NEO baseball falls in Region II Tournament

Monty Franks

WOODWARD — Unable to overcome a seven-run deficit in the top of the
ninth inning, No. 4 seed Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College lost 17-15
Friday, May 11, in the winner’s bracket semifinals to Seminole State
College in the Division I Region II Baseball Tournament at Woodward’s
Crystal Beach park.
With the loss the Golden Norsemen snapped an 11-year string of seasons
above .500. NEO finished 25-27 on the year.
The season marked only the second sub-par season in coach Roger Ward’s
20-year stint as NEO’s head coach. The Golden Norsemen posted a 27-29
record in the 2007 season.
Defending regional champion No. 2 seed Seminole (41-10) won their 24th
Region II tournament with a 7-6 victory over No. 3 seed Eastern State
College (44-18) on Sunday, May 13.
The Trojans host the South Central District playoffs, Thursday, May 17
through Saturday, May 19 in Seminole. The Trojans have won 15 district
championships. The last one in 2009.
Teams also participating in the district playoffs are Jefferson
College of Hillsboro, Missouri, representing Region XVI (Missouri) and
Delgado Community College of New Orleans, Louisiana representing
Region XXIII (Louisiana).
Jefferson College (50-9-1) defeated Crowder College of Neosho,
Missouri, 7-4 on Saturday at Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin to win the
regional title.
Delgado (35-14) won the regional crown with an 11-1 route in five
innings over Baton Rouge Community College on Sunday, May 6.
Winner of the district playoffs advances to the NJCAA Junior College
World Series May 26-June 2 Grand junction, Colorado.
Under interim head coach James Martin, Seminole defeated No. 6 seed
Arkansas Baptist College (5-39) by a 21-2 score on Thursday, May 10,
to start the double-elimination tournament. The Trojans eliminated the
Norsemen on Friday.
The Trojans before edged past No. 4 nationally ranked and No. 1 seed
Connors State College (49-9) by 9-8 score on Saturday in the winner’s
bracket finals.
Former Trojan player Mark Chambers, currently an assistant head coach
at Broken Arrow High School, was selected May 2, to replace Martin as
head coach. Chambers played at Seminole in the early 1990’s.
Eastern’s Mountaineers opened the tournament with an 8-7 victory over
NEO on Thursday. After losing to Connors 11-5 on Friday, the
Mountaineers eliminated No. 5 seed Rose State College (18-34) on
Saturday.
The Mountaineers crushed Connors State, 26-13, in Saturday’s loser’s
bracket finals.
Seminole 17, NEO 15
A grand-slam homerun by Calem Nutting highlighted a five-run ninth
inning as the Golden Norsemen tried to overcome a seven-run deficit.
Colton Marion started the outburst with a walk. Bryson Lierle followed
with a single. After Matthew Patton struck out swinging, both base
runners advanced on a balk.
Pinch hitter Reece Thompson walked to fill the bases before Nutting
(8) connected on a full-count pitch to clear the bases.
Matthew Gaskins doubled and advanced to third on a balk by Seminole
reliever Gunner Halter. Pinch hitter Jordan Blackmon singled to left
scoring Gaskins for a 17-15 Norse deficit.
Dylan Bond replaced Halter on the mound and struck out NEO’s Erasmo
Mavarez on four pitches.
Troy Gagan lined out to Seminole third baseman DeShawn Lookout to end the game.
Seminole built a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning off NEO
starter Tanner Bramlage (5-4). Archer Brookman walked and came all the
way around to score on a RBI double by Russ Messina.
The Golden Norse grabbed a brief 2-1 lead in the top of the third
inning on a double by Marion and a two-run homer by Lierle (3).
A two-run single by Landen Kimbro highlighted a three-run rally by the
Trojans in the bottom of the third.
