San Jac advances to semifinal round at World Series

06.02.2016 | By Rob Vanya

Team romps past Iowa Western 14-4, remains undefeated at tournament

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – The battle of national powerhouse teams went to San Jacinto College, who romped past Iowa Western Community College 14-4 in round 3 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado on Wednesday, June 1. With the win, San Jac advances to the semifinal round and will face top ranked Chattahoochee Valley Community College tonight at 7:30 p.m. (MST).

The win over Iowa Western was a taste of revenge for San Jac, who was eliminated by the Reivers in the final rounds of the 2010 and 2012 JUCO World Series. The two teams are unquestionably the most successful programs in the history of JUCO World Series. San Jac has won five national titles, appeared in 13 national championship games, and has qualified for the tournament 24 times, all of which are national records. Iowa Western has qualified for the tournament 17 times, second only to San Jac. They are second to San Jac in JUCO World Series titles, with three championships, tied with Yavapai College.

San Jac and Iowa Western are also two of the best in the nation this season. San Jac is the nation’s top-ranked junior college team by Perfect Game and is ranked No. 2 in the nation by the NJCAA. Iowa Western is ranked No. 3 by Perfect Game and No. 4 by the NJCAA. So putting the Reivers in the losers’ bracket in the tournament with a convincing win was huge for San Jac. The shortened game was called in the fifth inning due to the tournament’s run rule (10-run lead in the fifth inning, or 8-run lead in the seventh inning).

San Jac Head Coach Tom Arrington was proud of the overall team effort, but knows there is still unfinished business. “Iowa Western is very talented and their one through nine hitters are all tough outs,” he commented. “We decided to start with freshman pitcher Garrett Hutson (Wichita, Kansas / St. Thomas Aquinas High School) because he is a good power pitcher, but the Reivers put the ball in play anyway and we fell behind 4-1 early. Fortunately the team pulled together and we bounced back, put up 7 runs in the third inning and never looked back. So we are right where we want to be in the tournament, but we cannot overlook Chat Valley, which is also a very talented team.”

Key contributors on offense for San Jac in the win over Iowa Western were shortstop Donivan Lopez, catcher Baine Shoenvogel and first baseman Caden Williams. Lopez (Sinton / Sinton High School) went 3 for 3, with 4 RBIs and scored 2 runs. Shoenvogel (Galveston / Ball High School) went 1 for 2, with 2 RBIs and scored 2 runs. Williams (Sugar Land / Dulles High School) went 1 for 3, had 2 RBIs, scored 2 runs and hit the walk-off RBI double in the fifth inning that sealed the run-rule victory.

On defense, starting pitcher Hutson was a bit shaky and erratic allowing 4 hits and 4 runs (1 of which was earned) in the first three innings, which put San Jac in a 4-1 hole to start the game. Arrington attributed Hutson’s sub-par performance to natural “jitters” that are part of starting a critical game on a national stage. San Jac’s offense, which has scored 35 runs in three games in the tournament, plated 7 runs in the third inning, which led to Hutson qualifying for the win.

Even with an 8-4 lead, Arrington played it safe and brought in San Jac’s ace reliever Cody Nesbit (La Porte / La Porte High School) in the fourth inning. The sidewinding righty did what he has done so well throughout the season and the regional and national playoffs – he simply shut down the opposing hitters. Nesbit pitched two scoreless innings, facing nine batters, allowing one walk and only one hit.  

The JUCO World Series schedule of games, tournament bracket and live game feeds are available at the JUCO website, jucogj.org. The national title games of the 2016 NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series will be broadcast live in high definition on computers and mobile devices on MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball. Through the partnership with MLBAM, MLB.com will produce and air the live broadcast of the tournament’s championship game on Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4 (if necessary). In the booth for MLB.com will be MLB Network’s Scott Braun and four-time World Series champion Jeff Nelson. In addition, Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster Daron Sutton will provide in-depth interviews of players, coaches and tournament representatives.

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.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.