ENID, Okla. - The WolfPack (44-14) started their quest for the right to win the NJCAA Division II College World Series against the No. 1 ranked team in the country. After the 16-4 loss to Western Oklahoma State College (54-5), the margin of error will be small for the remainder of the tournament for the WolfPack.
"Offensively, they were everything they were advertised to be," said Head Coach Mike Davenport. "However, the overall score was not really indicative of the game."
Everyone on the Pioneers can hit the ball and hit it hard. All nine batters got a hit against the WolfPack pitching staff. The 20 hits given up by the WolfPack tied their season high in hits allowed for a single game.
The Pioneers came into the game as the leaders in all of Division II in home runs on the year. They were held to just one home run, a solo shot in the fourth inning.
"I threw pitches today that no other team we faced this year would've hit as hard as they did (the Pioneers)," said starting pitcher Tyler Jones.
Jones (9-2) lasted seven innings and suffered just his second loss this season. He gave up a season-high 13 hits and six earned runs while striking out eight Pioneers. He pitched hard and almost all of his pitches were located exactly where he wanted them. The Pioneers were just swinging the bats well.
Through three innings, the game was a tight one. Madison College trailed Western Oklahoma State College 2-1. And the score could easily have been tied 1-1 or 1-0 in favor of the WolfPack at that point in the game.
The Pioneers held the WolfPack hitless through two innings of play. It was the Region IV Tournament MVP, Luke Marwitz, that got the offense going early for the WolfPack. He got a triple in his first at bat with no one on base. Two batters later, he was brought home on a Kevin Wild sacrifice fly.
The WolfPack could not catch up with the Western Oklahoma State College as they scored at least one run in every inning except for the second inning. The eight run eighth inning ended up being a hill that the WolfPack could not climb. They scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it wasn't enough for the comeback.
The fielders were out soaking up the 93 degree heat for just under 30 minutes in the inning that featured four different WolfPack pitchers. Mitch Arens was able to get the final two outs in the inning.
"Our relievers got behind early and ended up throwing predictable pitches," said Davenport regarding the top of the eighth inning.
Offensively, the WolfPack never got things going. Only Brent Kakwitch and Marwitz had hits in the game, they accounted for all four WolfPack hits. Each player went 2-for-3 from the plate and Marwitz had a double, triple and an RBI.
"None of our ground balls found holes," said Davenport. "They were solid defensively."
The only Pioneer error came on the second to last play of the game when their third baseman bobbled a ground ball hit by Kenny Allen.
The WolfPack now must win out in this tournament to win it all. However, they can't look ahead, they need to stay focused on each individual upcoming challenge.
"We have to take things one game at a time, one pitch at a time," said Davenport.
The WolfPack will play at noon on Tuesday, June 1. The loser of the game on June 1 will be eliminated from the tournament. Madison College will have Memorial Day off to prepare for their next game.
Their opponent is yet to be determined. They will play the loser of the game between LSU-Eunice and Paradise Valley Community College that is scheduled to take place on May 31. The WolfPack should be more energized than their opponent - whoever it may be - because they will be playing on an extra day of rest.
One thing is for certain, the WolfPack will not exit this tournament quietly nor without a fight.
"We'll roll around in the dirt as long as we're alive," said Assistant Coach C.J. Thieleke.
courtesy: Madison College Athletic Communications