Greeneville, TN - Facing elimination and going 0-2 in their first World Series appearance, the Pioneers of Delta found a way to stay alive by besting Prince George's Community College on Sunday, 6-4. They will now face Century (Minnesota) on Monday in a 12:30 contest that would put them in the top four of the country should they win.
Neither team threatened in the first inning but Delta put runners at second and third with one out in the top of the second before a popped up suicide squeeze attempt turned in to a double play and kept the game tied at zero apiece. Prince George's struck first in the third, scoring two runs on back-to-back walks, an error and a sacrifice fly.
The Pioneers answered in the fourth, however, as singles by Tyler Snover and Ty Robbins put runners at second and third with one out. Mitch Morley would foul off a squeeze attempt before looping a single to center that scored both runs and tied the game.
"We were seven-for-seven in squeezes against Elgin last weekend in three games," lamented head coach Danny Smith. "We led the country in bunting – and not just Division III but all of NJCAA. So to bunt so poorly in the first two games has me dumbfounded."
Meanwhile, Delta starter Tyler Kirkwood was shutting down the Prince George's offense to keep the game tied up. An offense, by the way, that batted .359 as a team and had belted 54 homeruns on the season to help their 33-13 record.
In the top of the fifth, Pioneer first baseman Hunter David led off with a single to center and advanced to third on a double by Z Westley down the right field line. Another fouled off squeeze attempt led to a strikeout before Tyler Snover singled to center to score David while Westley advanced to third to make it 3-2, Delta. A Ty Jones sacrifice fly to right field scored Westley to make it 4-2 before Ty Robbins laced a single to left-center to score Snover and up the Delta lead to 5-2 heading in to the bottom of the fifth.
Prince George's would load the bases in the bottom of the sixth with one out but Kirkwood would get a big strikeout and a grounder back to the mound to end the inning and the threat. In all, he went six innings giving up four hits with one earned run while striking out seven.
Delta added another run in the seventh as Jones scored on a two-out single by Robbins to make it 6-2 in favor of the Pioneers. Ethan Lesperance came on in relief of Kirkwood and gave up single runs in the seventh and eighth to make it a 6-4 game before throwing an uneventful ninth to pick up his fourth save of the year.
Kirkwood earned the win to improve his record to 6-2 on the year while Robbins led the offense with four hits and two RBI. David collected two hits while fellow Bay City Western alumni Tyler Snover went three-for-five at the plate with two runs.
"We had four errors defensively and missed three squeezes so it's a mixed bag," said Smith when asked about his opinion of the game. "On one hand we collected our first win ever at the (College) World Series but on the other we won't win another game if we play this poorly."