JUCO D-I: Unblemished Grayson County Captures Title

Without a loss on its tournament resume, Grayson County (Texas) College won the NJCAA Division I World Series by defeating Shelton State (Ala.) CC 13-2 in the championship game. The title is the Vikings’ first since winning back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000, and marks the eighth consecutive year that Grand Junction, Colo., has produced a different national champion from the year before.

The Vikings jumped on Shelton State early, scoring six runs in the first three innings to grab a 6-2 lead. Grayson County’s bats never cooled, however, tallying 16 total hits on the way to a romp. In five tournament games, Grayson County failed to score double-digit runs just once.

“We scored quite a few runs, so we were really clicking on offense,” Grayson County head coach Dusty Hart said.  “We had the opportunity to 10-run-rule a few teams, so that allowed us to have our No. 1 and No. 2 (starters) ready to go.  If we had to play Saturday, our No. 2 was right there.”

Grayson County batted .390 and scored 62 runs on the strength of 23 extra-base hits–all totals that were good for second-best in the tournament behind Central Arizona JC.

Sophomore shortstop J.D. Alfaro paced Grayson County at the plate and in the field, batting .476 with 14 RBIs and going error-less in tournament play.  The cumulative effort earned him the Preston Walker Most Valuable Player Award.

“What can I say about J.D.–that guy was outstanding,” Hart said. “He’s done that for us all year, for a guy not many people knew about (before this season). He was making plays other guys couldn’t even get to. He was just lights out for us.”

After surrendering his only two runs of the game in the first two innings, freshman righthander Conrad Flynn held Shelton State scoreless in the final seven frames and allowed six total hits while striking out 11 in a complete-game effort. He also pitched the Vikings’ first game against Hagerstown (Md.) CC, working just five innings before the 10-run rule was brought into effect. Flynn was named the Robert Purkey Outstanding Pitcher of the tournament.

Sophomore lefthander R.L. Eisenbach joined Alfaro and Flynn on the all-tournament team. Eisenbach and Flynn were the winning pitchers in four of the Vikings’ five tournament victories.

The discrepancy in errors made between the two schools was a major factor, as Shelton State committed a total of 12 errors in the tournament, with eight coming against Grayson County in two games.

For Shelton State, the loss was the second time it was beaten by more than 10 runs, the first occasion also coming at the hands of the Vikings two days earlier. The Buccaneers were defeated by an identical 13-2 score in the first meeting.

Shelton State boasted three all-tournament selections, including sophomore catcher Clay Jones, sophomore third baseman Tyler Horne and sophomore righthander Adam Scott. The Buccaneers got a gem from Scott in a game against Hagerstown that would determine who advanced to the championship game, pitching five innings of one-hit ball.