Junior College Update

BA intern Kyle Dugan updates the national junior-college postseason picture:

San Joaquin Delta Wins COA Title

In a state title series matching the top two seeds from Northern California, San Joaquin Delta, based in Stockton, defeated defending state champion Ohlone twice to win its first state juco championship since 1959.

In the clincher at Bakersfield JC, lefthander Jeff McKenzie earned his first victory since his American Legion days in 2009. McKenzie was a .237 hitter as the Mustangs’ regular center fielder and had pitched five innings in four games over the last two seasons prior to the state championship game. Named the tournament MVP, McKenzie went the distance, striking out seven. While he allowed an unearned run and seven hits while walking three, he picked four runners off at first base.

Ohlone was the No. 2 seed coming in and beat South Division No. 1 Santa Ana in the opener as ace righthander Matt Fontaine threw a six-hit complete-game shutout, striking out 11. Ohlone then beat Delta 3-2, overcoming a 2-0 first-inning deficit. The teams met again for the title, with Delta holding off a ninth-inning rally to win the first game 5-3. That forced the deciding game and set up McKenzie’s heroics. Outfielder Langston Calhoun had a big state tournament, capped by four hits in the championship clincher.

Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges
Lower Columbia College, Longview, Wash.

Participants: Bellevue, Wash. (33-13, 21-3); Columbia Basin, Wash. (32-14, 22-6); Everett, Wash. (34-9, 20-4); Lane, Ore. (24-18, 19-11); Lower Columbia, Wash. (32-10, 18-6); Mt. Hood, Ore. (26-11, 22-8); Pierce, Wash. (31-7, 20-4); Yakima Valley, Wash. (32-10, 22-6)

Eight teams begin play Thursday in the NWAACC’s double-elimination tournament. Lower Columbia (Wash.) JC  has been to the NWAACC championship game twice in the past three years, most recently in 2010 when the Red Devils captured the title by defeating Lane (Ore.).

Lower Columbia will be looking to hard-throwing righthander Jeff Ames to help them repeat, as the NWAACC’s top prospect went 7-1, 2.30 on the season with 101 strikeouts in 82 innings. while Lane, led by outfielder Tym Pearson, has other ideas. Everett (Wash.) CC comes in having won 14 of its last 15 games while Pierce (Wash.) has won its last eight games. The championship game is scheduled for Monday, May 30.

NJCAA
Grand Junction, Colo.

Participants:
Central Arizona (52-13); Grayson County, Texas (42-15); Jefferson, Mo., (43-20); Seward County, Kan. (44-18); Iowa Western (40-18); South Georgia (33-31); Potomac, W.Va., State (35-10); Southern Union, Ala., State (41-18); Chipola, Fla. (39-20); Navarro, Texas (42-17)

The NJCAA Division I World Series starts Saturday with a 10-team field that includes defending national champion Iowa Western as well as traditional powers such as Central Arizona, Chipola (Fla.) and Texas stalwarts Grayson County and Navarro.

Last year’s event was notable for Bryce Harper leading JC of Southern Nevada to Grand Junction, Colo., and for Iowa Western becoming the first Northern team to win the title. Iowa Western shortstop Damek Tomscha (.374, team-best 13 HR) will need to have a productive tournament if his team hopes to repeat its championship effort from last year. It’s Iowa Western’s fifth straight trip to Grand Junction.

Most notably standing in their way is top-ranked ranked Central Arizona College, a program looking to score its third title and sporting a trio of studs in Keenyn Walker (.402, team-best four homers), Max Rossiter (.339, three homers) and ace Zach Dando (9-3, 1.68). Grayson County, the No. 2 seed, has won three championships since 1999 and will be looking to retake the mantle on the back of its own trio of prospects in lefthanders Zach Good (5-4, 5.17) and Steven Oker (10-1, 1.90) and catcher Abel Baker (.359), as well as speedy outfielder Travis Brewster (.437, 38 SB).

Third-seeded Navarro has ridden its pitching, with its top prospect, righthander Tyler Mapes (10-2, 1.37), as well as righties Austin Pruitt (who leads the nation with a 0.81 ERA) and Tyler Carter (9-0, 1.81). Fifth-seeded Chipola (Fla.) doesn’t have the prospect-laden roster it has had in years past but has coach Jeff Johnson, who surpassed the 500-win mark this season. The Indians’ top prospect is hard-hitting catcher/DH Geno Escalante (.367, six HR), who was a big-name recruit for Cal State Fullerton before transferring after last season. Jefferson (Mo.) JC features lefthander Dave Gronewald (6-2, 3.15), an athletic southpaw and solid prospect.

Games are streamed online here: http://www.psblive.com/

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