JUCO D-I Update: Defending Champ On The Ropes

With defending champion Chipola (Fla.) Junior College suffering a loss on Monday, the Indians face elimination from the JUCO Division I College World Series and a lengthy trip home from Grand Junction, Colo. Chipola’s potential fate would only fall in line with recent past champions, as the tournament has failed to produce a repeat winner since Grayson County (Texas) JC accomplished the feat in 1999 and 2000.

Looking forward to Day Four of the tournament, Chipola is slated to take on Hagerstown (Md.) CC at 11 a.m. in an elimination game for both schools. The game became a must-win for the Indians when they fell to Alvin (Texas) CC 11-8 on Monday.  Alvin jumped to a 5-1 lead through the first three frames before Chipola’s bats generated seven runs in the next three innings. In the sixth, the Indians scored two of those runs with two outs when Jordan Lucas stole home and Einar Atencio looped an RBI double to tie the score at 8-8. The Dolphins scored what proved to be the winning run in the eighth inning when Mark Hudson singled to right to drive in Clay Puckett from third and move Alvin to 2-0 in tournament play.

Chipola made quick work of its first opponent, Connors (Okla.) State JC, by drubbing the South Central District champions 22-2 on Saturday. Four different Indians homered in the contest, with two long balls coming from catcher Moises Montero. The game was cut short after the Indians blasted two grand slams and scored 15 runs in the sixth inning to bring into effect the 10-run rule.  Connors was eliminated the following day when Walters (Tenn.) State CC needed just eight innings to earn a 14-4 victory over the Cowboys.

Rounding out today’s action, tournament unbeatens Alvin and Grayson will square off in a 7:30 p.m. nightcap. Each team will be playing for the right to remain in the winners’ bracket and face Shelton (Ala.) State CC, which defeated Iowa Western CC on Monday night.

Playing its first World Series game in school history, Alvin grabbed a surprise 13-7 win over tournament favorite Walters State, a squad that accumulated a 54-8 record heading into the World Series and had finished the regular season as the nation’s No. 2 team in the RINGOR NJCAA Division I Baseball Poll. Walters earned its reputation as an exceptional hitting club after finishing ninth in the nation with a .372 team batting average, but the Dolphins’ bats took center stage at Suplizio Field on Saturday, manufacturing at least one run in every inning but the first to upset the 2006 national champions.

The Senators were eliminated Monday, losing 10-5 to Arizona Central JC.

Seven teams remain in contention, with Johnson County (Kan.) CC and Connors State joining Walters as the only eliminated teams through the tournament’s first three days.

Day Four Schedule:

Game 11: Hagerstown vs. Chipola (Loser is eliminated)

Game 12: Central Arizona vs. Iowa Western (Loser is eliminated)

Game 13: Alvin vs. Grayson

Day Five Schedule:

Game 14: Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 13

Game 15: Shelton State (Ala.) vs. Winner Game 13