Midland’s Prescott shows speed, power

Midland College’s Chris Thibideau, left, is tagged out at second by Johnson County’s L.J. Hatch, 11, after getting caught off first on a pickoff attempt Saturday in the Chaparrals’ 10-5 victory.

Blaine Prescott has the speed to leg out an infield single.

The Midland College (Texas) second baseman has the speed to easily steal second base.

And he showed Saturday he also has the speed to beat out a potential double play.

But it doesn’t take much speed to round the bases after a 420-foot home run.

Prescott finished with three hits, including a two-run home run in the second inning to lead the Chaparrals to a 10-5 win over Johnson County Community College (Kansas) at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series at Suplizio Field.

“Saw the ball pretty well,” Prescott said. “He left a pitch right down the middle, and I took advantage of it. Put a good swing on it and it felt good.”

Batting leadoff for Midland, Prescott finished with three runs and three RBI.

His speed put pressure on Johnson County, forcing the Cavaliers to make defensive plays to keep him from advancing.

Midland coach David Coleman said Prescott’s ability to draw focus on the base paths serves as a catalyst for the Chaparrals’ offense.

“He’s the key to the whole thing,” Coleman said. “We need him to get on base and do that. We got some guys in the middle of the order who can drive some balls, and if we can get a pitcher in the stretch we have a better chance.

“If we can get any runner on, especially one where they have to slide-step or be quicker to home plate, that means a flatter fastball, hopefully, maybe, and we were able to run into a few of those flat fastballs.”

Midland fell behind 2-1 through the first inning as Johnson County first baseman Anthony Miller doubled in a run, and left fielder Riley Landuyt added a run-scoring single. 
But Prescott’s home run sparked a four-run second inning for Midland, and that offensive support was all winning pitcher Brandon Courville needed.

After a rough first inning, Courville settled in to throw seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, striking out eight batters and walking two.

“I felt good,” Courville said. “Especially going out there and not having all my command, 100 percent, and then coming in and the hitters doing their thing and scoring runs left and right. It’s really easy to pitch with hitters like that.

“First inning was fastball and just trying to settle in. Get my feel out there a little bit. The second inning and the rest of the game I was throwing my curveball, throwing it for strikes. Mixing them up a little bit and keeping them off-balance, that’s what was helping me.”

Coleman said it’s natural for a pitcher to work through nerves at JUCO.

Courville threw 67 of his 103 pitches for strikes, but control was never an issue after the first inning.

“He struggled in the first inning with command, and you’re going to do that in this environment,” Coleman said. “But he’s been here before, and he’s pitched a lot of big ballgames for us, so there was never any cause for alarm. A lot of innings left, I thought we may score.

“The key to this game was that he kept the leadoff hitter off base. You know, the only hitter that got on hit a home run, and that was a real key to the ballgame because it kind of controlled their offense because they like to get that pressure when they get those men on.

“It shortened innings there for us, and I thought Brandon was outstanding, especially when he got the curveball going there for us. He took control of the game.”


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