Delgado hesitates late, shares 2 games at Friday’s NJCAA South Central District Championship | Colleges
There is very little margin between success and failure in championship baseball, and Delgado proved it on Friday.
Just four outs separated the Dolphins from a Friday sweep of two of the top 10 teams in the NJCAA South Central District Championship. But with two outs and two strikes in the eighth inning against Crowder College of Missouri, it all came crashing down and Delgado will play with his season on the line Saturday after a 5-3 nightcap loss.
Leading 3-2 with two outs in the eighth, Delgado coughed up three runs on three consecutive base hits from Crowder’s No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters. The decisive hit came from right fielder Landrey Wilkerson, who reached through the plate on a two-hit pitch down and out to chain a two-run double edge to the left field corner.
“We allowed three straight two-out hits, either 0-2 or 1-2 (count), which is not good baseball,” Delgado coach Joe Scheurmann said.
Scheuermann made a pitching change early in that eighth inning, replacing his trusted right-hander Kaile Levatino (6-3) for southpaw Hunter Draper, who had thrown Crowder’s lineup off balance for 3⅓ sterling shutout innings. .
Although Levatino couldn’t find his putting away ground in the eighth, Scheuermann still felt good after the hit. Levatino has thrown in high-leverage situations for the Dolphins for much of the year, and Scheurmann has enjoyed the game against right-handers scheduled for the eighth.
Delgado had taken the lead in the top half of that eighth inning, courtesy of a booming two-run double from receiver JT Singletary. Those departures came after the Dolphins eventually chased Crowder starter Cody Adcock, a University of Arkansas draftee, out of the game.
Adcock had smothered Delgado’s lineup all night with his powerful repertoire – ’90s fastball and sharp breaking ball.
Delgado scored a run over Adcock early in the first, when Ethan Lege singled, advanced on some wild pitches, then scored on Singletary’s field. But Adcock locked himself in after that, allowing just two more hits until he left the game one out in the eighth.
“He was impressive,” Scheuermann said. “Above average bike. I don’t know what it was, but I know it gave us a rough ride for most of the game. We had a good swing in the first run against him…then we didn’t. never really had many quality swings until they released it.
With that loss, Delgado must now beat fifth-placed Crowder (52-10) twice to qualify for the NJCAA World Series. He will play in what is effectively a playoff game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
The Dolphins ensured they would play another day with a win over No. 7 Eastern Oklahoma State College in their opener on Friday.
In this game, second right-hander Logan Core was in no mood to intrigue.
Protecting a one-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, Core struck out three dangerous hitters to slam the door in a 4-3 win over an Eastern Oklahoma State College team that entered the day with only three losses in the entire season. .
The perfect ninth inning capped an impressive relief appearance for Core, who went 3⅔ innings scoreless after entering the game in a dangerous situation in the sixth. EOSC, which had lost its first game of the day to Crowder College, was eliminated from the postseason.
“How huge was that?” said Scheuermann. “He came in and did a fantastic job. He had control of his break ball and he used both sides of the plate.”
The Dolphins trailed when Core entered the game, but turned it around with a sixth-inning three-run.
Designated hitter Michael Stutes started this rally with a home run across the backcourt that went over the wall into left-center power alley. Stutes hammered in a pitch that broke through the wall despite a strong wind blowing in from the center right.
It was the biggest hit in a big game for Stutes, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to pace the Dolphins offensive drive. But Delgado took the lead for good with a small clutch ball performance.
Trailing 3-2, Hayden Kibbe got things going with a two-out single against EOSC starter Easten James (8-1), and he moved to second after Cade Prejeant was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced when EOSC receiver Parker Rowland was charged with a passed ball.
That brought first baseman Jacob Fury to the plate with two outs and two runners in scoring position. Fury hit a helicopter high on the right side of the infield, and EOSC second baseman Jonah Cox couldn’t handle a short jump, allowing Kibbe to tie the game as the ball rolled in shallow right field.
That knocked James out of the game and the Dolphins took the lead for good when EOSC reliever Caleb White uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Prejeant to score while standing.
The one-point lead should hold, as Delgado missed several opportunities to add more. EOSC third baseman Keniel DeLeon ended the Dolphins’ sixth-inning rally when he dunked Ethan Lege’s hot kick with the bases loaded, and the Dolphins blocked four more riders in their last two runs.
Delgado starting pitcher Turner Toms gave his team 5⅓ good innings, but coach Joe Scheurmann decided to retire him with one out and a third-in-six runner and the dangerous DeLeon at the plate. DeLeon had already snatched two doubles from Toms and Scheurmann didn’t risk a third.
He called on Core, who saved his own skin by stabbing a screaming understudy off DeLeon’s bat for his first outing. The rest of the way, EOSC managed to get two runners into scoring position, but Core blocked both.
“He’s the reason we’re going to play (Saturday),” Scheurmann said.