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Mesa outlasts Hinds in extra innings for NJCAA DII Baseball crown
 June 1, 2014


ENID, Okla. – Nine innings was not enough to crown the 2014 national champion for NJCAA Division II Baseball Saturday night. After Hinds (Miss.) and Mesa (Ariz.) battled to a 6-6 tie, the Thunderbirds scored three in the top of the 11th and held on to win 9-7 in front of packed David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla.

Mesa cruised out to a 5-0 lead thanks to timely hitting and five solid innings from pitcher John Havird. Hinds’ offense then woke up in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game by scoring five runs on an RBI single by Matt Jones, a groundout by Luke Reynolds, an RBI single by Marshall Boggs, and a two-run single by Jonathan Washam.

Mesa regained the lead 6-5 in the top of the seventh thanks to an RBI double from Drew Lacomb. The lead was short-lived for the Thunderbirds as Hinds respond again and tied the game when Marshall Boggs drove in Quade Smith.

Both teams were unable to score for the next three innings. In the 11th, Tournament MVP Jordan Zimmerman led the Thunderbirds off with a triple, which was then promptly followed up with a single from James Anderson to give Mesa the go-ahead run. The Thunderbirds tacked on two insurance runs to make their advantage 9-6.

Hinds would not go quietly, scoring early in the bottom of the 11th and eventually loading the bases with two outs and their best hitter – Boggs – at the plate. Thunderbird pitcher Joseph Carvalho, who came on to throw the 11th, induced a ground out to seal the win.

Mesa (51-13) entered the tournament as the nation’s top Division II baseball team only to lose their opening game to Vincennes (Ind.). The Thunderbirds then fought their way through the loser’s bracket, winning four games, to reach the winner-take-all title game. The national championship is the first for Mesa’s baseball program in 42 years. The Thunderbirds won the NJCAA World Series three consecutive years (1970-71-72) when the organization sponsored just one division of the sport.

Zimmerman was 3-for-6 with three RBI to lead Mesa offensively. His 14 RBI in Enid set a new tournament record. Joseph Carvalho and Drew Lacomb also both had three hits apiece in the title game.  

Hinds’ Boggs had two hits in the title game, which resulted in him setting a new tournament record with 16 overall hits.

Hinds, who upset previous No. 1 Jones County (Miss.) in district play, finished the season at 40-21.

Photos courtesy of Susan Glasgow Photography.

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