The long ball was good to North
Iowa Area Community College all season, and Monday was no exception.
The Trojans, 48-14, clubbed six
home runs and pounded out 20 hits to defeat Southeast Community College 22-4 in
the North Plains District Tournament championship baseball game played at Christenson
Field in Beatrice.
The victory sends the No. 9 Trojans
to their second trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association
Division II World Series in three seasons. The national tourney begins Saturday
in Enid, Okla.
SCC ended its season with a 42-21
NIACC freshman Jonathan Cruz, who
had just three home runs and a .237 batting average entering the game, led off
the bottom of the first with a solo home run, then pounded a three-run shot in
the bottom of the second to give the Trojans a 4-1 lead.
But SCC rallied to tie it 4-4 in
the top of the third. Bryce Peterson hit an infield single and stole second,
and Sam Palensky walked. Dylan Yost singled to right to score Peterson before
Rob Ramsey doubled down the rightfield line to score Palensky to make it 4-3
NIACC. Chad Christensen came on to relieve Tony Grabowske and gave up a fielder’s
choice to SCC’s Tyler Edwards, scoring Yost to tie the game at 4-4.
But it was all NIACC and
Christensen after that. The Trojans scored two in the third to take a 6-4 lead,
then piled up the runs, adding five in the fifth and seven in the eight. SCC
had 10 hits and committed four errors.
Troy Bullingham, Luke Becker,
Robbie Glendinning, and Austin LaDoux added home runs for NIACC, which entered the
tournament with 74 on the season.
The Storm led 1-0 after the top
half of the first. Peterson led off with a walk and stole second. Palensky
singled on an 0-2 pitch to drive in Peterson. Grabowske then struck out the side.
Payton Kinney started on the mound
for SCC. Ryan Tangeman and Jared Torell also pitched for the Storm, who forced
a Game 3 with an impressive 17-1 victory in Game 2 on Sunday. In Game 1 on
Sunday, NIACC led 9-5 before SCC hit three home runs in the bottom of the
ninth, only to fall short 9-8.
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