Miami Dade can’t cool off Reivers
Miami Dade can’t cool red-hot Reivers
A buzz saw. An absolute buzz saw.
That’s what Miami Dade College (Florida) coach Danny Price said his team ran into Friday night when Iowa Western Community College routed the Sharks 17-5 to win the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series championship for the third time in five years.
“We ran into a team that was extremely hot. They did a great job,” Price said. “I mean, they’re national champions, and we were looking forward to trying to get this game in tonight and try to get them tomorrow, and maybe we could break some of that stuff.
“They had a lot of confidence. When we came close, they pulled away. And good teams, national champions, they do that.”
The Sharks trailed 6-0 when they got back in the game with five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Deivy Palmerio struck the big blow, a three-run home run with one out.
But that was the last of the scoring for Miami Dade. Iowa Western brought in relief pitcher Drake Robison, who threw the final 5 1/3 innings and didn’t allow a run, limiting the Sharks to two hits, a walk and two hit batsmen.
“He slammed the door,” Price said. “He got his breaking ball over. We need to get some more pitches out of him to really get to him. He did a great job.”
Miami Dade turned to staff ace Kyle Carter to pitch on three days rest, and he threw a scoreless first inning and third inning, but the Reivers got to him for three runs in the second inning and three more in the fourth.
“I’ve been sick all day, and I’m not making excuses. I told them I wanted the ball, and things didn’t fall out right for us,” said Carter, who threw a complete game to win the Sharks’ first-round game Monday. “That’s a good club. They’re close to about a freakin’ minor league team. I mean, they can hit. Anything we throw, they were putting in play. Caps off to them.”
Miami Dade’s pitchers had little rest between appearances, but Price said, “There’s no excuses. There’s no crying in baseball. No, we were ready to play.”
Hit me with your best shot
Iowa Western batters were hit by five pitches Friday night, giving them 11 hit batters for the tournament, the most of any team.
The Reivers’ Jacob Sheldon-Collins got hit by two pitches Friday, taking one on the top of his helmet in the second inning and one on the leg in the fourth. He came around to score both times.
“The first one shook me up a little bit, but at that time it was good for the team,” Sheldon-Collins said. “Then, the second time getting hit in the leg, it was what we needed for the team, so we’ll take it every day of the week.”
Sheldon-Collins led the Reivers, getting hit by three pitches for the tournament, tying Cochise College’s Darick Hall for the tournament high.
Iowa Western coach Marc Rardin said there was no way his players could get out of the way of a few of those pitches Friday. Plus, Sheldon-Collins said the Reivers learn to stand their ground.
“That’s a big focus of us in the spring when we take BP (batting practice) against our own pitchers,” Sheldon-Collins said. “If we move out of the way, we run. So, we learn very early on if it’s coming inside, we wear it. And as you can see, it pays dividends for us come the season.”
Welcome back, long ball
Significantly more home runs were hit in this year’s JUCO World Series than the previous three seasons. In 18 games this year, the teams combined to hit 38 home runs. Two were hit in Friday night’s final game.
Last year and 2011 provided a mere 24 home runs apiece, and 26 home runs were hit in 2012. Each of those tournaments went 19 games.
The lower totals are blamed on the switch in college baseball to BBCOR bats. In the years prior to the switch, at least 49 home runs were hit each year, including a tournament record total of 62 in 2009.
Even with the BBCOR bats limiting the long balls, players commented about how the ball carries at elevation and in the dry air of Grand Junction.
Johnson County catcher John Fairchild was one of the beneficiaries. He hit two home runs in the Cavaliers’ two games. He entered the tournament without a home run.
Columbia State’s Wes Neiderland hit two home runs in four games. He entered JUCO with one home run in 208 at-bats.
And the tourney’s leader in home runs, Miami Dade’s Nick Bateman hit three home runs despite entering the World Series with one home run in 75 at-bats as a part-time player for the Sharks. Bateman’s numbers are deceptive, though. Two of his home runs were inside the park.
The JUCO World Series championship game between Iowa Western and Miami Dade drew 10,123 fans.
The single-game attendance record at JUCO is 12,309, set in 2010.
This year’s seven-day, 18-game tournament drew 104,763 fans.
The record for an 18-game JUCO World Series is 119,165, set in 2008.
The record for a 19-game series is 137,920, set in 2010.