By Emma del Sol
The ‘Sters are headed back to the NBC World Series championships after their victory over the NJCAA National team. Jon Duplantier pitched five strong innings, only allowing one run on five hits and striking out five. Duplantier’s five strikeouts give him 74 on the year, only one short of tying him for the ‘Sters all time season record of 75. Duplantier was backed by strong offensive outings from Steven Reveles and Bret Boswell, who had two hits apiece.
Once again the ‘Sters struck first, this time scoring one run in the top of the second inning. After a 0-2 single up the middle by Boswell, AJ Kennedy, who reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and on the overthrow, Boswell came home.
In the first and second innings, Duplantier had runners on the corners with one out, and was able to get out of the jam both times. The next time Duplantier allowed more than one runner on base was in the bottom of the sixth inning, when the NJCAA had runners on first and second with no outs.
The ‘Sters added on another run in the top of the fourth inning after Boswell hit the first pitch he saw for a double to the gap in center. Steven Reveles than hit a liner to right field for a single to bring home Boswell and give the ‘Sters the 2-0 lead.
John Williamson came in with runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. He gave up a single to Alex Lee on the first pitch of the at-bat, but was able to retire the side and pitched two scoreless innings, giving up two walks and striking out three.
The ‘Sters were able to add on two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. After back-to-back singles by Colt Atwood and Ford Stainback, a wild pitch by Collin Strall brings home one more run for the ‘Sters. Granger Studdard then had a sac fly to right to score Stainback.
The ‘Sters added on another two runs in the eighth inning on a sac fly by Atwood and a throwing error by the right fielder to home. Reveles and Jake Vickerson, who both reached base off of hits, came home on the throw.
Cody Van Aken made his first appearance of the tournament and went one and a third innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Van Aken loaded the bases with NJCAA players off of two walks and a hit batter. With one out, Troy Cruz came in to strike out Aaron Schnurbusch and then got Trooper Reynolds to ground out on the first pitch to end the game.
The ‘Sters are back in action tomorrow night at 6pm CST in the championship game of the 80th annual NBC World Series. The ‘Sters will play the winner of tonight’s late game between the Seattle Studs and the Hays Larks.