Iowa Western Rallies to Beat San Jac to win Second National Title in Three Years
June 4, 2012
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A two-run rally in the top of the ninth inning lifted Iowa Western Community College over San Jacinto College-North (Texas) 6-5 in the title game of the 2012 NJCAA Division I World Series Saturday (June 2) at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo.
The national championship is the second (2010) in three seasons for the Reivers, who entered this year’s tournament ranked No. 1 in the final NJCAA DI baseball poll.
Down 5-4 heading into the top of the ninth inning, IWCC’s Keaton Steele got on base via a walk. Pinch-hitter Grant Kay then effectively pushed a bunt past pitcher A.J. Glasshof for a base hit. A sacrifice bunt by Steven Leonard moved Steele and Kay to third and second base with just one out.
Brett Bass then looped a soft line-drive into left field to score Steele and tie the game at 5-5. Skylar Janisse then took the hill for San Jac and struck out Sam Bumpers. Janisse walked Damek Tomscha to load the bases. Levi Meyer then stepped up for Iowa Western with two outs and the bases loaded. Janisse took to the mound and was immediately called for a balk. All four infield umpires threw their hands up and made the call. The unfortunate misstep plated Kay to give the Reivers a 6-5 lead.
Iowa Western (62-6) head coach Marc Rardin turned to Steele to close out the Gators in the bottom of the ninth. Steele struck out Tyler West and Reggie Wilson for the first two outs. Justin Byrd tripled down the right field line to put the game-tying run just 90-feet away for San Jac. However, Steele came back and forced Kirby Taylor to hit a ground ball to shortstop Brandon Tierney who tossed a strike over to first basemen Gabriel De Varona for the final out.
For San Jacnto (41-25) the loss marked the program’s fourth runner-up finish since 2003 (2003, ’04, ’10).
Steele was named the Preston Walker Tournament MVP after going 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and three RBI in the title game. He also picked up the save in relief. For the tournament he hit .444 and scored eight runs. He picked up two saves on the hill and gave up just one hit and no runs in two full innings of work.
The Reivers took the most difficult path to the national championship after losing their opening game of the tournament to San Jac 5-2. The Reivers cruised through the consolation bracket and eliminated Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.), Western Nevada and Neosho County (Kan.). An impressive 10-0 rout of Gordon (Ga.) on May 31st sent Iowa Western into the title game. They are the first team since 2003 (College of Southern Nevada) to win a national championship after losing their first game in the tournament.
Iowa Western remains the only team from the Northern District to win a national championship in NJCAA Division I baseball. Their appearance in the 2012 tournament marked their sixth straight, and seventh since 2005, all under the direction of head coach Marc Rardin.
Ninth-inning balk sends Reivers to second title in three seasons
Dedication and depth fuel Reivers
Iowa Western wins second baseball national title
Photo by Buddy Bair
P - Dylan Baker, Western Nevada
P - Daniel Stumpf, San Jacinto
P - Tanner Kreitemeyer, Iowa Western
INF - Fred Ford, Jefferson
INF - Bobby Woodall, Gordon
INF - Brett Wiley, Jefferson
INF - Keaton Steele, Iowa Western
INF - David Bote, Nesho
OF - Aaron Mizell, Gordon
OF - Justin Byrd, San Jacinto
OF - Iseha Conklin, Iowa Western
C - Kyle Bacak, San Jacinto
C - Levi Meyer, Iowa Western
DH - Jody Stone, Gordon
Preston Walker Most Valuable Player
Keaton Steele, Iowa Western
Robert Purkey, Jr. Most Outstanding Pitcher
Daniel Stumpf, San Jacinto
Jay W. Tolman Defensive Player of the Tournament
Kyle Bacak, San Jacinto
Homa Thomas Sportsmanship Award
Travis McClanahan, Gordon College
Rawlings Big Stick Award
(Awarded to the Player with the highest batting average for the tournament Min. 15 ABs)
Drew Adams, Gordon (.500)
Bus Bergman Coach of the Tournament
Marc Rardin, Iowa Western