Setting the tempo: Temple’s five-run sixth inning eliminates first-timer Pitt (N.C.)

Temple (Texas) College’s Colten Boothe, left, is congratulated by teammates at home plate Sunday afternoon after hitting a home run during the Leopards’ victory over Pitt in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series at Suplizio Field.

Pitt (N.C) Community College pitcher Justin Nygard was hit Sunday in the face during the Bulldogs’ loss.

Temple (Texas) College shortstop Dusty Dishman knows the power of positive thinking.

The Leopards were trailing Pitt (N.C.) Community College 8-1 in the top of the sixth inning Sunday at Suplizio Field in Game 6 of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series when Colten Boothe hit a three-run home run to center field.

“I was thinking in the dugout that Colten was going to hit a home run,” Dishman said. “Then I thought (Collin) Janssen’s gonna get a hit and so am I.”

Dishman was close, as Janssen walked, then Dishman singled during the Leopards’ five-run sixth inning.

Temple added another four runs in the seventh to eliminate first-time JUCO participant Pitt with an 11-8 victory.

With the win, Temple advances to today’s 10 a.m. game against Chattanooga (Tenn.) State Community College. Pitt was the second team eliminated from the World Series after State College of Florida was eliminated in a morning loss to Chattanooga State.

“I was trying get a good pitch to hit and got something, which started that rally,” Boothe said. “We knew we couldn’t give up whether we were coming from behind or had a lead, so we had to keep fighting.”

Boothe sparked the Leopards offensively, and Brandon Parrent propelled Temple on the mound. Parrent relieved Leopards starter Brannon Easterling in the fifth inning and shut the Bulldogs down in the final four innings.

“Parrent came in and was nails. He shut them down,” Temple coach Craig McMurtry said. “He was throwing strikes. His curveball was working, so he did a really nice job.”

Parrent normally is a starter for the Leopards, but McMurtry said he learned from his first trip to JUCO in 2006 that there’s no point in saving pitching.

“If you have to use starters, you use them,” McMurtry said. “We’ll see what happens and see if we can piece together our pitching. We’ll see how it goes, we might have to outscore the other team.”

Pitt had pitching problems of its own Sunday afternoon.

In the top of the fifth inning, Bulldogs sophomore pitcher Justin Nygard was cruising, protecting a 4-1 lead.

But what happened next is one of the scariest moments in sports.

Temple’s Kyle Bieschke connected with a ball and it ricochetted off the ground in front of the plate and hit Nygard in the face.

According to JUCO medical advisor Dr. Tom Motz, the ball hit Nygard on the right side above the brow and he was sent to St. Mary’s Hospital for X-rays.

Motz said Nygard appeared to be fine and he was conscious and alert. There was no obvious fracture.

“It swelled up pretty good, but Justin’s a fierce competitor,” Pitt coach Tommy Eason said. “We’re all praying he’ll be OK.”

McMurtry was a former major league pitcher, and said it’s always scary when a pitcher is hit, but he said he avoids telling his players to be careful of those situations.

“They said it hit him right above the eye and it looked like he’s going to be OK. It’s always scary when you get hit below the eye where you can break everything,” McMurtry said. “I had a lot close calls when I was pitching and took them off of everywhere except my face. It’s always scary, but it’s not anything you think about or tell your pitchers to be care of because you don’t want to put that into their heads.”

Bulldogs catcher Nick Abrahamson said losing Nygard was a turning point in the game.

“I think it hurt us when our pitcher got hit in the eye. He was setting a good pace in the game,” Abrahamson said. “I think (Temple) had a bit of trouble hitting the off-speed pitch, but we had to bring some harder throwing arms in the game.”

Pitt lost its only two games in its first trip to JUCO.

“You get a lot of experience and you can hopefully pass along that information to the next guy,” Eason said. “We know how to avoid some of the distractions and come here and play our style of baseball.”


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