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Highlanders undefeated in JUCO World Series

By Ken K. Green   Folks who went to Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado Tuesday night expected a baseball game but went away seeing a football score as Gordon beat second seed Jefferson (Mo.) 20-13 in the JUCO World Series. The tenth seed Highlanders advance to take on number eight seed San Jacinto-North (Tx.) Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. local time.    The Highlanders and Gators are the only two undefeated teams left in the double elimination tournament. Half of the field of ten has been eliminated. Jefferson jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first of what would be a see-saw affair and anybody’s game until the seventh inning as the game saw five lead changes. Gordon scored four times in their half of the first for a 4-2 lead and added two more runs while Jefferson scored once over the next two innings. The Vikings plated five runs in the fourth for an 8-7 lead. Gordon responded with five of their own in the firth to lead 12-8 only to see Jefferson score five in the sixth to recapture the advantage at 13-8. The Highlanders put the game away with a seven spot in their half of the sixth and added a run in the seventh. Drew Adams led Gordon’s 16 hit offensive outburst with four singles. The right fielder scored three times and drove home another three runs. Devin Bonin had a pair of doubles. Jody Stone homered and singled driving home four runs. Bobby Woodall also had four RBI as he hit a double. Grant Massey had a double and a single. Brian Jacobs and Aaron Mizell had two hits each and Christian Davila added a single. Chance Bridges was the only Highlander in the lineup without a base hit but he drew three base on balls as Gordon showed great patience at the plate once again drawing 14 walks. Stone and Mizell also walked three times each. Reliever Andrew Fessler got the win on the mound for Gordon pitching the final 3.2 innings and allowing one unearned run on no hits and a pair of walks while striking out three. Kenny Anderson started and pitched four innings yielding seven earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out four. Zach Smith pitched 1.1 innings of middle relief and gave up four earned runs and five walks while striking out one. Wednesday’s opponent, San Jacinto, has two wins in the series beating top seed Iowa Western 5-2 and fifth seed Neosho County 9-5. The Gators from Houston, Texas are 39-23 overall and made the tournament by winning the Region 16 tournament to earn the Southern District bid. San Jacinto is coached by Tom Arrington who is in his fifteenth season with a record of 531-101. The Gators are making their ninteenth appearance in the JUCO World Series (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012) having won the national tournament five times (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990). The Gators are led by center fielder Reggie Wilson who is hitting .667 with two doubles, a homer and a pair of RBI for the tournament and first baseman Esteban Gomez (.444 BA 3 RBI). Probable pitchers for Wednesday’s game are Anthony Banda (7-1, 2.01 ERA) for San Jacinto and Kevin Burgee (8-1, 5.02 ERA) or Josh Wirsu (3-3, 5.26 ERA) for Gordon. The Gordon/San Jacinto winner will face Iowa Western Thursday at 9:30 p.m. while the loser will face elimination against Shelton State Thursday at five o’clock. All JUCO World Series can be seen live on NJCAA TV by accessing www.njcaa,org on the world wide web.

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