ACC Dolphins end run for JUCO World Series title, lose to Hawks 11-9
The Alvin Community College Dolphins ended their run for a JUCO World Series championship title in Grand Junction, Colo. with a loss to the Hagerstown Community College Hawks, of Hagerstown, Md., 11-9 during an elimination round on Wednesday.
“We played four games and had only two errors,” ACC Baseball Head Coach Bryan Alexander told reporters after the game. “I couldn’t have asked them to play any better or harder (during the tournament); we just couldn’t get on track today.”
The Dolphins won their first two games of the JUCO World Series against the 2006 champions, the Walters State Community College Senators of Morristown, Tenn., 13-7 in the opening game on May 24 and defending 2007 champions, the Chipola College Indians of Marianna, Fla., 11-8 on May 26. Walters State was eliminated from the tournament with a second loss to the Central Arizona College Vaqueros, of Coolidge, Ariz., 10-5 in a double-elimination round on Monday. The Hawks gave the Indians their second defeat, sending Chipola home with a score of 10-7.
A 10-8 loss to the Grayson County College Vikings, of Denison, Texas, in their third game on May 27, however, sent the Dolphins to their own double-elimination round with the Hawks, who lost to Grayson, as well, 18-2 in their opening game on May 25.
In their battle against Hagerstown, the Dolphins’ pitching team walked the Hawks 16 times during the game despite five changes at the mound. Five of those walks earned runs for the Hawks.
“It killed us,” Alexander said. “It was like giving them 16 hits without them having to do anything.”
Strong defensive plays, several well-positioned strikeouts and aggressive hitting by the Dolphins kept the damage to a minimum and ACC never fell behind more than two runs at the end of an inning.
At the top of the first inning, the Hawks’ Matt Greene hit a solo home run on the second pitch of the game from starter Drew Hudson, of Victoria. The Dolphins were able to strand the only other player to make it to base. With two outs, ACC’s Chris Herrmann, of Tomball, hit an RBI double to bring in Pablo Salinas, of League City, for their first run to tie the game 1-1.
The Hawks followed with two more runs at the top of the second, but allowed ACC’s Richard Porfirio, of Houston, to score with a 1-out balk. Blake Lynd, of Deer Park, and Jesse Husband, of Baytown, also hit RBI singles to bring in Giovanni Angel, of Pearland, and Hudson’s brother, Mark, to put ACC in the lead for the first and last time (4-3) at the bottom of the second.
Three runs for the Hawks and a solo home run by ACC’s Herrmann in the third inning brought the score to 6-5. In the fourth inning, ACC’s third pitcher at the mound allowed a walk with bases loaded before shutting the door which brought the Hawks’ score to 7-5. Hagerstown scored another run at the top of the fifth, but an RBI single by the Dolphins’ Clay Puckett, of Texas City, drove in Herrmann for a run and a two-run homer by Porfirio tied up the ball game 8-8.
The Hawks took the lead, again, in the seventh inning when Jacob Darr and Roland Thiele hit two RBIs that sent in David Zaminsk and Matt Byers. In the top of the ninth, ACC was able to strand three, but not before allowing Hagerstown to earn one last run.
With two outs at the bottom of the last inning, the Dolphins kept the game alive with singles by Adelaido Anaya, of Deer Park, and Angel. An RBI double by Mark Hudson put the score at 11-9 and the Dolphins in a position to tie the game. Lynd, who had dominated the JUCO World Series with outstanding hitting, base stealing and fielding, fell prey to a Hawks’ pitching change and earned the Dolphins’ final out of the tournament.
“I know they probably don’t feel well right now, but they have no idea how much the community supports them,” said Greg Roof, an ACC government instructor who has been following the progress of the team in the World Series with other colleagues. “They’re going to get a very warm reception when they come home.”
“It’s really good to see a team, like Bryan Alexander has put together, have so much success; it makes you proud of your school,” he added. “I’m so happy with the way they performed, not only on the field but in the classroom, as well. I had five or six baseball players in my classes this semester and they really studied. I think it’s because of their coach. He expects them to perform in the classroom, as well as on the field.”
The ACC Dolphins Baseball Team, which was the only team competing in the JUCO World Series that was composed of players from one state, earned the trip to Colorado after making a clean sweep in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIV Baseball Tournament and clinching the championship for the first time in the college’s history.