Joliet Survives Extra-Inning Thriller for DIII Baseball National Championship
May 24, 2012
In one of the most dramatic games in the history of the NJCAA DIII Baseball World Series, Joliet Junior College (Ill.) scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat Niagara County Community College (N.Y.) 6-5 – claiming the program’s third national championship.
Joliet’s late-game heroics began with freshman third baseman Dakota Brown’s triple to left field that scored sophomore shortstop Cole Judy from first base to knot the game up at 5-5. The game was sealed in the next at-bat as freshman second baseman Luke Andrade hit a sacrifice fly to right field that brought Brown home for the national championship-winning run.
The nail-biting finish began in the top of the 9th inning when the Thunderwolves of Niagara were down to their last out, trailing 4-3. Niagara freshman shortstop Kyle Craig singled to right field, bringing freshman catcher Jake Meehan in for the game-tying run. Craig then scored the go-ahead run on a double by sophomore third baseman T.J. Giczkowski.
Down to their last out in the bottom of the 9th, Joliet turned to sophomore right fielder Richard Gazarek who singled in to right. Sophomore left fielder Trey Russell rounded third base for a decisive play at home. Meehan made the catch at home plate and turned for the tag that would have sealed a Thunderwolves’ victory and forced a second game. Russell was called safe at the plate however, tying the game at 4-4 and forcing extra-innings.
Niagara reclaimed the lead in the top of the 10th inning when Meehan scored off a Joliet error. Freshman left fielder Nick Kellner tried to score from second on the play but was thrown out going for home to retire the side.
Following Brown’s game-clinching run, Joliet stormed Mike Carter Field and hoisted the national championship trophy for the third time in program history (1994, 2008) and second time in Tyler, Texas. The Wolves finished their season with a 37-29 overall record, going 4-0 in the World Series.
Relive the action and watch replays of all 14 games of the 2012 NJCAA DIII Baseball World Series through NJCAA TV.
2012 NJCAA DIII Baseball World Series All-Tournament Team
Casey Papp (C) – Joliet JC, Ill.
Eric Barbieri (IF) – Gloucester CC, N.J.
Jeremy Christian (IF) – Tyler JC, Texas
Dan Eliopulos (IF) – Joliet JC, Ill.
Nick Kellner (OF) – Niagara CCC, N.Y.
Michael Orlowski (OF) – Niagara CCC, N.Y.
Lucas Reynolds (OF) – Northern Essex CC, Mass.
Jon Corbi (P) – Niagara CCC, N.Y.
Cody Ellerbee (P) – Tyler JC, Texas
Corey Fitzgerald (P) – St. Cloud CCC, Minn.
Costa Tingas (P) – Northern Essex CC, Mass.
Trevor Vermillion (P) – Joliet JC, Ill.
Luke Andrade (IF) – Joliet JC, Ill.
Coach of the Tournament
Wayne King – Joliet JC, Ill.