By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The NJCAA Division II defending champions are back in the winners’ bracket.
Trae Hester pitched a scoreless 12⁄3 innnigs after surrendering the lead, and Garrett Deschamp hit a walk-off double as Louisiana State University-Eunice took a nip-and-tuck NJCAA Division II World Series opener Saturday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark, 4-3.
Buddy McCoy singled to open the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at three. Landon Thibodeaux tried to bunt pinch runner Keagan Kratzer into scoring position, tapping Lackawanna reliever Jordan Meyer’s pitch back to the mound. Meyer tried to throw out Kratzer at second, but threw wide of shortstop Ron Sherman, advancing Kratzer to third with no outs.
Four pitches later, Deschamp ended the game with a double over Lackawanna’s shallow outfield, halting the Bengals’ streak of stranding runners at12 in all.
“In the back my mind it was just no outs, get the ball in the outfield,” Deschamp said. “Keagan Krantz is one of the fastest people on the team. If I get it into the outfield, he’s scoring, so I saw the fastball and hit it as hard as I could.”
Ian Redetzky, nearly the hero of Saturday’s opener after twice giving Lackawanna the lead, hit Hester’s first pitch just past fully-extended LSU-Eunice second baseman Casey Rodrigue to score Cameron Johnson and put the Falcons up 3-2.
The mistake was just what Hester needed. The redshirt sophomore reliever struck out four of the game’s final six batters, the last to strand the Falcons’ lead run at second in the top of the ninth.
“When I walked (Lackawanna catcher Justin Litovzky) with one out in the top of the ninth, I’ve just got to refocus and pound the zone,” Hester said.
“We’ve been down in the first inning all year,” Deschamps said. “Nobody freaked out, nobody was stressing, we were just still having fun, even though it was the ninth inning, and we got it done.”
Meyer (4-2), the Falcons’ fourth pitcher of the morning, took the loss, recording one out, but giving up two hits and the game-winning run.
Lackawanna opened the scoring in the top of the first on an RBI double from Redetzky. Ned Kerr chopped the game’s first pitch past Thibodeaux at third, and after a Cameron Johnson walk, Redetzky hit a line drive to left center to score Kerr.
Kyle Booth flew out to left to end the inning with runners at second and third.
Falcon starter Jesse Montalto wiggled in and out of jams, but kept LSU-Eunice scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Thibodeaux tried to steal third, drawing a wide throw from Livotsky and scoring on the error.
Montalto took a no-decision after being replaced by Brian Vidal after allowing a home run to LSU-Eunice catcher Evan Powell and one unearned run on six hits with seven strikeouts and five walks 61⁄3 innings.
Abrunzo’s run-scoring hit to tie the game at 2 in the eighth chased a surprisingly shaky Domangue, who remains a national-best 13-2 after receiving a no-decision, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, five strikeouts and five walks in 71⁄3 innings.
The Falcons missed three chances at tallying at least one insurance run, striking out twice with runners at second and third in the eighth, and a third time with a runner at second in the ninth.
LSU-Eunice (49-8) will play Scottsdale (39-19), which defeated Grand Rapids 8-3 on Saturday, in a winners bracket contest at 7 p.m. Monday. Lackawanna (41-19) plays in the losers bracket at 3:30 p.m., today against Grand Rapids (27-27) in an elimination game.
Scottsdale 8, Grand Rapids 3
Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College powered its way past Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College 8-3 Saturday in an opening round game of the NJCAA Division II World Series at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
The Fighting Artichokes (39-19) were led in their 16-hit attack by Sam Rector’s two home runs — a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run round-tripper in Scottsdale’s decisive four-run fifth inning. Rector drove in four runs and was 3-4 in the game.
Scottsdale built up a 6-0 lead after five innings before Grand Rapids (27-27) got on the scoreboard by scoring all three of its runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Dylan VanPutten. Brian Portelli, who went 3-4, opened the scoring with an RBI single.
A pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth by Scottsdale provided the final margin of victory in the Artichokes’ 8-3 win.
Starting pitcher Colton Thomson went seven innings in earning the win for Scottsdale, allowing eight hits, while striking out two batters and walking three.
Grand Rapids starter Brendan Bender, who struck out four batters and surrendered five earned runs over 42⁄3 innings, took the loss.Կ