On May 26, the Junior College Division II World Series will commence in Enid, Okla., with four first-round matchups on Saturday. Defending national champion Western Oklahoma State, No. 1 ranked LSU Eunice, and Grand Rapids (Mich.) CC headlines the 10-team field. Western Oklahoma State carries a 44-15 record into the tournament. This is the fifth straight season the Pioneers have advanced to the World Series and multiple Western Oklahoma State pitchers could be late-round draft picks. LSU Eunice enters the World Series with a 52-4 record and the Bengals have won three of the last six national championships.
Grand Rapids is one of the most storied D-II programs in the country with five national championships. Seven of the 10 teams have advanced to a World Series in the past five years. Catawba Valley (N.C.) CC and Lackawanna (Pa.) College are making their first-ever World Series appearances. The 19-game tournament will run through June 2 and all games will feature live video broadcasts through the NJCAA website.
Tyler (Texas) JC hosted the 2012 Division III World Series with Gloucester County (N.J.) JC and St. Cloud (Minn.) Technical CC entered the World Series as heavy favorites after dominant regular seasons. Gloucester County has been to the World Series in 18 of the last 21 years and won the 2010 World Series. St. Cloud made its first World Series appearance after a 35-5 season.
Despite those luminaires, Joliet (Ill.) JC made an improbable postseason run. Joliet has been one of the best programs at the D-III level but the Wolves had their worst regular season in over a decade, hovering around .500 on the season. Joliet entered postseason play with just a 33-29 record, but the Wolves performed when it mattered most and won four straight games to claim their third national championship.
The World Series clincher was a thrilling victory over Niagara (N.Y.) CC. Joliet held a 4-3 lead into the top of the ninth inning, but Niagara scored two runs to take the lead. The Wolves scored the game-tying run on a play at the plate with two outs to push the game into extra innings. A resilient Niagara offense plated a run in the top of the 10th to recapture the lead. In the bottom half of the inning, third baseman Dakota Brown laced a laced a triple to left field to plate the game-tying run and left the Wolves 90 feet from a World Series victory.
Freshman Luke Andrade lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that drove in Brown for a 10th-inning victory. Andrade earned Tournament MVP honors for postseason performance and late-game heroics.
Junior colleges in Washington and Oregon are members of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges. The conference holds its own championship tournament for its 28 baseball teams. Regional tournaments winnowed the field to eight schools, two from each region. Tournament play began Thursday at David Story Field, the home field of Lower Columbia (Wash.) JC. The fifteen-game double-elimination tournament will conclude with Monday’s championship game.
Bellevue (Wash.) JC won the championship in 2011 and is the No. 1 seed this year with a 35-11 record. No. 2 Pierce (Wash.) JC has a 29-12 record. Yakima Valley (Wash.) CC had the third most wins in the conference with 34. Lower Columbia (Wash.) JC, where Padres manager Bud Black played his first two seasons, has a 30-13 record and has the home-field advantage with the tournament being played at David Story Field. Mt. Hood (Ore.) CC, Chemeketa (Ore.) CC, Everett (Wash.) CC, and Columbia Basin (Wash.) JC round out the field.