Neosho advances to JUCO with win

Winning your way to the national tournament sure makes that bus ride home fly by.

It’s only a little more than two hours between Wichita and Chanute, Kan., and Monday, the Neosho County (Kan.) Community College baseball team was having the time of its life on the bus.

“Fantastic,” Neosho coach Steve Murry said after the Panthers held off Coffeyville Community College 1-0 to win the Central District championship and qualify for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series. “It’s a wild bus ride.”

Their next ride will be much longer, but the fact their destination is Grand Junction makes it all worthwhile.

“Way long enough, way overdue,” Murry said of Neosho’s last appearance, in 2003. “We thought we could get out there last year and didn’t play well in the final four and luckily we did this year.”

Neosho (48-14) swept through the Central District tourney, beating Coffeyville 3-1 in 13 innings in the opening round, then reaching the title game by beating Cowley 10-2.

Once Coffeyville eliminated Cowley on Sunday, the pitchers took over Monday. Neosho starter Daniel Peterson threw 7 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits, walking one and striking out one. Max Ising threw the final 1 1/3 innings, recording one strikeout and facing only four batters, for the save.

The only run came in the bottom of the first, when leadoff man David Bote singled and with one out stole second. He moved to third on a ground ball and scored on Robbe Ewing’s infield single to short.

Murry tried to explain to his players Monday what they will see at the end of their next bus trip.

“I told them they are going to meet up with an experience that will not fall short of any of their expectations,” he said. “I’m 51 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Tournaments that were plagued by rain over the weekend got going again Monday, with the Region 17 tournament in Georgia down to the title game today between unbeaten Middle Georgia and Gordon College. That winner hosts Walters State (Tenn.) College starting Friday for the East Central berth.

South Suburban (Ill.) will host Iowa Western and John A. Logan (Ill.) this weekend in the Northern District. The Bulldogs won a wild 11-10 championship in the Region 4 tournament against Kishwaukee College.

The Southeastern District tournament in Ozark, Ala., also got back on track, with Lurleen B. Wallace State and Southern Union State staying alive in the elimination bracket and Wallace State-Hanceville and Central Alabama winning in the top half of the bracket. The tournament is now scheduled to be completed Friday.

In the Southern District in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, two elimination games were played before rain halted play again. Alvin and Texarkana advanced, knocking out Paris and Northeast Texas.

Defending national champion Navarro College led San Jacinto College-North 1-0 after one inning when that game was halted. Play resumes this morning.

In Lubbock, Texas, Cisco College reached tonight’s championship game with an 8-0 win over Howard College in seven innings.

New Mexico and Grayson played late Monday in an elimination game, with that winner facing Howard, which had won its first two games by the run rule. The Cisco-Howard game ended at approximately 10:45 (CDT), with the first pitch between New Mexico and Grayson scheduled for 11:15 p.m.


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