Top-ranked NJCAA teams tumble
It’s almost a curse to be one of the top-ranked teams in the nation heading into the NJCAA district playoffs.
Sunday, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the most recent NJCAA Division I baseball poll, Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College and Cowley (Kan.) College, were eliminated from their respective district tournaments, ending their quests to reach the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
Cowley won its Central District opener in Wichita, Kan., but then lost back-to-back games, falling Saturday to Coffeyville 4-0 and Sunday to Seward County 8-7. Bryson Allen tripled in two runs in the seventh inning for Seward to key the Saints’ come-from-behind victory.
Seward beat Kansas City 7-6 in 11 innings Sunday night and plays Coffeyville today to reach the championship game against Neosho County, which is undefeated in the tourney and seeking its second straight trip to Grand Junction.
Cowley played most of its first game and all of the second game without coach Dave Burroughs, who became dizzy during Friday’s game and was taken to a Wichita hospital with an irregular heartbeat.
“Friday night I was in the dugout on the top step in the bottom of the second or third inning, and I thought, ‘Holy cow, somebody snuck tequila in my water bottle,’ ” Burroughs said Sunday. “I had the spins, and it’s been a long, long time since I felt like that. I thought I was going to pass out.”
The Tigers’ trainer took him to the hospital, where he said his heart rate and blood pressure were elevated but returned to normal. He was kept overnight for observation and tested again Saturday before being released. He said he might have been dehydrated, and he stayed at the hotel Saturday but went to Sunday’s game. He has an appointment with his cardiologist Tuesday, he said.
It’s been an emotional season for Burroughs and the Tigers — his father died three weeks ago.
Burroughs refused to use his father’s death or his illness during the tournament as an excuse for the Tigers’ poor play.
“We just didn’t play well, haven’t played well for the past couple of weeks,” he said. “I really thought we could do some damage if we got (to Grand Junction).”
Burroughs took over as Cowley’s athletic director five months ago and said he was asked if he would consider taking that job full-time and give up coaching.
“If they’re serious, I will,” he said. “I think it’s time to maybe step aside and let Lefty (his brother and assistant coach, Darren) take his turn.”
Then, he said, if the Tigers win the Central title, he’ll come to Grand Junction as an administrator. And if they don’t, he might just come to GJ anyway for the banquet and opening weekend.
Tallahassee, seeking the school’s first appearance in the JUCO World Series, was upset in the Gulf District opener in Lakeland, Fla., by Hillsborough, then bounced back against St. John’s River in an elimination game, 8-4. Sunday, though, the Eagles (46-10) were upended 10-2 by Chipola.
Columbia State (Tenn.), Walters State (Tenn.), Middle Georgia and Georgia Perimeter play May 16-19 at Walters State.
Spartanburg Methodist (Region 10) and ASA (N.Y.) (Region 15) play at the Region 20 champion. Potomac State is in the winners’ bracket of the tourney, which was rained out most of Friday and all day Saturday.
South Suburban (Region 4) and Iowa Western (Region 11) play at the Region 24 champ May 18-20. The tournament at Kaskasia, Ill., is scheduled to end today.
Connors State won the Region 2 title in Oklahoma 6-2 over Seminole State on Sunday and will host the district May 16-18. Maple Woods (Mo.) won Region 16 with a 9-6 win Sunday over Crowder College. Delgado (La.) is hosting the Region 23 tourney, which was pushed back two days by rain and started Sunday.
Southern Union and Wallace State-Hanceville play today in a winners-bracket game, with Central Alabama awaiting the winner of Sunday’s late game between Shelton State and Chattahoochee Valley. The tournament in Ozark, Ala., wraps up Thursday.
Navarro faces the winner of Sunday’s late game between San Jacinto College-North and Panola in a winners’ bracket game today. Paris plays Bossier Parrish in an elimination game. The tournament runs through Wednesday in Lufkin, Texas.
The tournament runs through May 15 in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Cochise (Ariz.) College won Region 1. Northeastern upset Lamar in Sunday’s title game in Region 9 and will host the district tournament May 16-18 in Sterling. Western Nevada is the third team after upending Southern Nevada in the title game.