Baseball Team Earns Spot
If the Tiger baseball team had an Achilles heel during the 2002 season, it probably was pitching. That was never more evident than during its two games at the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. The Tigers, who hadn’t given up more than nine runs since May 3, yielded 15 twice in consecutive losses at the Series. “I think we took this team probably as far as it could go,” said head coach Dave Burroughs. “We played well when we had to during the regular season. But when we got to Grand Junction, we just froze. “Someone asked me after our second loss what happened, and I told them I really didn’t know. Sometimes, things like this happen.” Despite exiting from the national tournament earlier than expected,
Cowley did capture an amazing eighth consecutive Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division title, the Eastern Sub-Regional crown, and the Region VI Tournament, no small tasks. Cowley opened the 2002 Alpine Bank World Series against John A. Logan College of Illinois. The Tigers gave starting pitcher Jeff Moye a 3-0 lead after the first inning, but Logan battled back with two in the second and eight in the third, highlighted by a pair of home runs. After Logan added a run in the top of the fifth to take an 11-3 lead, Cowley exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the inning, four on J.R. DiMercurio’s grand slam home run. Logan maintained an 11-8 lead until Cowley got a run in the bottom of the eighth to trail by just two going into the ninth inning. “We should have won that game,” Burroughs said. “We trailed 11-9, we were right there. Then we let it get away from us.” Logan scored four times in the top of the ninth, including a solo home run by Kyle Maddux, his second homer of the game. Cowley failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.
San Jacinto North of Texas jumped on the Tigers early on Sunday, May 26, scoring two in the first, three in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, and one in the fifth to take a 9-4 lead. The Gators added six in the top of the eighth, and the game ended after Cowley failed to score in the bottom of the inning.
All-American first baseman John Urick broke Travis Hafner’s single-season record for home runs on May 9 during a 6-2 victory over Labette. Hafner’s record was 18. Urick finished with 20. DiMercurio was right behind with 19, while Scott Campbell hit 15.
Only two Tigers were named first-team All-Jayhawk East. Urick was named Most Valuable Player, while Campbell earned Freshman of the Year honors. Campbell is an outfielder. Honorable mention all-conference selections were Andy Mayfield, Rusty Ryal, Jeff Brusto, Craig Frydendall, and DiMercurio.