CAC falls short of reaching NJCAA World Series
YUMA — Central Arizona College won't be among the 10 baseball teams competing in the NJCAA World Series.
Needing just one win over No. 11 Southern Nevada to advance to the national tournament for the first time since 2011 and the sixth time in program history, the Vaqueros lost 15-5 and 8-5 to the Coyotes on Saturday at Arizona Western College in the Western District tourney championship round.
"My heart breaks for these guys. This stings," CAC coach Anthony Gilich said. "We had our chances. Game 1 got away from us and we couldn't quite get it done in Game 2."
It was a long, deflating day for the Vaqueros, who ended the season with a 42-23 record. The first game began at noon and the second game ended shortly after 7 p.m.
"I'm proud of these guys," Gilich said. "They put in a lot of work and they have nothing to hang their heads about. It was a good run but we're not satisfied" about coming up just short of advancing to junior college baseball's ultimate stage.
Southern Nevada (45-16) scored one run in the top of the seventh inning to snap a 5-5 tie in Saturday's second game. The Region 18 champs tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth.
Down 4-1, CAC scored three runs in the third inning and tied it once again at 5-5 in the fifth on a solo home run by Alix Garcia, who went 3 for 4.
Matt Kroon's solo homer in the second trimmed CAC's deficit to 2-1.
Video: Matt Kroon moon shot in second inning of game two.
After the Coyotes scored two in the third, the Vaqueros tied it in the bottom of the inning on Pikai Duque-Winchester's RBI double, Jake Vander Wal's RBI single and Kroon's run-scoring fielder's choice grounder.
Vander Wal had three of CAC's 12 hits. Andrew Chartrand and Duque-Winchester each had two for Central, which came in 2-0 against the Coyotes after wins of 12-0 on Jan. 28 and 15-5 in Thursday's Western District opener.
Southern Nevada won four straight following Thursday's loss.
Coyotes reliever Alex Tisminezky allowed one hit — Garcia's home run — in the final five innings. He struck out four and walked none.
Southern Nevada scored eight runs in the top of the ninth inning of the first game after taking a 7-1 lead.
The Vaqueros scored one run in the first, two in the seventh and single runs in the eighth and ninth.
The Coyotes put up three runs in the first inning, one in the fifth and two in the sixth off Central starter Peyton Remy (4-6), who allowed 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Southern Nevada finished with 20 hits.
Chartrand and Vander Wal each had three of CAC's 12 hits.
Chartrand scored on a wild pitch in the first. Roger Varela had an RBI single in the seventh and later scored on a balk, and he had a run-scoring squeeze bunt in the eighth. Justice Nakagawa drove in CAC's final run with a ninth-inning sacrifice fly.