: Santa Fe scored one run in the first inning but left the bases loaded in Game 4.

Middle Georgia came back in the bottom half of the first to score three runs on three hits. The Warriors’ Shawn Payne, who hit a three-run home run, did the damage.

Standing tall: Middle Georgia pitcher Blaine O’Brien is listed at 6 feet, 6 inches, one of four players who share being the tallest players at the tournament. Santa Fe starter Bobby Bolling is 6-4.
Random Stats

Number of the Day (9): There are nine players from foreign countries playing in this year’s World Series. Seven are from Canada, one from New Zealand, one from Mexico.

Nine-9-9: Howard (Texas) College’s Caleb Nine wears jersey No. 9 and plays right field, position 9 on the scorecard. He does not, however, hit ninth in the lineup — he hits sixth.

Ugly stat of the day: Howard and Western Nevada combined to commit eight errors.

Pitch of the day: Closer Trevor Rosenthal of Cowley County clocked 93 mph in Game 3. It was a strike.

Attendance: The late start and rainy weather hurt the gate Saturday night, with only 2,223 sticking around for Game 4. The first day’s attendance was 19,875, with 6,889 showing up early for Game
1 between top-ranked Howard College and Western Nevada.


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