FDTC vs Blinn World Series rematch

Blinn holds off Flo-Dar in JUCO


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — In the longest regulation game in tournament history, Blinn College outlasted Florence-Darlington 21-19 on Thursday to remain in title contention of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

The eighth-ranked and sixth-seeded Buccaneers (45-17, 3-1 JUCO) were three outs from a run-rule decision in the seventh inning. Flo-Dar, ranked No. 6 and seeded No. 8, staged an impressive, improbable rally to not only prevent that, but took a one-run lead into the ninth inning of a game that took four hours, 14 minutes. The previous record was 4:08 (Yavapai vs. Cisco, 2016).

Leading 19-18 in the ninth, Florence-Darlington closer Derek Duval, who has two saves this week, struggled with his command, walking five batters. Those walks, plus a sacrifice bunt, allowed the Bucs to score the tying and go-ahead runs. After Duval was lifted, Aydin Palmer walked in another run before getting out of the inning.

With both bullpens taxed by battling through the elimination bracket, Blinn went to Lucas Davenport with one out in the eighth. The plan, Blinn coach Dusty Hart said in his post-game radio interview, was to start Davenport on Friday, but the Bucs had to get there first. Davenport (2-0) was the Bucs’ Game 1 starter and got the win against Crowder.

He gave up a pair of singles in the ninth, but with two out, a chopper to short was fielded on the run by Tony Vernars. His throw was a little offline, but Paxton Turveen made the stretch, keeping his foot on the bag as he reached out to the home-plate side of the bag. Ethan Plyler tumbled into Turveen trying to get to the bag, but a video review showed Turveen had recorded the out before Plyler got to the bag, ending the game, and the season for Florence-Darlington (54-12, 3-2 JUCO).

In their two previous trips to Grand Junction, the Stingers went 0-2, but were well-prepared this year, and were never out of a game.

Case in point: Blinn had an 18-9 lead after 7 1/2 innings and needed only three outs to end the game on the 8-after-7 run rule. Instead, the Stingers not only scored the two runs needed to extend the game, but put up seven to pull within two runs, then scored three more in the eighth to take a 19-18 lead.

Florence-Darlington hit seven home runs, two each by Devin Mitchell and Michael Gibson, but it was Plyler’s three-run shot in the seventh that was the key to keep the game going.

Blinn, which got home runs from Cade Climie and Caden Ferraro, had plenty of big innings, scoring four runs in the second, five in each of the fourth and sixth, and the three-run seventh and ninth innings.

Climie drove in five runs and Coy DeFury and Tanner Reaves had three RBI each. Every starter but one in the game hit safely — the teams combined for 38 hits, including nine doubles.

Connor McGinnis went 4 for 5 for Blinn to raise his tournament-leading batting average to .706, just ahead of the tournament record of .688 shared by four players, including Kirby Puckett, for whom the JUCO World Series MVP award is now named.

The Buccaneers play at 7 p.m. on Friday against Georgia Highlands for a spot in Saturdays championship game against Northwest Florida State. The Raiders knocked off Georgia Highlands 13-3 Thursday night.

This article was first published here: https://jucogj.org/news/2024/5/31/juco-world-series-blinn-holds-off-flo-dar-in-juco-marathon.aspx