San Jac 2-0 after first 2 days of Region XIV Tournament
05.15.2016 | By Rob Vanya
SUGAR LAND, Texas – The nation’s top junior college baseball team is in top form. With solid pitching, defense, and a balanced hitting attack, South Zone No. 1 seed San Jacinto College defeated East Zone No. 4 seed Bossier Parish Community College 9-1 in the first round, and shut out the No. 2 seed out of the East, Panola College, 9-0 in the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIV tournament, played this weekend at Constellation Park in Sugar Land.
San Jac sophomore pitcher Colten Schmidt (La Porte / La Porte High School) scattered 8 hits over 7 innings to earn the win over Bossier Parish. San Jac Head Coach Tom Arrington was pleased with how the team executed well on offense and defense against the Bossier Parish Cavaliers. “The guys were swinging the bats really well,” he commented. “It was especially nice to see them scattering hits to all parts of the field. Given the run support, we felt like the outcome of the game was largely in the hands of Colten. He has been such an outstanding and consistent pitcher (10-1 with a 1.49 ERA during the regular season) and he came through again with a great performance.”
Defensively, the team had no errors and several acrobatic plays prevented Bossier Parish from scoring. Schmidt baffled hitters with a mix of sliders and changeups and a fastball that painted the corners. On offense, San Jac had 13 hits with every starter getting at least 1 hit. Sophomore infielder Brandon Montgomery (Collierville, Tennessee / Collierville High School) went 2 for 4 with one home run and 3 RBIs. Sophomore catcher Baine Schoenvogel ( Galveston / Ball High School) went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs.
The second round game against Panola was delayed from Saturday night to Sunday morning due to weather. Aggressive base running helped to put San Jac (46-10) in the driver’s seat early in the game. Eight stolen bases in the second inning helped the team take a 5-0 lead, and San Jac put it in cruise control the rest of the way, thanks largely to masterful pitching by sophomore southpaw Devin Smeltzer (Voorhees, New Jersey / Bishop Eustace Preparatory School), who went 5 innings, allowing no runs on 2 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts.
Freshman right-hander Hunter McClellan (Nacogdoches / Nacogdoches High School) preserved the win, pitching 2 scoreless innings, allowing no hits, and no walks, with 2 strikeouts. McClellan was the beneficiary of two unbelievable defensive plays that preserved the shutout in the final inning. With runners on first and second and 1 out, San Jac shortstop Brandon Montgomery (Collierville, Tennessee / Collierville High School) made a full-extension leap to snag a screaming line drive that was headed to left field and would have scored at least 1 run. His acrobatic play was followed by another that was equally as impressive. Freshman second baseman Nick Shumpert (Lone Tree, Colorado / Lone Tree High School) dove to his left and somehow snared a hard hit liner that ended the inning and the game.
Key contributors on offense against Panola were sophomore infielder Caden Williams (Sugar Land / Dulles High School), who went 4-for-4 with 1 RBI, and sophomore catcher/outfielder Ryan January (Swampscott, Massachusetts / Swampscott High School), who went 1-for-4 and had 2 RBIs.
Arrington was pleased with the all-out effort throughout the game. “This win over a really good Panola team shows how the whole team executed our plan of getting after it right away,” he said. “When you come out of the gate and get a big lead early, it really puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. We have very good team speed, and (volunteer assistant coach) Kory Koehler (who was coaching third base) has a knack for knowing when to send runners, which is why we were able to have so many stolen bases in the second inning.”
Due to inclement weather, the remainder of the tournament will be played at Concordia University in Austin. San Jac will next face South Zone #2 seed Wharton Community College in the third round of the tournament at Concordia on Monday, May 16 at 7 p.m.
The winner of the regional tournament advances to the NCJAA World Series, to be played May 28 through June 4 in Grand Junction, Colorado. San Jac is vying for its 25th appearance in the JUCO World Series.
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.