Peña’s big hit lifts Wildcats to win
Jerome Peña wasn’t a solo act Monday at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
The Western Nevada College catcher had the crucial hit in the Wildcats’ 11-6 victory over Middle Georgia — a two-run triple in the fifth inning — but every Western Nevada starter had at least one hit in the win.
Peña went 2 for 5 and drove in three runs for the Wildcats and Brian Barnett and Mike Long each had two RBI.
Peña can see Western Nevada getting on a roll by playing every day after losing the tournament opener to top-ranked Howard (Texas) College.
“We just keep playing every day, which means more swings for us,” Peña said. “Once our team gets going and our offense gets going, we are hard to stop.”
Western Nevada got the scoring started with two runs in the first and added one more in the third inning.
In the top of the fourth, the Warriors tied it up with three runs on a three-run home run by Josh Purvis.
From that point on, it was the Wildcats doing a lot of the scoring, adding three runs in the fifth and two in the seventh.
The Warriors cut it to 8-6 in the top of the eighth. They had runners on first and third with no outs, but reliever Kramer Champlin shut them down with two strikeouts. In the bottom of the inning, the Wildcats added three more to secure the win.
Warriors coach Craig Young thought the events in the eighth inning were the key to the game.
“We cut it at two and had a situations that took us out of a rally and they came back, swung the bat well and did what they had to do to win the ballgame,” Young said.
Western Nevada coach D.J. Whittemore said one of the keys to the game was Champlin pitching out of the bullpen.
“Kramer was the Region 8 pitcher of the year. He has been our best pitcher all year,” Whittemore said. “We wouldn’t be here without him and we still wouldn’t be playing without him.”
Champlin pitched 31/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out four.
Despite the loss, Purvis loved the experience of being at JUCO.
“I loved it here. The people were so nice,” Purvis said. “You feel like they knew you for years.”