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home : sports : sports August 19, 2017

6/2/2017 10:01:00 AM
Statesmen eliminated in district semis
Sports Editor

A strong start quickly went south for Lincoln Trail College's baseball team at the NJCAA Northern District Tournament over the weekend (May 19-21).

The Statesmen had all three of their games decided by double figures, but they came out on the wrong side of two of them and were eliminated from the tournament on Sunday.

Following a strong end to the regular season and an undefeated run through the Region 24A Tournament, Lincoln Trail opened with a 14-3 win over Triton College Friday, but then dropped back-to-back games to Wabash Valley (12-1) and Indian Hills Community College (15-3) Sunday to end their tournament run.

"Our postseason run started about mid-April," LTC head coach Kevin Bowers said. "We have been playing about .750 baseball since then. I always felt this club was capable of doing what they did. It took a little time for the guys to settle into their roles, but once they did, we started to hit our stride."

In their opener Friday, Lincoln Trail fell behind early after giving up two runs in the bottom of the first, but quickly responded with three in the top of the second to take a 3-2 lead. Triton would tie the game with a run in the bottom of the inning, only for LTC to score 11 unanswered runs to pull away for the win. The Statesmen took the lead for good with two runs in the third, then plated five in the fourth and four more in the fifth.

The game was stopped after five innings due to the 10-run rule.

Coby Taylor led the offense for LTC with a home run, a triple, three runs scored and a run batted in, while Jordan Brewer homered singled, knocked in three runs and scored twice. Raul Hernandez also homered, scored three times and drove in a pair of runs, Corey Chambliss singled three times, knocked in two runs and scored a run, Tucker Greer singled twice and scored two runs, Joshua Crispin and Layne Peavler added two singles, a run batted in and a run scored apiece, Jose Ramos singled twice and drove in a pair of runs and Bryant Shellenbarger drove in a run and scored a run.

Mychal Witty picked up the win on the mound, allowing three runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out four in five innings.

In Friday's other game, Wabash Valley College downed Indian Hills Community College, 4-1.

After being rained out Saturday, play resumed Sunday, with the Statesmen falling to Wabash Valley in a winner's bracket game, 12-1.

Neither team scored in the first, but Wabash Valley took control with five runs in the top of the second. Lincoln Trail got a run back in the bottom of the inning, only for Wabash Valley to respond with four in the third and three in the fourth to pull away for the win.

The game was stopped after five innings due to the 10-run rule.

Ramos led LTC at the plate with a double and a run batted in, while Brewer singled and scored a run and Chambliss added a base hit.

Logan Teague suffered the loss on the mound, allowing eight runs, only three of which were earned, on six hits, while walking three and striking out one in two and one-third innings. Julian Alverio gave up four runs, three earned and walked two in an inning of relief and Jackson Niehaus allowed a hit, walked three and struck out two in one and two-thirds innings.

That set up an elimination game against Indian Hills Community College, who had eliminated Triton with a 5-2 win earlier in the day.

Lincoln Trail fell behind 2-0 after the first inning, but got a run back in the top of the second, only for Indian Hills to come back with four in the bottom of the inning to make the score 6-1. The Statesmen plated another run in the top of the third, while Indian Hills exploded for nine in their half of the inning to extend their advantage to 15-2. Lincoln Trail was able to push one more run across in the fourth, but were unable to get any closer.

Once again, the game ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule.

Brewer led LTC at the plate with two singles and a run batted in, while Keaton Sackett singled and drove in a run. Hernandez and Taylor each singled and scored a run, Ramos added a pair of base hits, Peavler singled, Chambliss knocked in a run and Crispin scored a run.

Kaleb Huxford took the loss on the mound, allowing six runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out two in one and two-thirds innings. Nate Beavers gave up four runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning, Brad Busald allowed three runs on one hit and two walks without retiring a batter and Nate Thomas allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out one in one and two-thirds innings.

"You can't walk guys and kick the baseball in championship baseball and that's what happened to us Sunday," Bowers said. "We hadn't done that up to that point and it cost us. But, it doesn't tarnish what we did. We were two wins away from the World Series and anytime you can accomplish that, you have to feel good about it."

Indian Hills advances to take on Wabash Valley in the championship round today starting at noon, with the winner advancing to the NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., May 27-June 3.

Lincoln Trail ended its season with a 32-23 record.

"These guys battled through some stuff and I couldn't be any prouder," Bowers said. "We were in the final 30 and we'll take that every time. I'm very pleased with what they did and am excited with what we've got coming back. We lose some incredible pieces that will be hard to replace, but we also have a lot coming back."

2017 NJCAA Northern District Baseball Tournament

At Mt. Carmel

Lincoln Trail College 032 54 - 14 16 1

Triton College 210 00 - 3 5 2

WP - Mychal Witty 5IP, 3R, 3ER, 5H, 2BB, 4K. LP - O'Reilly 3IP, 8R, 7ER, 11H, 0BB, 0K; Whiteman 1.1IP, 5R, 3ER, 3H, 1BB, 2K; Holets .2IP, 1R, 1ER, 2H, 0BB, 0K. 3B - Taylor (LT). HR - Taylor (LT), Brewer (LT), Hernandez (LT), Lambert (TC).

Wabash Valley College 054 30 - 12 7 0

Lincoln Trail College 010 00 - 1 3 3

WP - Shyrock 4IP, 1R, 1ER, 3H, 2BB, 4K; Thompson 1IP, 0R, 0H, 1BB, 1K. LP - Logan Teague 2.1IP, 8R, 3ER, 6H, 3BB, 1K; Julian Alverio 1IP, 4R, 3ER, 0H, 2BB, 0K; Jackson Niehaus 1.2IP, 0R, 1H, 3BB, 2K. 2B - Ortiz (WV), Watkins (WV), Ramos (LT).

Lincoln Trail College 011 10 - 3 8 1

Indian Hills CC 249 0x - 15 13 1

WP - DeLeon 5IP, 3R, 3ER, 8H, 4BB, 1K. LP - Kaleb Huxford 1.2IP, 6R, 6ER, 5H, 2BB, 2K; Nate Beavers .2IP, 4R, 4ER, 3H, 2BB, 0K; Brad Busald 0IP, 3R, 3ER, 1H, 2BB, 0K; Nate Thomas 1.2IP, 2R, 2ER, 4H, 1BB, 1K. 2B - Pena (IH) 2, Capps (IH).

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