Tiger Baseball Team at World Series
After a 3-0 start in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., the Cowley baseball team looked like the team to beat. The Tigers, who had captured their seventh consecutive Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division title during the regular season, were the only unbeaten team left in the tournament after games of May 30. But North Central Texas, a program in its 10th year, had other ideas as the Lions stopped Cowley’s streak by winning consecutive games from the Tigers, 5-3 and 8-6, ending Cowley’s season at 49-16.
Three Tigers were named to the All-Tournament Team: John Urick, Ryan Bell, and Justin Glenn. Head Coach Dave Burroughs was presented the Homa Thomas sportsmanship award.
Following is a capsule look at each game, beginning with the most recent:
North Central Texas 8, Cowley 6
The rematch between the two teams was a see-saw battle through two-thirds of the game. Cowley led 1-0, then North Central took a 2-1 lead after two. The Tigers scored two runs in the top of the fourth for a 3-2 lead, but North Central came right back in the bottom of the inning with two runs for a 4-3 lead. The game was tied 4-4 and 5-5 before North Central took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth. Cowley out-hit North Central 13-12, but committed four costly errors.
North Central Texas 5, Cowley 3
Cowley spotted North Central a 5-0 lead after four innings and never recovered in a game played May 31. North Central starting pitcher Aaron Gravis struck out 13 Tiger hitters and never allowed a fly ball. Cowley managed just six hits and committed two errors. The Tigers left runners on base in the seventh and ninth innings.
Cowley 9, Central Alabama 8
The Tigers trailed 8-7 entering the bottom of the ninth, and saw their first two batters make outs. But, as was the case all season long, Cowley rallied. J.J. Morris hit a double to right-center field, and Mickey Nichol, who was 0-for-8 at the plate up to that point, singled to drive in Morris with the tying run. Not satisfied with sending the game into extra innings, Justin Glenn singled to right field. Nichol blew through Burroughs’ stop sign at second base and charged into third. The right fielder’s throw got away from the third baseman, and Nichol came home with the winning run.
Cowley 6, Miami Dade 3
The Tigers spotted Miami Dade a three-run lead on a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. But not to worry. Cowley scored one in the top of the eighth inning and added five more in dramatic fashion in the ninth to win it. Trailing 3-1, Urick and Morris hit back-to-back solo home runs to tie it 3-3, then Bell hit a two-run single as Cowley went on to take a 6-3 victory. Urick’s grandfather, Whitey Herzog, the former St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals manager, was in the stands.
Cowley 20, Middle Georgia 2
Believe it or not, this game was fairly close until the top of the ninth inning when the Tigers sent 18 men to the plate and scored 13 runs in the biggest rout of the tournament.