Salt Lake Community College Men’s Baseball made their debut at the Junior College (JUCO) World Series this weekend but were eliminated after losses to both Wabash Valley College and Johnson County Community College on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Saturday vs. Wabash Valley College
In their debut, the Bruins lost in dramatic fashion to Wabash Valley, ending 9-8. The Bruins never trailed the game until the final score.
Bruin Daniel Gonzalez opened the scoring with a two-run double, and teammate Jaxon Weatherly added an RBI single for a four-run fourth inning to give the Bruins a 4-0 lead.
Wabash rallied for four consecutive two-out hits to tie the game at 4 in the bottom of the fourth inning. The very next inning, SLCC retook the lead when Weatherly hit a three-run home run to left field, giving the Bruins a 7-4 lead at the top of the fifth inning.
The Bruins loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but only managed to score one. They would strand 10 base runners overall. Wabash went on to score four runs over the final three innings, including two in the bottom of the ninth, to win the game.
The game’s final play was a sinking line drive where it appeared that right-fielder Trey Gambill made a diving catch. The umpires reviewed the play and determined that Gambill did not make catch, declaring Wabash Valley the winner as the runner scored from third.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Salt Lake Head Coach David Nelson said after the game. “[It’s] obviously a disappointing end, but Wabash is a great team. A couple of those balls that kept falling in in those last few innings were hard to stomach, but that’s baseball – they did a heck of a job.”
Sunday vs. Johnson County Community College
Johnson County jumped out to an early 12-0 lead scoring four in the first, five in the second and three in the third inning.
The Bruins battled back in the bottom of the third inning, loading the bases with only one out. Johnson County right-fielder Brayden Luikart made a terrific catch on a line drive from Trey Gambill, keeping it to just a sacrifice fly and giving the Bruins their first run. Daniel Gonzalez then beat out an infield single to score an additional run for the Bruins.
Johnson County went scoreless in the top of the fourth inning with Jack White pitching for the Bruins, going 1.2 innings pitched, allowing only one run and striking out three.
The Bruins received two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on a home run to right field by Taylor Ayala, cutting Johnson County’s lead to eight – the closest the Bruins would get. In the top of the fifth inning, Johnson County scored four more runs for a 16-4 lead. The Bruins went in order in the bottom of the fifth, securing the run-rule victory for Johnson County.
Salt Lake Head Coach DG Nelson declined to participate in the postgame news conference.
The Bruins ended the season with a record of 31-20, winning both the Region 18 and NJCAA Western District Championship before playing in the JUCO World Series.