The Joliet Junior College baseball team defeated Niagara County Community College (NY) by a score of 6-5 in 10 innings to claim the NJCAA Division III World Series national championship May 24.
"This was a great week of baseball," said Coach Wayne King. "The kids played very well and came from behind twice in the championship game. I am so proud of them. The team put it all together at the right time."
The Wolves scored in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead off of a Trey Russell single to center field. Niagara would come back with two runs in the top of the 6th, but JJC tied it up 2-2 from a Casey Papp single at the bottom of the inning.
Russell had a sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the 7th to score Dakota Brown and take a 3-2 lead.
At the top of the 9th when Niagara was down to their last out, they rallied for two runs to take a 4-3 lead. Trey Russell singled up the middle in the bottom of the 9th, stole second base, and scored on a Rick Gazarek single to right field to tie it 4-4.
Niagara reclaimed the lead in the top of the 10th inning from a Joliet error. On their second comeback of the game, freshman third baseman Dakota Brown tripled to left field to score sophomore shortstop Cole Judy from first base to tie it up again 5-5. The game winning run came from a sacrifice fly from freshman second baseman Luke Andrade that scored Brown from third base.
This is the third time in the program’s history (1994, 2008) and second time in Tyler, Texas that the Wolves have claimed a national championship. JJC finished their season with a 37-29 overall record, going 4-0 in the World Series.
Wolves Closer to National Title at NJCAA Division III World Series
The Joliet Junior College baseball team is one game away from a national championship at the NJCAA Division III World Series in Tyler, Texas.
JJC is scheduled to play on Wednesday, May 23, at 7 p.m. against an opponent yet to be determined. The Wolves (36-29 overall) have gone 3-0 this past weekend at the World Series. If the Wolves win, they will be crowned as national champions. If they lose, they will have another shot on Thursday, May 24, at 7 p.m. because of double elimination play.
In game one on May 19, JJC routed Nassau Community College (NY) by a score of 10-0 in 6 innings. Luke Andrade (2B, RBI) and Dan Eliopulos (3 RBI’s) paced the Wolves with two hits each.
Trevor Vermillion picked up the win on the mound. He struck out seven batters in 6 innings. Joliet defeated World Series host Tyler Junior College (TX) on May 20 with a 7-5 final score. The Wolves rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to push ahead. Cole Judy and Dan Eliopulos finished with two hits in the contest.
Austin Vazquez received the pitching win, while Jonathan Rosario earned the save. JJC earned their next victory against Northern Essex Community College (MA) with an 8-2 score. Luke Andrade (2B) and Dan Eliopulos (RBI) had three hits each. Alex Parks was the game winner on the mound.
Head Coach Wayne L. King, Jr. had led his teams to eleven NJCAA Division III World Series appearances. Joliet Junior College has not been in the NJCAA Division III World Series championship game since 2008, when they won it all. King, who is in his 26th year of coaching, has accumulated two national championships (1994, 2008) and has over 900 wins at Joliet.
Wolves Baseball Team Heads to NJCAA Division III World Series
The 2012 Joliet Junior College baseball team will play in the NJCAA Division III World Series at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas this week.
The Wolves (33-29) will face Nassau Community College (NY, 26-16) in the opening round of play on Saturday, May 19 at noon.
This is the 11th appearance for JJC at the NJCAA Division III World Series since 1992.
This season, the Wolves’ journey to the World Series began on May 5 when JJC earned victories against Rock Valley College and Waubonsee Community College in the sectional semi-finals.
The Wolves faced Rock Valley College again on May 6 in the Sectional Championship. In a hard-fought game, JJC earned a 3-1 victory to advance to the Region IV Championship series.
The team continued to play hard in a best-of-three series with Milwaukee Area Technical College. In game one against Milwaukee, JJC fell at home by a score of 9-7. On the road in Milwaukee the next day, the Wolves scored an 18-2 victory.
The final game of the Region IV Championship series was held back at home on Wayne L. King, Jr. Field. Despite being down 5-0 in the first inning, the Wolves fought their way back inning by inning. By the fourth inning, JJC had bounced back with a 10-5 score. Milwaukee made a push in the late innings, but the Wolves edged them out with a 12-11 final to claim the Region IV Championship title.
JJC Head Coach Wayne L. King, Jr. has led his teams to ten prior trips at the NJCAA Division III World Series including two national championships (1994, 2008), two national runner-up finishes (1995, 2007), and two third place finishes (1997, 2006).
King, who is in his 26th season with the Wolves, earned his 900th career victory on April 10 in a 12-4 win against Harper College.