I decided the NJCAA Div. II World Series and our beloved Bengals baseball team, ranked number 1 nationally going into the championship Series, would make a blogworthy topic for the upcoming week, so here goes.
The Bengals won game 1 Saturday evening against Monroe CC (NY) in an unaccustomed fashion: they had to not only come from behind, but come from seriously behind, overcoming a five run deficit that started the first inning when Monroe got to our ace for a couple of lead-off walks followed by a series of base hits. But the Bengals chipped away at the deficit, a run here and a run there, tying the game in the eighth and then winning dramatically in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off grandslam by infielder Joran Bourque.
What stuck out in this game? The following to me:
- Starter ace Chance Mistric showed a lot of heart, getting off to such a miserable start (the ump didn’t help!), giving up five runs in the first, but holding Monroe to only two runs the rest of the complete game that he pitched. In the ninth inning, he was still firing up 90+ mph fast balls.
- This young, untested team’s perseverance (untested b/c they rarely faced having to bounce back from dramatic deficits all season long). They showed the patient character we weren’t certain they would have when the test came. That test came Saturday, and these guys were up to it.
- Monroe gave up several unearned runs–3 defensive errors. LSUE gave up zero unearned runs–0 defensive errors. Arguably, Monroe’s defensive lapses were the difference in the game; LSUE’s defensive perfection stands in striking contast.
- Sure, Jordan Bourque (photo to the right) gets the heroe’s welcome for the dramatic grand slam blast to end the game, but this was one of the most impressive team wins of the season. Every scrappy run the Bengals scored leading up to the bottom-of-the-ninth finish–in addition to every run they didn’t give up due to good pitching and defense–was crucial in the outcome.
It’s a long series and a hard row to plow for the Bengals, but I have to imagine that the rest of the field of teams is looking at LSUE as the team to beat. I’ve watched these kids all year long, and I sure think they are!