Yavapai Wins a Thriller and Advances to Semifinals
In dramatic fashion, the Roughrider baseball team survived another elimination game and advanced to the semi-finals of the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. Yavapai used a walk-off double from Nate Easley to take a 15-14 victory over Cisco College avenging an earlier loss to the Wranglers. Yavapai is now a Final Four team and will face the loser of the Iowa Western/San Jacinto-North game being played later Wednesday evening.
Things looked bleak for the Riders in the early going as the Wrangler took a 5-2 lead after the first inning. After four and a half innings, Cisco led Yavapai, 11-5 however, YC pushed five runs across in their half of the fifth inning to make the score 11-10.
Cisco added 3 more runs in the next three innings and Yavapai kept pace tying in the game on a Brock Ephan solo home run in the eighth inning setting up the late game heroics in the ninth inning.
YC looked to JoJo Romero to hold the Wranglers in their half of the ninth. Romero did his job, setting down the side on 8 pitches. Turtle Kuhaulua was hit by a pitch to begin the Roughrider ninth. After two Rider strikeouts and Kuhaulua going to second on a wild pitch, Easley sent a ball down the rightfield line for a walk-off double sending the team from the dugout to a celabratory dogpile at second base.
Easley was 5 for 6 on the day with 3 doubles and a home run and 6 RBI’s. Brock Ephan was 3 for 5 with a home run, a double and 2 runs batted in. Ramsey Romano and Kuhaulua had 3 hits with Kuhaulua scoring five runs.
Romero got his second victory of the tournament throwing 1 inning with 1 strikeout.
YC becomes a Final Four team! They will play on Thursday with a chance to advance to the Championship Round. Yavapai will need 3 victories to claim their fourth National Title. The other teams remaining are Iowa Western Community College (2-0), San Jacinto-North College (2-0) and Chattahoochee Valley CC (2-1).
Thursday’s game will begin at 2:00 PM Arizona Time and will be streamed live on www.njcaatv.com