San Jac wins flip to be home team in tonight’s rematch with Gordon
San Jacinto (Texas) College-North pulled off a tough task winning a day game after losing a night game in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
Now, the Gators will get a chance to avenge their loss to Gordon (Ga.) College for an opportunity to play for a NJCAA record sixth national title after the Gators defeated Shelton State (Ala.) Community College, and Iowa Western Community College defeated the Highlanders 10-0 Thursday night at Suplizio Field.
“We knew we had to win three in a row,” San Jacinto assistant coach Kory Koehler said. “It’s a big opportunity for us. We’re playing for a chance to get back at Iowa Western. This is what we play for all year and work hard for is an opportunity to win a national title.”
The Gators won the coin flip and will be the home team against Gordon at 7 p.m. today at Suplizio Field. Iowa Western will play the winner for the national title at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re playing San Jac either way,” Gordon coach Travis McClanahan said. “That’s not a change. We knew we were going to be facing their No. 1 (pitcher) tomorrow night. It’s a little bit different situation now, but if we won (Thursday’s) game, we’d be coming out to win (today’s) game.
“We lost (Thursday’s) game and will be coming out to win (today’s) game. We just get to eat at a different restaurant.”
Gordon ate at the same restaurant and wore the same white home uniforms all week, refusing to mess with bad karma.
“We get a different dugout, different uniform and a different lunch,” McClanahan said. “I guess we got all the wins we could out of that, now we’ll move on to other one and try to get a win out of that one.”
Gordon was able to hit and score against San Jacinto and left-handed starter Anthony Banda in the Highlanders’ 9-7 win on Wednesday night.
“They’re a very good ball club,” Koehler said of Gordon. “They swing the bats very well. The score tonight is not indicative of the team they are. They are very dangerous. On the mound, they throw strikes. They’re not overpowering, but they pitch well. They’ve got a very good sound group. We look forward to the challenge.”
Koehler said San Jacinto likely will start another left-hander against Gordon in ace Daniel Stumpf, a Perfect Game USA top draft prospect from the junior-college ranks. He pitched the Gators to a 5-2 victory over Iowa Western on the first day of the tournament.
If he struggles, San Jacinto will have plenty of arms available in relief.
“We’ve got a very deep bullpen,” Koehler said. “We’ve got nine arms that haven’t touched the mound (in the World Series) yet. If we get the opportunity to use them, we will.”
McClanahan will counter with his ace, Jeb Dills, who led the Highlanders to a 11-3 victory over Shelton State (Ala.) Community College in his opener.
“San Jac is a good club,” McClanahan said. “I think they’ll run their No. 1 out there if I’m not mistaken. We look forward to the matchup. We’ve got Jeb Dills back on the mound, so we’ll be ready to go.
“(Dills) will be out there ready to go. He’ll give us everything he’s got. We’re looking forward to the matchup again.”