Polk State College Baseball fell 9-5 to Jefferson College on Monday during the second round of the NJCAA JUCO World Series.
With Eagles righty Brian Johnson on the mound, the Jefferson College (Mo.) Vikings took an early, 0-1 lead in the bottom of the first, but things got really grim for the Eagles an inning later, when the Vikings tacked on five more runs.
The Vikings broadened their lead by one in the bottom of the fourth, moving the score to 0-7.
The Eagles’ Matt Singletary posted the team’s first run in the top of the sixth, batted in by pitcher Alec Asher, who is serving as designated hitter for an injured Brett Jones.
Polk had a brighter seventh inning, as Conor Szczerba (2b) and Colt Hankamer (RHP/OF) both snagged runs, but the Vikings responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the seventh — a half-inning that also saw a pitching shuffle for the Eagles, with (RHP) Kevin Gude taking over for Johnson, only to be replaced five batters later with (RHP) Chris Waltermire.
Polk’s Kyle Chastain (3B/OF) scored in the top of the eighth, but the Vikings came right back with a matching run in the bottom of the inning, now hitting off (RHP) Trey Norris.
In the top of the ninth, Polk State put up a last-gasp run by Michael Danner, (OF), but the deficit to the Vikings proved too deep.
Polk State Head Coach Al Corbeil said the game was one of missed opportunities.
“We didn’t play real well. We gave up too much to a good team,” he said. “We had chances to score and get into it, but we didn’t capitalize on those chances.
“They’re going to have to bounce back and show up with more intensity,” Corbeil said of Tuesday’s elimination game against Shelton State Community College (Ala.).
The Eagles take the field at Grand Junction, Colo.’s Sam Suplizio Field at 1 p.m. (EST). All games can be seen live at http://www.ihigh.com/njcaatv/.
The game was not without its highlights, particularly a school-record-setting 40th stolen base by Szczerba in the top of the fifth.
“It’s more about the system than me,” Szczerba said, crediting his coaches for their instruction in base stealing.