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JDCC ousted from World Series

By By Earl McKenzie
Staff Writer
The top eight Division II Junior College baseball teams converged on USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn., Saturday for the World Series.
The Jefferson Davis Community College Warhawks were one of the eight, unfortunately, two consecutive losses eliminated the team from the tournament and marked the conclusion of the dream for the championship.
The Warhawks lost to Mercer County, of Newark, N.J., 5-4, and to Copiah-Lincoln, of Wesson, Miss., 7-4. JDCC fell behind early in both contests and could not overcome the deficits.
JDCC coach Keith Griffin said the team didn't play well enough to win.
"We didn't pitch very well. The same two guys who threw in the regional didn't throw very well. Kyle (Middleton) was wild and we never recovered," Griffin said.
"We left 12 men on base. Even though our pitching wasn't good in game one, when you leave 12 men on base and get beat, 5-4 – it wasn't pitching that got you beat."
Griffin said defensive mistakes also hurt the team.
"We made a couple of big errors that led them to their fourth and fifth runs, which proved to be the deciding runs," he said.
"In game two, Aaron (Hunt) wasn't very sharp and (Co-Lin) swung the bat well. They had four hits the day before and they had a day to recover, where we had four hours. They went and made some adjustments and did a good job.
"We really played well at the end and tried to get back in (the game) but they brought in their closer and we hit into a double play."
Griffin said the team played like they were capable of doing during the last four innings of the second game.
"I thought we really played good the last three or four innings of game two, but other than that, the nine innings of game one and the first five or six innings of game two we didn't play very good baseball," he said.
"You hate to say you get what you deserved, but we didn't play well enough to win, and that's exactly what took place."
According to Griffin, the Warhawks could have won the tournament if they played their best baseball.
"It was a tournament that if we played our best game we could have won. If you don't play your best game, you are back in two, just like we were," he said.
"Considering we went to the World Series – it was a great year."
JDCC 4, Mercer County 5
The Warhawks began the World Series against the Vikings of Mercer County.
JDCC scored the initial run of the game in the top of the first. B.J. Weed led off with a single. He then stole second and scored on two consecutive throwing errors.
Kyle Middleton went to the mound to start the game for JDCC. Middleton had a subpar performance and lasted only one inning. He walked the first two Viking batters. A triple by Matt Slaiciunas and a single by Mike McGill plated three runs and gave the Vikings a 3-1 lead after one inning of play.
Middleton went to the hill to begin the second inning, but after walking the leadoff batter, was lifted for relief pitcher, Josh Ring. Although loading the bases, the Vikings failed to score in the inning.
An unearned run in the bottom of the third, the result of one hit and two Warhawk errors, extended Mercer County's lead to 4-1.
Philip Slusher led off the top of the fourth with a double for JDCC. Singles by David Crenshaw and Dusty Lyles plated Slusher.
The Warhawks closed the gap to 4-3 after scoring one run in the seventh. Weed and Brandon Long led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Slusher then drew a base on balls. Matt Candler, with two out and the bases loaded, stepped to the plate and picked up an RBI after being hit by a pitch.
Mercer County added what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the eigthh off Nick McCurdy, the Warhawks' closer. The Vikings had four hits and left two runners on base during the inning.
Trailing 5-3, the Warhawks entered the ninth inning. Mike Kerins singled with one out. After a ground out by Slusher, Crenshaw doubled and scored Kerins. Robby Roberson entered the game as a pinch runner for Crenshaw. Candler then drew a walk. With the tying run on second and go-ahead run on first, Lyles was called out on strikes.
The Warhawks fell into the loser's bracket as a result of the 5-4 loss.
JDCC 4, Copiah Lincoln 7
Due to the rain delay and the opening game loss, the Warhawks were forced to play a double header Sunday. The second game was a 7-4 loss to Copiah-Lincoln, also known as Co-Lin, of Wesson, Miss.
The second game began much as the first, with the opponent jumping ahead in the first inning and the Warhawk starting pitcher being pulled early in the game.
Aaron Hunt, the JDCC starter, lasted 2 2/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) and eight hits.
Sammy Carter relieved Hunt in the third inning with two outs. He gave up two earned runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings of work.
The Co-Lin Wolves scored two runs in the top of the first on three hits and one JDCC error.
The Wolves then scored three runs on four hits in the top of the third.
Co-Lin then pushed the lead to 7-0 in the top of the fifth after scoring two runs on three hits.
The Warhawks began to mount a comeback attempt in the bottom of the fifth. Long tripled and scored the Warhawks' initial run on a ground out to second by Hastings.
After picking up only three hits during the first six innings, the Warhawk bats began to show signs of life in the seventh, when the team had five hits and scored three runs.
Crenshaw led off the inning with a single and scored on a double by Candler. Sacha Eli then entered the game as a courtesy runner for Candler, the JDCC catcher. Following a fly out by Long and a ground out by Hastings, Roberson doubled, scoring Eli. Following a single by Weed, Roberson scored on a single by Haney. Kerins stepped into the batter's box as the potential tying run, but a running catch by the Wolves' centerfielder ended the inning.
The Warhawks concluded the 2000 season with 37 victories and 22 defeats.