The saying third time’s a charm never rang truer than Saturday night when the Chipola Baseball team captured their third national championship last Saturday night in Grand Junction, Colorado. The win was a culmination of seven games, with the first game of the tournament an 8-6 loss to Walters State. Chipola had the last word though as they defeated Walters State by that same score Thursday, giving Walters State their first loss of the tournament. The pie got sweeter Saturday night when a back-and-forth contest against the same Walters State Senators went Chipola’s way 10-7, earning them their third national title.
Having played six games in seven days Chipola coach Jeff Johnson pulled every rabbit out of the hat when it came to pitching in Saturday’s game. Getting the starting nod was Jack Dellinger who went one and one-third innings, giving up three runs, two of those earned on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Andrew Grogan came on for four and two-thirds innings, gave up three earned runs on six hits, no walks and fanned six batters. Jared Howell threw one inning, gave up one run on one hit and one walk. The hero of the night, Phillip Sanderson took the mound for the final two innings. In the eighth inning, Sanderson had a flyout to right field and back-to-back strikeouts. The ninth and final inning was a strikeout, strikeout and a ground out to third with the pile on hitting the field as soon as the ball landed in Max Guzman’s glove from the throw by third baseman Julio Carrion.
Offensively, the Indians had a slow start with one run crossing the plate in the first inning. Edmond Americaan singled but was out on a fielder’s choice by Francisco Urbaez. Morgan McCullough doubled home Urbaez before the inning ended. Walters State tied it up in the bottom of the inning.
Chipola was three up, three down in the second with Walters State answering with two runs to take a 3-1 lead.
Chipola had a leadoff walk by Jordan Hollins in the third inning but no runs crossed the plate. Walters State had a single but a double play erased that hit and a strikeout ended the inning.
Chipola got one run back in the fourth inning when Francisco Urbaez led off with a walk, Morgan McCullough drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Max Guzman singled to load the bases for a sac fly to centerfield by Jared Howell to score Urbaez. Walters State added two runs in the fourth to go up 5-2.
Chipola had a quick answer in the top of the sixth with four runs crossing the plate. Urbaez led things off with a walk and McCullough following suit. A double by Max Guzman scored a run with Jared Howell loading the bases with a walk. With two outs, Jordan Hollins came up big with a two RBI single. David Meadows answered with an RBI single of his own before the last out was made but Chipola had moved ahead 6-5. The lead was short-lived with the Senators adding a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Chipola pulled ahead for good in the top of the seventh inning when they added three runs with one out on the board. McCullough, Guzman and Howell all singled, followed by a two-out double by Julio Carrion that scored the last two runs of the inning, giving the Indians a 9-6 lead. Walters State answered with one run in the bottom of the eighth.
Chipola added their final run in the eighth inning when Edmond Americaan took an 0-2 pitch out of the park to make it a 10-7 game. Walters State was held off the bases and off the scoreboard in the final two innings.