Wabash Valley baseball heading back to NJCAA nationals after district title
MT. CARMEL, Ill. (WFIE) - The Wabash Valley College baseball program has long been one of the perennial powers in junior college baseball. On Sunday, the Warriors proved once again why they are worthy of that accolade.
Wabash Valley won the NJCAA Division I Midwest District Championship with two victories over fellow junior college powerhouse, Iowa Western.
The Warriors entered Sunday with one loss in the double-elimination district tournament, meaning another defeat would result in the end of their season. Meanwhile, Iowa Western had yet to lose, and had already beaten the Warriors in the opening round, 12-4, which put Wabash Valley into the elimination bracket.
The Warriors never panicked though, routing John A. Logan College in a 13-0 victory on Thursday, and then beating South Suburban College in an 11-1 win on Saturday to put themselves into the championship round. Wabash Valley then had to beat Iowa Western twice.
The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders on Sunday, posting 21 runs for a 21-4 blowout win over Iowa Western. This was the fifth time this season that Wabash Valley has scored 20 or more runs in a game. That win then forced a winner-take-all championship game against the Reivers immediately thereafter.
Head coach Rob Fournier’s team carried their winning momentum right into the championship game, and with a trip to NJCAA nationals on the line, the Warriors defeated the Reivers again, 9-1, to win the district title.
With the district championship win, Wabash Valley baseball now heads to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Grand Junction, Colorado. The tournament starts on Saturday and it runs through June 4.
While in Grand Junction, Fournier is slated to be inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
With 26 years of service under his belt, Fournier’s teams have experienced immense success on the field and in the classroom. In his first year in 1996, he helped turn around a 12-34 team to a 37-16 mark in 1997. Since then, the standard of winning has remained intact. In the past 24 seasons, the Warriors have been ranked consistently in the Top-25 in the country and his teams have won 30 or more games every year. Fournier’s teams have over fifteen 40+ win seasons and have captured 13 regular-season Great Rivers Athletic Conference titles. Fournier led the 2017 Warrior team to a third-place finish at the NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series Championship. The 2019 team won 49 consecutive games and spent 8 weeks ranked at No. 1. The 2020 team also spent 3 weeks ranked No. 1 before the season was canceled due to COVID-19. Fournier has won the GRAC Coach of the Year Award 11 times.
In the past 24 seasons, the Warriors have sent players to four-year schools in the SEC, Big 12, MVC, C-USA, Sun Belt, Big 10, A-Sun, OVC and many others. Fournier has also developed players athletically and academically to play professionally, including helping 93 players get drafted or sign professional contracts. Fournier has accumulated 1,047 career wins and counting thus far.
The Warriors take on Snead State Community College on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Colorado.
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