8-run sixth lifts Crowder past Indian Hills

·4 min read

Jun. 2—There haven't been many good breaks for Crowder since it arrived for the NJCAA World Series.

But the Roughriders became the beneficiary of a reversed call on Tuesday, and that opened the door for an eight-run sixth inning and a 12-8 victory over Indian Hills (Iowa) in front of 2,933 fans at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The top-seeded Roughriders (55-7) won an elimination game for the third straight day and avenged a 10-3 setback to Indian Hills (44-16) in the first round.

"The kids were talking about it," Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said. "It's another opponent, another game for us as coaches. But they put us in this situation to have to do what we just did. Now that we've won three, we have a day off (Wednesday), and if we win on Thursday, we'll have played more games than anybody and will go directly to the national championship game on Saturday."

Crowder plays at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday against McLennan, San Jacinto or Central Arizona. San Jacinto and Central Arizona met in Tuesday's final game, and that winner plays unbeaten McLennon or Wednesday.

The Roughriders trailed 6-4 after five innings, and Landrey Wilkerson led off the sixth with a double. Josh Patrick's shot to center field was called a catch by Samuel Fortier, and Wilkerson was doubled off second base. But the umpires got together and changed the call to a hit, putting runners at first and third with nobody out.

"It was a ball that got trapped in center field. ... It was clearly obvious," Lallemand said. "The umpire on the third-base side didn't rotate out, so he had a bad view of it. But they got together and got the call right. It was pretty obvious that the ball was down."

The changed call proved to change things in Crowder's favor as the next five batters all reached base. Gavin Glasgow singled to score one run, and walks to Rod Criss and Jack Stroth forced in the tying run.

Clayton Gray and Logan Chambers followed with two-run doubles to put the Roughriders ahead, and one out later, Peyton Holt belted a home run for a 12-6 advantage. It was Holt's second homer of the game and 10th of the season.

"We had a couple of plays that went our way finally," Lallemand said. "We were able to go out and get the big swings as well and continue that inning and not just be satisfied with three (runs). We made it an eight, capped off by Peyton Holt's two-run homer."

Crowder's bullpen held Indian Hills scoreless for the next three innings before Noel Perez hit a two-run homer in the ninth.

Holt's first homer, also a two-run blast, made it 3-3 in the third inning, and it came after the Roughriders had hit into a double play with runners on first and third.

"That was a huge momentum swing,"Lallemand said. "You go out and they get a zero on the board, the entire momentum goes their way ... and they feed off of that and put pressure on you. When we tied the game, we took them out of their game a little bit.

"We were able to get them out of rhythm and throw a few zeroes at them after that."

Leadoff batter Chambers went 3 for 5 and drove in three runs with a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and his two-run double in the sixth. Chambers has 11 RBIs in four World Series games.

Wilkerson, who hit his 20th homer of the season in the second inning for Crowder's first run, Holt, Patrick and Gray all contributed two hits to a 13-hit attack.

"We played better. We're playing better each day," Lallemand said. "Offensively, we're starting to click, and we used several arms today because it's a back-end-of-the-bullpen day. It's set up pretty well for us.

"We really defended well, and we had to when you're down in your rotation. Nothing against the guys we threw, they were very good. But obviously you have a No. 1, 2 and 3 for a reason as well. You have to make plays behind those guys because they're not going to have the same stuff as you top three do. But our bullpen guys were outstanding today. We ended up giving up two runs (in the ninth) but we had a six-run lead, had something to play with and made sure we challenged them in the zone."

This is Crowder's best showing in three World Series appearances. The 'Riders went 1-2 in 2010 and 2-2 in 2017.

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