NJCAA Division I: On To Grand Junction

The 10-team field is now set for the 50th annual NJCAA Division I World Series. The championships will run from May 26-June 2 and will be played at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo. It’s the 49th year in a row the Series has been held in Grand Junction.

No. 1 New Mexico JC (51-6-1) seems to be the tournament favorite as it advanced to the Series by knocking off North Central Texas College 3-0 in the Southwestern district. The top-ranked Thunderbirds will face East Central district champ Young Harris (Ga.) College (45-20) in game three Saturday at Sam Suplizio Field. Young Harris clinched a spot in the series by upsetting third-ranked Chattanooga State (Tenn.) Tech CC, winning 5-4 in the East Central district finals.

The rest of the NJCAA Division I field includes Chipola (Fla.) JC, Iowa Western CC, Shelton State (Ala.) CC, Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) JC, Western Nevada CC, Delgado (La.) CC, Cowley (Kan.) College and San Jacinto (Texas) College.

Game one of the series features a match-up between Gulf district champ Chipola (Fla.) College (36-17) and Northern champ Iowa Western CC (42-16). The Chipola Indians clinched a spot in the Series by defeating Central Florida CC 12-2 in regional play while Iowa Western advanced by topping Lincoln Trail (Ill.) College 9-6 in the Northern district finals.

Game two of the series features a match-up between two southern schools, Shelton State (Ala.) CC and Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.). The Shelton State Buccaneers (47-15) solidified a spot in Grand Junction by routing Southern Union State (Ala.) CC 13-0 in the Southeastern district final while Spartanburg Methodist Pioneers (51-13) advanced to this weekend’™s championships by sweeping Potomac State (W.Va.), 12-6 and 11-9, to claim the Eastern District title.

Game four of the championships features Western district champion Western Nevada against South Central district winner Delgado (La.) CC. The Western Nevada Wildcats (39-22-2) advanced to series by defeating Central Arizona 13-10 in the Western district finals while the Delgado Dolphins (31-20) clinched a spot in the championships by squeezing out a 6-5 win in district tournament action. Delgado and Western Nevada feature perhaps the two best prospects in the tournament, with Delgado outfielder Lee Haydel (a Brewers draft-and-follow) and Western Nevada lefthander Cole Rohrbough (Braves DFE).

Cowley County (47-16) will square off against San Jacinto (44-14) on Sunday. The Cowley Tigers clinched a spot in the series by routing Garden City (Kan.) CC 16-0 in the Central district finals, while the San Jacinto Gators knocked off Texarkana (Texas) College 11-5 to claim the Southern district title.

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