Spartanburg (S.C.) qualifies for JUCO field

Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College drove 600 miles to New York and ended up playing a team from its own region in the second round of the Eastern District playoffs.

The ninth-ranked Pioneers first defeated Potomac State College of West Virginia University 8-3, then knocked off Region 10 rival USC-Sumter 12-1.
Sunday, the Pioneers claimed the Eastern District title with a 12-1 victory over Potomac State, then faced a 12-hour bus ride home to prepare for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

“We played well,” Spartanburg coach Tim Wallace said. “We’ve played well all year, especially the last couple of weeks.”

Spartanburg, ranked ninth in the final NJCAA poll, is 54-8 and faces San Jacinto (Texas) College-North on Sunday night in the first round.

Iowa Western (39-21) overcame a 3-14 start to the season to win the Northern District, beating Triton (Ill.) College 12-5 on Sunday morning and then beating Southwestern Illinois 11-4 in the title game. The Reivers have qualified for JUCO four of the past five years and went 1-2 last year.

Coach Marc Rardin will have to wait until today to find out who the Reivers play in the first round, because it wouldn’t stop raining in Alabama over the weekend.

The Southeastern District title game was postponed until today.

Shelton State is undefeated in the double-elimination tournament, so Faulkner will have to win twice today to earn its first World Series berth. Shelton State lost in last year’s championship game to Grayson County (Texas) College.

In the South Central District, Missouri Community College-Maple Woods scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning Sunday to beat Seminole State (Okla.) College 5-3 and force another championship game today in Kansas City, Mo.

Top-ranked Howard (Texas) College (58-1) opens the 52nd annual JUCO World Series at 9 a.m. Saturday at Suplizio Field against Western Nevada.

At noon, Iowa Western faces the Southeastern champion, with Cowley (Kan.) College playing the South Central champion at 3 p.m.

The feature game at 7:30 p.m. has Santa Fe (Fla.) College playing Middle Georgia College.

After two elimination games Sunday, Spartanburg Methodist plays San Jacinto (Texas) College-North.

“We won’t have any fans on the first-base side,” Wallace said, referring to the San Jacinto faithful who take up residence behind the first-base dugout every year the Gators qualify.

Tickets for JUCO are on sale at Alpine Bank branches, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, all City Market, Albertsons, Safeway and Wal-Mart stores, Harbert Lumber, B&H Sports, Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods, the Mesa Mall office, Fisher Liquor Barn and the JUCO office in the Home Loan building.

Adult tournament passes are $25. Student and senior citizens’ passes are $20. Prices for tournament passes at the gate go up $5 each.

The JUCO banquet begins Friday at 6 p.m. at Two Rivers Convention Center, with Dale Murphy the keynote speaker. Banquet tickets are $40 and are on sale at the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and in the JUCO office.

Several activities are planned throughout the week, including the annual free clinic for youngsters. JUCO players and coaches will be on hand at Suplizio from 5-7 p.m. to work with boys and girls on all phases of the game.

“We’ll have an administrative assistant working on (travel plans) right away,” Wallace said.

“I’d like to get out there Wednesday because I don’t want to miss the clinic.”


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