Doubles by Nutting, James Avery and Mavarez propelled the Norse to a
four-run fourth inning. Mavarez collected two RBI while Patton also
generated two runs batted in with a single as NEO regained the lead at
6-4 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Seminole received a two-run single by Kimbro and a three-run homer by
Dalton Reed (17) to take a 9-6 advantage at the end of the fourth
inning.
NEO responded with two runs in the top of the fifth on a single by
Nutting, a pinch-hit RBI double by Gaskins and a RBI single by Gagan
for a 9-8 deficit.
Jacob Schultz replaced Bramlage in the bottom of the fifth inning and
surrendered a pinch-hit solo homerun by Marc Labreaux (9) for a 10-8
Trojan lead.
Nutting continued his perfect plate appearance with a solo homer (7)
against Seminole reliever Brayden Taylor to start the sixth inning.
A grand-slam homer by Halter (19) highlighted a five-run sixth for
Seminole and created a 15-9 cushion.
Dekotah Jones replaced Schultz in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Dalton Reed doubled and scored on a RBI triple by Brookman. A passed
ball on a called third strike allowed Brookman to score Seminole’s
final run.
Singles by Dylan Taylor and Nutting along with a double by Mavarez
accounted for an NEO run in the top of the eighth inning.
Nutting collected five of the season-high 21 Golden Norse hits along
with five RBI. Lierle and Gaskins contributed three hits each while
Gagan, Marion and Mavarez added two hits each respectively. Patton,
Blackmon, Avery and Taylor each hit a single.
Kimbro, Reed, Lookout, Brookman and Treadway each had two of the 14
total Seminole hits.
Bramlage surrendered nine runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and
twoi walks in four innings of work.
Eastern 8, NEO 7
A leadoff double by Cody Muncy in the bottom of the ninth inning
enabled the Eastern Mountaineers to break a 7-7 tie in the opening
game of the Region II Tournament.
Courtesy runner Haven Hunter advanced to third base on a wild pitch by
NEO reliever Jared Demmel (1-1). After Cade Tucker grounded out to
third base, Hunter scored the winning run as Kolby Reck hit into a
fielder’s choice.
NEO tied the score in the top of the ninth on a double by Gagan and a
two-run homer by catcher Tyler Silva (4).
The Golden Norse built a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Nutting walked to start the frame. After Avery struck out, Mavarez (4)
drilled the first pitch from Ryan Kouba over the fence for a homerun.
Eastern scored a run in the bottom of the second inning. Patton walked
Reck to start the rally. After Chris Herb bounced into a fielder’s
choice sending Reck to second, Reed Webb singled scoring Reck for a
2-1 deficit.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Mountaineers
grabbed a 3-2 lead with a pair of unearned runs. Webb reached base on
an error by Gagan at second. After Devin Gummere walked, Anthony
Martinez walked to fill the bases.
Phillip Scott followed with a single scoring both Webb and Gummere.
The Mountaineers started a three-run outburst in the bottom of the
fifth inning with a solo homer by Muncy (10). Tucker followed with a
single before Herb hit the sixth pitch out of the park for his third
homerun and a 6-2 Mountaineer cushion.
A two out single by both Patton and Gagan started a three-run seventh
inning for the Norsemen. Nutting hit the third pitch out of the yard
for his sixth homer of the season and a 6-5 deficit.
Demmel replaced Patton to start the bottom of the sixth inning. After
a 1-2-3 sixth, Demmel allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the
seventh inning.
Tucker singled to left to start the frame. Reck popped out to right
before Herb reached on a fielding error by Patton at first base. On
the play, Tucker came around to score with Herb advancing to second.
NEO outhit Eastern by a 12-10 margin. Gagan collected three hits for
the Norsemen while Patton and Mavarez added two each respectively.
Gummere, Scott, Muncy and Tucker produced two hits each to pace the
Mountaineers.
As a starter, Patton gave up two runs on five hits with three
strikeouts 3.2 innings of work.
Gaskins allowed five runs on four hits with four strikeouts in three
innings of relief.
Demmel allowed one run on one hit with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings of relief.