Gulf Coast wins Region 23 title
HE'S OUT! n Home plate umpire Alexander Mumford leaps into the play as he calls Jones County's Jason Rowland out from the tag of Bossier Parish's Larry Mayard Sunday. Bossier went on to win the game and move into Sunday afternoon's title game against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Gulf Coast beat Bossier 4-3 to take the tournament crown. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop/Special to The Star
May 14, 2001
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College head baseball coach Cooper Ferris had come close too many times to let this one get away from his Bulldogs.
Seven times since Gulf Coast won the title in 1991, Ferris' Bulldogs had played for the championships of the NJCAA Division I Region 23 Tournament. But each time Gulf Coast came up short.
That wasn't to be the case on Sunday.
The Bulldogs scored two times in the bottom of the ninth to take a dramatic 4-3 win over Bossier Parish Community College in the title game. Bossier had earned its spot in the finals by beating Jones Junior College 4-3 in an elimination game earlier in the day.
The Cavaliers led 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Bulldogs scored twice to eliminate Bossier Parish and claim the NJCAA Division 1 Region 23 Baseball Tournament.
The first of four big blows in the bottom of the ninth came off the bat of defensive replacement Chas Evans, who was only making his third plate appearance of the six-team, four-day, double-elimination tournament.
He ripped a double off the right-center field wall with Gulf Coast trailing 3-2.
After Tab Beadle bunted the pinch-runner over, Matt Forman hit a two strike pitch up the middle past a drawn-in infield to tie the game.
After a pop out, Fred Lewis singled to move Forman up to second. Mike Thrash then hit a hard ground to third which took a bad hop past the third baseman and into left field for the game-winning single.
The win pushes Gulf Coast to 32-23 overall and into the Southeast District playoff series against Central Alabama Community College. The two-out-of-three series will be played at the Region 22 champion in Alexander City, Ala., on Friday and Saturday. The winner of that series advances to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
The Bulldogs started the season at 4-16 and have now won 28 of their last 35 games.
Bossier, now 46-16, scored a run in the top of the first on an RBI single by Mike Forbes, only to have Gulf Coast tie it with two singles and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.
Forbes hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth to put the Cavs up 2-1, but once again the Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at 2-2. Bossier Parish used an RBI single by Justin King to go up 3-2 in the seventh.
Barry Melancon took the loss in relief for Bossier Parish, while Joe Davenport (8-0) earned the win in relief for the Bulldogs.
The Cavaliers won a tough 4-3 game over Jones just to reach the finals.
The big blow in that game was a solo homer by Barry Guidry with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
Jones took a 2-0 lead in the game in the fifth inning when Jason Rowland drove in one run with a single and Josh Sullivan delivered a two-run double. The inning could have been bigger but Rowland was gunned down at the plate on Sullivan's double to end the inning.
Bossier answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning thanks to a Jones error, a wild pitch and an RBI groundout.
The Cavaliers tied the game in the bottom of the sixth thanks to another unearned run. Jones dropped a two-out fly ball and Bossier followed with an RBI single by Eric Emfinger to make it 2-2.
Jones recaptured the lead at 3-2 in the seventh thanks to an RBI single by Matt McAlpin, only to have Bossier tied the game in the seventh an then take the lead for good on Guidry's homer in the eighth.