Grand Junction, CO
A new location, same result for Team 44. Iowa Western rallied back after an early deficit and then held off 3rd ranked Chattahoochee Valley, 7-6, to advance at the JUCO World Series at Suplizio Field.
Starting pitcher Sean Chandler pitches 6 innings, striking out 9 and reliever Keaton Winn closed out the Pirates to earn the win. Both pitchers allowed 7 hits and 3 runs, but managed to shut down Chattahoochee Valley when it mattered most. CVCC was only 7-23 with runners on base with IWCC turning a pair of double plays to get out of trouble situations.
After falling down 1-0 in the 1st, the Reivers struck in the Top of the 3rd with 2-outs. After a pair of strikeouts by Pirates starter Casey Cobb, leadoff hitter Tyler Reichenborn was hit on the leg to prolong the inning. Starting SS Kobe Hyland blasted the very next pitch over the 340 foot sign on the right field wall to put Iowa Western in front 2-1. Ronald Sweeny battled to earn an infield single when miscommunication left 1st base unoccupied on a chopper to the right side. 1st baseman Ryan Sullivan followed with a homerun over the 'mini monster' in left to stake the Reivers to a 4-1 lead.
Chattahoochee Valley managed a crooked number in their half of the 5th to slice Coach Rardin's squad's lead to just 1, but Chandler got out of the inning with runners still at the corners for CVCC.
Winn replaced Chandler in the 7th after the Tulane commit had reached 103 pitches in his 6 innings and the Pirates promptly started a rally. A leadoff single by CVCC catcher Jack Lipson led off the inning with a single and move to 2nd when Davis Schwartz was grazed with a 1-0 pitch from Winn. After the 2nd strikeout of the inning by Winn, Jason Rooks singled to left to score Lipson. Winn collected his 3rd strikeout to end the inning with the game knotted at 4.
Hyland wasted no time in the 8th chasing Cobb after the Houston commit singled to lead off the inning. The Reivers SS then stole second before Ryan Sullivan was plunked by reliever Sawyer Steele to move him to 1st base. Rightfielder Brandon Bena then followed with an RBI-single to left scoring Hyland, Sullivan and Bena both advanced a bag after a miscue by Chattahoochee's leftfielder Tre Kirklin. Sophomore catcher Tanner Holen struck quickly against Joe Gahm, CVCC's 2nd reliever of the inning, flying out to deep right for a sacrifice to drive in Sullivan, making the score 6-4. The Reivers would add 1 more in the Top of the 9th as Ross Indlecoffer scored on an error by Pirates SS Jay Meuse.
The run proved to be crucial as Chattahoochee Valley added a pair of runs in the bottom of the 9th before Winn struck out 1st baseman Kale Ledford to end the game. The Mississippi State recruit struck out 6 in his 3 innings of work.
The win moves the Reivers on in the winners' bracket where they'll play College of Southern Idaho Monday at 8:30 CST. The Golden Eagles advanced with a 4-2 win over Temple College in the tournament's opening game. Jake Ryan and Travis Jacobson will again be on the call on Iowa Western's 100k watt FM radio station, 89.7 the River. Pregame is scheduled for 8:10 and can be heard worldwide at http://897theriver.com/stream.asp or on your smart device using the TuneIn radio app (free at the App store).
The win moves 'Team 44' up in the all-time victories list into a tie for 4th with 2015's squad.
The 2012 team still owns the record for most victories in a season, their 62-6 mark will remain untouched regardless of the result of the 2018 World Series.