JUCO 2009: Notes May 27, 2009

San Jacinto starter jacob cowan struck out Santa Fe’s first seven batters Tuesday night at Suplizio Field.



JUCO Scholarships awarded Tuesday

• Alpine Bank of Grand Junction President Norm Franke handed out checks Tuesday night to four high school baseball players, and he’ll get the other one to a college player when he returns from another World Series.
The annual JUCO Scholarships were awarded before Tuesday night’s game, with Fruita Monument’s Rex Clemons, Central’s Travis Key, Palisade’s Jake Appling and Grand Junction’s Zeph Quigley honored.
Mesa State pitcher Chris Shea will receive a scholarship check for next season, but he and the Mavericks are in Cary, N.C., for the NCAA Division II World Series. Shea, in fact, is one of two pitchers coach Chris Hanks is considering pitching today in an elimination game against Belmont Abbey.

LEADING THE WAY

• Marty Gantt is a college baseball rarity.
When he isn’t pitching, the Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College freshman plays right field and is one of the Pioneers’ leading hitters.
Tuesday was the left-hander’s turn on the pitching mound.
It’s not often that a team’s starting pitcher is also its leadoff hitter, but Gantt pulled off the feat, as he has all year, by pitching into the sixth inning, scattering 11 hits and giving up six runs, three earned. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
Gantt remained in the batting lineup as the designated hitter after he was relieved two batters into the sixth. Offensively, he was 1 for 4 and scored two runs.

WHAT, NO RAIN?

• Game 11 on Tuesday was the first one involving Cowley County that did not include a lengthy rain delay. On Saturday, the Tigers were playing Seminole State when the rains came, halting play for 70 minutes. Monday, there was a 90-minute rain delay during the Cowley County-Santa Fe game.

HELMET HEADS

• As in Major League Baseball and NCAA baseball, the NJCAA adopted a helmet policy for coaches who are on the field. The death of Mike Coolbaugh, a minor-league coach for Tulsa in the Colorado Rockies farm system, prompted college and pro baseball to require their base coaches to be helmeted.

DELAY NO. 4

• A brief rainburst halted play for eight minutes during Game 12, the fourth rain delay in as many days. The pitcher’s mound and home plate were covered until the rain subsided, and after some quick grooming, play resumed.

HAPPY HITTERS

• Western Nevada, which plays in a wood bat league, is enjoying swinging metal bats this week. The rain all week has helped keep the ball in the park at hitter-friendly Suplizio Field, which has played into the Wildcats’ philosophy of getting runners on, moving them over and driving them in.
“Oh, man, it’s quite a change,” said shortstop Daniel Zylstra, who was 3 for 4, scored four runs and drove in one Tuesday. “Offensively you really like it. You don’t have to do near as much as you can hit it a long ways and hit it hard.”

WHO’S THE GUY BEHIND THE PLATE?

•  Shelton State (Ala.) made a change at catcher Tuesday, inserting No. 13 … who isn’t on the official roster. It seems that Carl Hanson either lost or forgot his uniform (No. 5), so he donned No. 13. It took a call from the pressbox to the commissioner’s box, and a trip across the diamond by Darren Starr to confirm the identity of the catcher.

SCORING CONFUSION

• In the same game, the ninth inning got a little confusing when Shelton State pitcher Brett Whitaker, who started the game at first base, was replaced by Blake Mechaw. However, Whitaker was scheduled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and did, drawing a walk. When Whitaker moved from first to the mound, he was replaced defensively by Logan Pierce. Offensively, Pierce replaced designated hitter Matt Kirkwood in the No. 6 spot in the lineup. The only way Whitaker could have remained in the game to hit in the ninth was if he returned to first base and Machaw batted in the spot vacated by Pierce. However, Pierce hit third in the ining, flying out to center. No one on the field caught the error.

KKKKKKK

• The first seven Santa Fe outs recorded Tuesday night by San Jacinto starting pitcher Jacob Cowan were by strikeouts. He also pitched in Sunday’s win against Spartanburg, striking out two in 11/3 innings.

TOURNAMENT ATTENDANCE

Game 1: 3,069

Game 2: 2,986

Game 3: 8,812

Day 4 Total: 14,867

Tournament Total: 73,963


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