Middle Georgia stays alive thanks to plenty of bloop hits
In the middle of Middle Georgia College’s six-run third inning Sunday afternoon, a Seminole State (Okla.) College fan called out, “They can’t bloop them all day.”
Oh, yes they can.
Middle Georgia hit blooper after Texas Leaguer after bleeder Sunday to stay alive in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, defeating Seminole State 16-6 in six innings.
“We had a lot of Texas Leaguers, bloopers, but we take it when we can get them,” said right fielder Shawn Ward, who had an RBI bloop single in that third inning as part of his three-single day.
With the heavy air — well, heavy by Grand Junction standards, not so much when you’re from south Georgia — the ball wasn’t carrying, but the Warriors just kept finding holes between the infielders and outfielders.
“The interesting thing about bleeders like that, a lot of people sit there and say that’s lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky,” Middle Georgia coach Craig Young said. “It also shows a little bit of discipline offensively swinging the bat, keeping your hands back, being patient, finding a pitch and battling through an at-bat. That’s all part of it.”
Mixed in with the bloop singles was a leadoff triple by Heine Rivera and a bases-loaded double by Jakob Dalfonso that scored three runs..
Jonathan Heyer hit a two-run home run in the nine-run fourth inning, when the Warriors (44-19) sent 13 men to the plate and scored nine runs on seven hits.
Seminole used four different pitchers in the inning, trying to stop the onslaught and keep the game close.
“We didn’t have enough pitching to stop them,” Seminole State coach Jeff Shafer said. “We tried different pitchers but we couldn’t find that right guy to stop them. Hitting is contagious, pitching is contagious and in this game it was hard to stop it.”
Middle Georgia didn’t get back to the hotel until the wee hours of Sunday morning after their game Saturday night ended after 12:30 a.m.
“It was pretty rough,” first baseman TJ Rich said. “By the time we got something to eat and got back to the hotel it was almost 3 o’clock. We got up at 9 to get ready. It makes us try harder. We came out with more energy today than last night and it showed.”
Chris Newell picked up the complete-game win, allowing six runs on 11 hits. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. He was shaky early on, giving up two runs in the first and four in the third, but composed himself against the first-ball, line-drive hitting Trojans (40-20).
“Obviously (scoring) six runs in the third kept him in the game,” Young said. “The offense kept Chris in the game and to his credit, he just kept pounding the zone and battling. He’s going to make them put the ball in play and hit it. That’s all you can ask for.”
Well, that and a good night’s sleep.
“It’s not as tough as it would have been if we had played at 10 o’clock this morning,” Young said. “it let us catch our breath a little bit playing the second game, let us get refocused and get ready to play.”