Thu, May. 10, 2012 - [Baseball]
The Seminole State Trojan baseball team brought home a 14-6 win over Connors State, its fourth win of the season over the Cowboys. The victory was earned during the first round of the 2012 NJCAA Region II Division I Baseball Tournament being held Thursday through Sunday in Jenks, Oklahoma. With the lopsided win, second seeded Seminole advances to play fourth seeded Eastern Oklahoma State in second round winner's bracket action at 3:30 pm on Friday . Eastern defeated third seeded Rose State by a score of 9-6 in the first of three first-round games today. To follow the Trojans online vist the Game Changer website: http://www.gamechanger.io/t/spring-2012/seminole-state-trojans-4eedc19c6c1a045149000003. The site is kept up to date throughout the entire game with play by play information. The App can be downloaded on your cell phone by searching for "Game Changer Live" in the search bar.
Trojan ace left-hander Billy Waltrip (Braggs, Oklahoma) got the start for Seminole but had control issues throughout his 4 1/3 innings of work. Acting head coach Brady Huston said after the game "Early in the game we weren't as sharp as you'd like to be on the mound, but our offense pushed a couple of runs across which took some pressure off." Connors scored a run in the top of the first inning on one hit with the help of two Waltrip walks and a wild pitch. The Trojans aswered with some run production of their own in the bottom of the frame to take their first lead of the contest. Jose Olazagasti (Collinsville, OK) started the rally with a one-out double to right-center field. Cisco Factor (Yukon, OK) moved Olazagasti to third with a base hit to left field. Factor drew an errant throw to second base while stealing during the next at bat which allowed Olazagasti to score from third and even the score at one apiece. After Justin Steelmon (Broken Arrow, OK) lined out to right field, Frank Arena (Stillwater, OK) drove home the go-ahead run with the Trojan's second double of the inning to right-center field.
After a scoreless second inning, the only scoreless inning of the game, Connors pushed a run across in the top of the third to tie the game temporarily at 2-2. Similar to the first inning, the Trojans answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. After loading the bases with three walks, Jon Davis (Tulsa, OK) poked a grounder through the infield with two outs to bring home two runs and make it 4-2.
The fifth inning would prove to be the pivotal frame of the encounter. With the score 5-3 to start the Connor's half of the inning, Waltrip seemingly retired the first batter of the inning swinging on a pitch in the dirt. However, Trojan catcher Mitchell Osburn (Broken Arrow, OK) failed to make the throw to first to record the put-out on the dropped third strike play and the Connors batter reached first with no out recorded. He then compounded the issue when Waltrip recorded his fifth strikeout against the next batter by throwing an off-target pick off attempt to first after strike three. The error allowed the Connors runner at first to advance to scoring position at second. Coach Huston had seen enough when Waltrip walked the next batter for his seventh walk in four plus innings and pulled him in favor of right-handed reliever Michael Bonner (Sugar Land, TX).
Bonner then closed out the inning allowing a one-out bloop single to left that scored the leadoff hitter from second and thus concluded Waltip's pitching line. For the game, Waltrip pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing four runs on five hits with five strikeouts and seven walks. After five and a half innings, Seminole was clinging to an increasingly tense 5-4 advantage. Frank Arena struck out looking to start the Trojan fifth. Jon Davis walked and Ryan Wilson (Owasso, OK) reached first and forced Davis to second when the Connors State third baseman mishandled his hard hit grounder toward the hole at short. With runners at first and second and one out, Horace Johnson (Raymore,MO) crushed a pitch over the left-centerfield fence for a three run homer to give Seminole an 8-4 lead it would never relinquish. The Trojans would score two more runs that inning on a run-scoring double by Olazagasti and an RBI single by Steelmon to make it 10-4.
From that inning on, the boys in blue flirted with rendering the game a run rule affair. The closest they would come would be in the eighth inning when after the score had ballooned to 13-5 in the seventh, they had the bases loaded with no outs. Unfortunately, they only managed to bring one run across that inning on a wild pitch due, in part, to some poor base running. Connors managed a solo home run in the top of the ninth off of Thursday's mop-up duty closer, Billy Love (Fletcher, OK).
Coach Huston applauded his pitching staff for their combined effort for the winning cause. "Our bullpen gave us quality innings and we executed late," said the young Trojan skipper. Bonner (2-0) was credited with the win and contributed 2 2/3 innings allowing one run on three hits while recording three strikeouts. Matt Contreras (Grand Prairie, TX) set up the finish with a scoreless eighth inning allowing one hit and a walk, while registering a strikeout. Billy Love allowed one run, the solo home run, on two hits and a walk in the ninth to seal the victory.
Seminole will need to win at least four games this weekend to advance to the NJCAA South Central District playoffs next weekend. Today was an encouraging beginning for Trojan faithful.