Team prevails in Lone Star State slugfest
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – San Jacinto College advanced to round 3 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series by defeating Cisco College 13-9 on May 31 at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado.
San Jac somehow emerged as the last one standing in a seesaw slugfest against hard-hitting Cisco, the only other Texas team in the tournament. The game was similar offensively to San Jac’s first-round 8-7 comeback win over Cowley College that featured plenty of hits and runs. San Jac, with the nation’s lowest team ERA of 1.67, entered the tournament hoping to dominate with solid pitching. But the Grand Junction JUCO World Series is played in the Rocky Mountains. The thin air is good for hitters because balls travel faster and farther off the bat. Conversely, the thin air is bad for pitchers because breaking balls do not break very well, which limits a pitcher’s repertoire. Consequently the tournament has a well-documented history of high-scoring games, which are played in a hitter-friendly, high-altitude ballpark.
History is repeating itself in the 2016 tournament. In the 13 games played thus far, only one has not been high scoring – game 1, in which Iowa Western beat Santa Fe 4-3. The scores in the other 12 games have been more like slow-pitch softball game scores, which are typically high scoring affairs. Four of the games in this year’s tournament had a combined 20 or more runs. Three games have been called early due to the tournament’s run-rule (a 10-run lead after 5 innings, or an 8-run lead after 7 innings).
Fortunately, San Jac has a deep team and can win with dominating pitching or with offensive firepower. Their hitters flexed their muscles again in the high-scoring win over Cisco. Designated hitter Ryan January (Swampscott, Massachusetts / Swampscott High School) went 2 for 3, scored 2 runs, had 2 RBIs and 2 key homeruns. Catcher Baine Schoenvogel (Galveston / Ball High School) went 1 for 4, scored 2 runs and hit a decisive 2-run homerun in the seventh inning that gave San Jac a 9-7 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. First baseman Caden Williams (Sugar Land / Dulles High School) went 2 for 3, scored 2 runs and had 1 RBI.
San Jac’s ace pitcher Colten Schmidt (La Porte / La Porte High School), who dominated in the regular season with a 10-1 record and was named the MVP of the regional tournament, was uncharacteristically erratic. His breaking pitches were a little flat and he struggled with command. Consequently, he pitched only five and one-third innings, giving up 10 hits, 1 walk and 1 wild pitch, with 5 strikeouts and 7 runs, 6 of which were earned runs. Fortunately, relief pitcher Hudson Treu (Houston / Houston Christian High School), who relies more on hard stuff than breaking pitches, was effective and qualified for the win, pitching three and two-thirds innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks and 1 wild pitch, with 6 strikeouts and 2 earned runs.
San Jac will next play tonight at 7:30 p.m. (MST) against fourth-ranked Iowa Western College. San Jac (50-10 overall, 31-9 conference record) is the nation’s top-ranked junior college team by Perfect Game and is ranked No. 2 in the nation by the NJCAA. San Jac has won five national titles, has appeared in 13 national championship games, and has qualified for the JUCO World Series 24 times, all of which are national records. Arrington has guided the team to the JUCO World Series 11 times, and the team has finished as national runner-up five times in his 15-year tenure.
The JUCO World Series schedule of games, tournament bracket, seeding information, etc. is available at the JUCO website, jucogj.org.
For more information about San Jacinto College baseball, visit sanjacsports.com.
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.