The North Central Missouri College baseball team is preparing for the NJCAA Division One, Region 16 tournament in Joplin, earning a #7 seed after a 24-27 regular season.
The Pirates scheduled games with Crowder College have been cancelled. With seeding already set for the region tournament, both sides decided it was best NOT to risk injury. The Pirates, seeded at #7, will take on #2 seed Crowder in the first round of the tournament, Wednesday night at 7 o'clock at Wendell Redden Field in Joplin.
NCMC split a Saturday doubleheader with Mineral Area at Burleigh Grimes Field in Trenton. In the opener, the Pirates held tough until giving up four late runs, in a 9-3 loss. A.J. Salinas, in the loss, was 3-for-4 with a one scored, singling in the 1st, 5th, and 7th innings. Mineral Area's offense was sparked by the duo of Brad Cuyos and Cody Heisserer, who combined for five hits and four RBI's. Anthony Caenepeel took the loss for the Pirates, going six innings, walking one, striking out seven, and allowing five runs.
Derek Taylor had a two-run RBI single in the fourth inning for North Central. The Pirates closed to within 4-3 with a single tally in the bottom of the 5th inning. Cezan Rafaela had an RBI triple.
In game two, North Central Missouri College claimed a 14-13, ten inning victory, winning the contest on a solo blast by Derek Taylor. The home run was one of two for Taylor, who went deep in the bottom of the eighth inning. He ended the contest with four RBI's and three runs scored. Pitching in relief, Rafaela pitched two innings of shutout baseball to earn the victory, striking out three, walking one, and giving up one hit.
The key inning in the Pirate victory was the sixth, as NCMC exploded for EIGHT tallies. Turner Herbek had an RBI double, an RBI single by James Brownsberger, a sacrifice fly by Rafaela, and a two-run double by Michael Babbitt.