Cochise College Athletics

Apaches fall to Blinn in World Series first round

IMG_2687GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Jitters got the best of a young Cochise College baseball team Saturday.

The Apaches lost to Blinn College 7-4 and made four costly errors in the first round of the NJCAA Division I World Series, sending Cochise to the losers’ bracket and into an afternoon game today against Delgado Community College of Louisiana.

“The moment was a little too big for us, and the errors we made were trying to speed the game up,” said head coach Todd Inglehart. “In this environment, sometimes that happens.”

The Buccaneers jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first and another in the second while keeping Cochise’s bats quiet. Blinn tacked on another in the fourth to go up 4-0 before the Apaches loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning for Jake Luna, who singled to left and scored Darick Hall. A ground ball by Nick Borowski scored Sean DeSoto to put Cochise within a run.

It would be the only time Cochise had runners cross the plate until the bottom of the ninth inning, when a one-out rally, led by a bases-loaded walk by Luna to score Louis Boyd, was abruptly cut off by a Blinn double play.

“Cochise being here two years in a row, that was my biggest concern, not their numbers,” said Blinn head coach Harvey McIntyre. “They’ve been on this stage, and I think we’re thankful we scored first and got some momentum on our side.”

Steve Naemark took the loss for Cochise, going the first six innings and giving up six runs, three of them earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out two. Josh Advocate came on for the last three innings and gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out five.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to their hitters,” Inglehart said. “Steve didn’t have his best stuff today, but they had a lot to do with it. They had some pretty physical swings through the baseball. We gave them four extra outs and they’re too good offensively to give them that. Steve did what he does and that’s pitch with heart, and Josh came in and did a very good job.”

Cochise totaled five hits; Blinn had 10, which included three home runs, one by James Duval and two by Stephen Stuart. Meanwhile, the Apaches walked nine times, three of them with one out in the sixth to load the bases, but the threat never materialized into runs for Cochise thanks to a strikeout and a line out.

“If you play clean defense, it doesn’t put as much pressure on you offensively. We had five hits and it’s hard to do when you have almost as many errors,” Inglehart said. “They got some tack-on runs that took away the momentum.”

Last year, the Apaches also started the World Series with a loss: 2-1 at the hand of Neosho County Community College, which did not make the tournament this year. Cochise played well in the losers’ bracket and finished third overall.

“You just need to get that first W, that first win,” Inglehart said. “We had a tough loss the first round (last year), but found a way to win the second game, and then everything changes. It does. You just have to get that first W. And it’ll be tough because the other team is trying to do that, too.”

The Apaches face elimination today at 2 p.m. MST (1 p.m. Arizona time) against a Delgado team that fell 8-6 to Chattahoochee Valley on Saturday night.

“It’s a double-elimination tournament for a reason,” Advocate said. “We’ve got to come back and battle.”