Patriots win Junior College World Series Championship

College of Central Florida beats Wabash Valley for title

Photo by Todd Bennett

Home » Sports
Posted June 4, 2023 | By Mark Pinson
Special to the Ocala Gazette
The College of Central Florida scored nine runs in the first inning and cruised to a 13-6 victory over Wabash Valley College to win the Junior College Division I World Series Championship on Saturday night in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The College of Central Florida, the No. 1 seed in the 10-team, double-elimination tournament that started on Saturday, May 27, overcame several injuries during the season and a stunning 14-6 loss to Weatherford College on Monday to bounce back with four consecutive victories to claim the Patriots’ first national baseball title in in school history.

“I didn’t know they had that kind of heart,” College of Central Florida coach Marty Smith was quoted as saying. “After getting run-ruled on Monday and to come back and do what they did is unbelievable. We handled every situation during the season, and we obviously handled tonight well.”

Central Florida got rolling in the top of the first inning as designated hitter John Marant laced a double to left-center field to score Bradke Lohry, first baseman Juan Correa singled to right field to plate Marant, and Kainen Jorge drilled a two-run homer to right field off Wabash Valley starting pitcher Jacob Frost.

An outfield error and a walk by Wabash Valley proved fatal as Cole Bullen hammered a three-run homer to right field. Correa, up for the second time in the inning, smacked a run-scoring single up the middle and another run crossed the plate on a wild pitch to give the Patriots’ a commanding 9-0 lead.

Wabash Valley failed to score in the bottom of the frame against Central Florida starter JD Smith, who pitched the first three innings.

The Patriots, who banged out 11 hits, went back to work in the top of the second inning as Michael Guilliams smashed a three-run double to extend the lead to 12-0.

Wabash Valley (Mount Carmel, Illinois) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Richard Bonomolo Jr., to pull the Warriors within 12-1.

Wabash Valley, the No. 3 seed, tallied a run in the bottom of the third inning on a solo home run by Mack Mitchell off Smith to make it 12-2.

Central Florida tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning on a solo home run to left field by Thad Ector to give the Patriots a 13-2 advantage.

Wabash Valley, which had eight hits, scored a run in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice fly off Central Florida reliever Andrew Herrmann. Herrmann, a left-hander, allowed three runs and earned the win by scattering four hits in his five innings of work.

The Warriors refused to quit and plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning before Patriots reliever Cam Schuelke secured the final out and the victory.

“We had a good approach at the plate,” coach Smith said. “They did what we expected and thank God for that first inning.”

Besides winning the national championship, Central Florida finished the season with the best record in school history at 56-7.

Central Florida pitchers Brian Holiday and Schuelke as well as Correa and Marant were selected to the All-Tournament Team.

Holiday was selected as the tournament’s Outstanding Pitcher, while Correa was the MVP and Marty Smith was named Coach of the Tournament.

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