San Jacinto denied title after ninth-inning balk
When the balk was called with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning Saturday, the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series went from a classic baseball game to one laced with theatrics.
San Jacinto (Texas) College-North pitcher Skylar Janisse waved in obvious disagreement to the balk.
What would become the winning run came home on the play, and suddenly San Jac, which entered the ninth with a 5-4 lead, was down 6-5. That would be the final.
The question remains: Was the balk that inevitably led to Iowa Western Community College’s JUCO World Series championship a balk?
Home plate umpire Pancho Flores ruled it was.
San Jac coach Tom Arrington, considering the play afterward, said, “I’m thinking it was.”
Janisse, of course, did not.
“I felt like I didn’t,” Janisse said. “I was in the full windup, just standing here, and he called a balk. I was like, ‘How can you call that?’ Maybe they have cameras, but it is what it is.”
It was a championship for Iowa.
“I’m just proud of where we were at the beginning of the season and how far we came,” Janisse said. “It was fantastic.”
Afterward, as Iowa stormed the field in celebration, numerous Gators walked toward home plate, appearing to yell at Flores. The Gators’ center fielder, Reggie Wilson, reportedly bumped an umpire and, as a result, the tournament directors pulled him from the all-tournament team, which he had been voted onto by the media.
Arrington said the team was not questioning the balk call.
“We were questioning something else,” said Arrington, who declined to comment on what that was.
It also was Arrington’s fourth appearance in the JUCO World Series championship game without a wining championship.
San Jac led 5-4 entering the ninth when A.J. Glasshof walked the first batter, Keaton Steele. Soon the bases were loaded.
“You don’t want to end up putting the winning run on with a walk,” Arrington said. “We wanted them to swing the bat, so we obviously had to throw more strikes.”
San Jac (41-25, 4-2 JUCO) also could not overcome the ejection of designated hitter Kyle Chaskin with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chaskin, after he was struck out looking, tossed his bat aside and appeared to say something to Flores. He finished 0 for 3 after entering the game with a .400 average.
“It looked like he turned around and said something (to the umpire),” Arrington said about the reason the ejection was called.
In the next at-bat, Jarred Fancher nearly hit his second home run of the game, flying out to the left-field warning track.