Two games just weren’t enough for Trojans and Panthers
The title game between Central Alabama College and Palm Beach State (Fla.) College marked the third meeting between the teams in the tournament.
Three games between the same two teams seems like it would be rare, but it has been fairly common in recent years at the World Series.
In 2011, Potomac State (W.V.) College and Central Arizona College had a best-of-three, with Central Arizona winning the rubber match to reach the title game, where the Vaqueros lost to Navarro (Texas) College.
In 2007, Chipola (Fla.) College and Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College met three times, with Chipola winning the third meeting to reach the championship game, where the Indians beat New Mexico Junior College.
The last time the third meeting between teams happened in a championship game, Dixie State (Utah) College defeated San Jacinto (Texas) College-North for the title.
Closing on a hot streak
One night after going 5 for 7 to help Central Alabama reach the title game, catcher Blaine Miller went 3 for 4, doubled and drove in two runs. He raised his batting average for the tournament to .555 (15 of 27).
Now, he’s a doubles hitter
When Palm Beach State center fielder Mike Stemle doubled in each of his first two at-bats Saturday, it gave him four for the tournament. He had only six doubles coming into JUCO, playing in all 57 of the Panthers’ games.
Umpires’ call kickstarts Reese
After reaching base on an infield single that was the result of an umpire conference that changed the initial out call, Central Alabama’s Darius Reese proceeded to steal his fifth base of the tourney in five tries to put runners at second and third.
That tied the Trojans’ leadoff hitter with Mike Stemle and Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College’s Wesley Rogers for the tourney lead in steals.
Reese’s batting average was in danger of dipping below .500 if the out call stood, but the hit kept him above the mark, and two subsequent singles ensured it would stay there. He finished 3 for 5 and led the tournament with 16 hits in 29 at-bats and topped the tourney with 12 runs scored.
Palm Beach first baseman Ryan Church entered the title game 8 for 9 with runners in scoring position, then went to bat with runners in scoring position in his first two plate appearances, hitting a sacrifice fly, then a single to plate a run each time.
That pulled him into a tie with Central Alabama’s Ben Hall for the tourney lead in RBI with 11.
Where was the long ball?
The shrinking home run totals that have resulted from the switch to BBCOR bats and their lower coeffient of resistance were on display at JUCO again this year. After the tournament produced 26 home runs one year ago, the total dipped to 24 this year.
They just sound cool
The Daily Sentinel staff decided to have some fun and compile an all-name team, mostly the handiwork of Daily Sentinel reporter Matt Meyer.
P: Shawn Smirnoff, Central Alabama — At 18 years old, he’s not even old enough to drink his namesake vodka.
P: J.D. Hammer, Neosho County (Kan.) — Hopefully, he throws a nasty curveball.
P: Ethan Hunt, Central Alabama — Were his parents fans of the “Mission: Impossible” movies?
C: John Clay Reeves, Neosho County — Just sounds manly.
1B: Nearly every possibility is a two-syllable, normal name. No winners here.
2B: Tagg Duce, Cochise (Ariz.) College — His name oozes baseball.
SS: Cameron Cummins, Kaskaskia (Ill.) College — Rumbles like a diesel engine, but has zero stolen bases.
3B: Stephan Desgagne, Cochise — The hardest name to pronounce at JUCO.
OF: Chase Fieldhouse, Kaskaskia — More baseball terminology.
OF: Champ Rowland, Spartanburg Methodist — It’s a shame Spartanburg didn’t win it all.
OF: Tyler Fourkiller, Connors State (Okla.) College — Don’t mess with him.
Nearly waveless JUCO
For those fans who think The Wave is oh so outdated and mundane, they nearly got a waveless JUCO. Alas, fans during the eighth inning of the title game did the wave, ending the drought.
The JUCO World Series championship game between Central Alabama and Palm Beach State drew 9,811 fans.
The single-game attendance record at JUCO is 12,309, set in 2010.
This year’s eight-day, 19-game tournament drew 119,870 fans.
The record for a 19-game JUCO Worlds Series is 137,920, set in 2010.