MT. CARMEL, Ill. (WFIE) - After battling the entire weekend, on May 20 the Wabash Valley (54-4) baseball team entered the JUCO Northern District Championship series.
Facing off against a tough Iowa Western team, the Warriors had to beat the Reivers twice on Monday to advance to the National Tournament in Colorado.
The Reivers load them up early, but the Warriors’ pitching shuts that down with a strikeout to end the inning; Iowa Western was up 3-1.
Later, the Reivers have a man on first base when the pitch from 6′6″ Kelly is taken to deep right field for a 2-run home run. Iowa Western now up 5-1.
Next inning, Reivers have a man on again, but this time it’s Savier Pinales who picks up the chopper at short and gets the man at home that saves a big run there.
WVC needed to spark some offense in Game 1 to stay alive. That’s when Mason Sykes, with two men on base, hit a long-ball to center field.
The Warriors rode that momentum to an 11-8 win over Iowa Western to keep their Nationals dreams alive.
In game two it’s winner take all and a trip to Grand Junction, Colorado on the line.
The Warriors load them up early in the game for Noah Myers. The sophomore hits it into shallow left-field to score for three runs for Wabash. Warriors lead 3-2.
This game would go back-and-forth all day.
With a man on, a hard grounder is hit right through the gap of the Warriors’ defense. Iowa Western scores all the from second base to tie the game.
Next inning, the Warriors have a man on third, when Miguel Rivera skies this ball to deep center field. With only one out though, the runner tags-up to retake the lead for the Warriors.
But it’s a huge 4-run 9th inning by Iowa Western that puts the Warriors down by six now. Iowa Western and the Reivers are too much to handle.
WVC, drops the must-win game, 10-5 to end their season.
“It’s the most special team I’ve ever played for and we stuck together til the end," said Noah Myers, WVC sophomore outfielder. "Obviously it’s not the result we wanted, but I’m proud of all the guys and what we did this year. It was the best baseball year of my life. I love everyone of these guys, and it’s been a super awesome ride and it sucks it has to end now.”
“We have just great calmness about us, great confidence about us," said Rob Fournier, WVC head coach. "We scratch and claw, and we believe in ourselves. And it’s an awesome feeling when you’ve got guys- when you lose with a team life that and feel this good about a bunch, that’s special.”
“I couldn’t believe it was over," said Ryan O’Connell, WVC sophomore pitcher. "I’ve been battling here for so long and I didn’t want it to end. And ya know it hurt, but this is a great group of guys and they’re gonna gather behind me and pick me up. Our team is the grittiest team to ever play the game. No matter what happened, even in the last inning when we were done, we were still trying to fight and claw our way back in. It just shows our determination.”
The Warriors finished their incredible season as Northern District runners-up.