It seems like things always come in threes. For Delgado baseball, it couldn’t be more true — or meaningful.
The Dolphins are headed back to the Junior College World Series for a third straight season after beating Maple Woods Community College 11-4 in the final game of the NJCAA South Central District tournament Sunday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
“We outslugged them, to be quite honest with you,” coach Joe Scheuermann said. “We’re resilient. Every time that they threw a number up, we answered.”
Delgado, which will make its fifth World Series appearance, will take on Yavapai College of Prescott, Arizona, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“This feels awesome,” center fielder Daniel Lahare said. “There’s no other feeling like it, going to the JUCO World Series. We have faith in each other. We know our pitching will keep the runs down, and we know we’ll get the big hits when we need them. We had a lot of confidence going into the game, and we got the job done.”
Starter Spencer Veit (2-2) got the win, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in 5.1 innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Adam Sinibaldi was dominant in relief, allowing one hit while striking out four in 3.1 innings. Christian Latino recorded the final out.
“We knew that I matched up well with them,” Veit said. “Once I got on the mound, I just played my game. With the defense behind me making outstanding plays, I can’t complain.”
While Delgado pitchers held Maple Woods to six hits, the offense used two big innings to control the game.
The Dolphins (36-14) scored four runs on two hits and four errors in the second to take a 4-0 lead. Dylan Weston’s two-run homer in the fourth made it 6-1, but the Dolphins put the game away in the sixth by scoring four runs after Maple Woods had cut the lead to 7-3.
Second baseman Brandt Broussard led the offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs. Weston went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBIs, and Spencer Miller was 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs.
“I’ve never got to play on a stage this big, so I think it’ll be fun,” Broussard said of the World Series. “I think we’re hot right now.”
For Maple Woods (33-27), Will Jibas went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, and Andrew Curry was 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Starter Jacob Miller (4-4) took the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks in 3.1 innings.
Scheuermann said his team’s third straight South Central District title and third consecutive World Series trip is a testament to the players’ hard work.
“It’s big,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the kids. A lot of people wrote us off because it was supposed to be a rebuilding year. I don’t think good programs rebuild; I think good programs reload. When you’re called a champion, it’s the ultimate compliment, and that’s what we won today.”
The next step is making a run at the World Series. Delgado is 0-8 in four previous appearances in the double-elimination event, but Scheuermann said his team, which outscored its opponents 31-12 in the district tournament, is peaking.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to win one,” he said. “The percentages are going to catch up with us. We get to play opening night, which is a very special feeling. We’ll play in front of 10,000, 12,000 people. We’re excited, and we’re playing our best baseball at the right time.”