SUGAR LAND, Texas – The playoff hopes are still alive for San Jacinto College (South Zone No. 1 seed), thanks to last-inning heroics that led to dramatic back-to-back wins in round 3 and 4 of the Region XIV Tournament, played Sunday, May 10 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.
In the day game, San Jac and Alvin Community College (South Zone No. 2 seed) entered the ninth inning tied at 2 following masterful pitching performances from San Jac’s starter, sophomore right-hander Alex Phillips, and Alvin’s lefty Jordan Rodriguez. In the top of the ninth inning, San Jac’s freshman catcher, Brett Wright launched a go-ahead homerun over the left-field wall to put San Jac ahead 3-2. It was up to San Jac’s bullpen to hold the lead, but shaky defense in the bottom of the ninth allowed Alvin to load the bases, with no outs.
San Jac’s Head Coach Tom Arrington called on freshman closer Donny Diaz to put out the fire, and he got the job done, setting down 3 of the 4 batters he faced and not allowing a runner to score. San Jac’s 3-2 win eliminated Alvin, and set up a game Sunday night against Northeast Texas Community College, a team loaded with good hitters.
In the late game, San Jac’s catcher Wright played the hero again. Trailing 7-5 entering the bottom of the ninth, San Jac (the home team in the game), mounted a rally to tie the game at 7-7. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Wright smacked a hard grounder that was snagged by Northeast’s first baseman, who fell on the bag to put the runner out. But the fielder’s throw to the plate was late, and sophomore outfielder Walker Pennington scored to give San Jac another dramatic ninth-inning win, this time with a final tally of 8-7.
Arrington was proud of the tenacity and resiliency of the team. “Our players showed what they are made of,” he commented. “Our backs were against the wall, yet they just would not quit. They have a lot of desire, and pull together. I am very proud of them.”
San Jac next plays South Zone No. 4 seed Blinn College on Monday, May 11 at 11 a.m. The winner of that game will play against East Zone No. 2 seed Angelina College at 5 p.m. on May 11 for a chance to qualify for the tournament championship game.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.