JUCO Notes: May 25, 2009
Trojan’s Chester plays through the pain
• David Chester wasn’t about to miss his chance to play in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
The towering Seminole State first baseman ended his tournament drawing some of the largest “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd for his hard-line drives.
Chester, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, went 4 for 8 with three RBI in Seminole’s two games, all with a severely injured hamstring.
Chester injured his left leg in the final game of the South Central District tournament, and played in Seminole’s two games with a significant limp.
“If I couldn’t walk, I wasn’t going to play, but this is the World Series,” Chester said. “This is what you live for. I only wish I could have done more.”
Chester said he might have aggravated the injury Sunday in the Trojans’ game against Middle Georgia when he made a play on a ground ball.
“The first game was OK, but I felt a pop in the second game,” Chester said. “I think I tore it, but that’s OK, it’s a long summer.”
Chester, who has signed with the University of Pittsburgh, said he was going to play summer ball in North Carolina but now will rest his injured leg.
Regardless, Chester said he had a great time at the World Series.
“Man, it was amazing,” Chester said. “We wish we could have done better, but this place is really nice.”
RAIN, RAIN WON’T GO AWAY
• The first game Sunday between Western Nevada College and Iowa Western Community College had the second rain delay of the tournament. Heavy rains caused a rain delay that lasted 13 minutes in the bottom of the second inning.
By the end of the game, the rain had cleared out and was not a factor for the middle game of the day. However, at 7 p.m., the skies darkened and lightning danced across the sky and the rain started again. The grounds crew readied the tarp, but after getting it into position behind second base, the rain relented and the tarp was rolled back off the field.
LATE NIGHT WITH SANTA FE
• While most citizens of Grand Junction were fast asleep by 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Santa Fe (Fla.) College and Middle Georgia College were just wrapping up the final game of the first day of JUCO. The two teams played a 3½-hour game that began at 9 p.m.
“They had a chance to get a little more to eat because we knew it was going to be a long night,” Santa Fe coach Johnny Wiggs said. “We thought there could be more rain delays and I was anticipating more rain and we knew it was going to take great focus.”
By winning the late-late game, Santa Fe got plenty of rest for its game against Cowley County this afternoon.
YES, I’LL SIGN THAT
• The JUCO World Series provides a unique experience for the players involved. Up to this point, the only time people request their autograph is at school at the top of assignments, but at JUCO it’s not unusual to see a crowd of fans gathering by the team’s bench for autographs and swag after the games. After Middle Georgia’s 16-6 win over Seminole State, Warriors shortstop Jakob Dalfonso didn’t mind taking a few extra minutes for autograph requests.
“I feel like a professional, “Dalfonso said. “I like the feeling, I wouldn’t mind if I got to do that the rest of my life.”
taking the long road home
Iowa Western has established itself as a strong junior college baseball team, making the tournament the past three seasons. But for the Reivers, two of those years they have been the first team eliminated.
This year they lost two six-inning games, losing to Shelton State 16-6 on Saturday and Western Nevada College 11-0 on Sunday to make an early exit.
STILL NO PRIZE
• Seminole State’s string of JUCO appearances without a championship was extended to 16. The Trojans made an unusual early exit this year, going 0-2.
• The improved weather Sunday night, although chilly, boosted attendance quite a bit over Saturday night. The night game drew 9,451, bringing the day’s total to 19,848. Two-day total: 39,723.
• 2: Triples during the Seminole State-Middle Georgia game. Seminole’s James Lavinskas and Middle Georgia’s Heine Rivera both hit three-baggers into the left-center field gap for the first two triples of the tournament.
10: Strikeouts by winning pitchers in the first two games combined. Middle Georgia’s Chris Newell struck out four with no walks and Western Nevada’s David Carrol sat down six to his zero walks.