GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KSNW) – Facing sixth-seeded Central Arizona only three days after losing to the Vaqueros, the fifth-seeded Cowley College Tigers were unable to enact revenge as Central Arizona ended Cowley’s season by defeating the Tigers by a score of 12-8 at the Alpine Bank JUCO World Series played Wednesday afternoon at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, CO.
Central Arizona (50-7) advances to play Thursday at 3 p.m. The Vaqueros will face the loser of the McLennan (TX) vs. San Jacinto-North (TX) showdown. Cowley ends another stellar season with a record of 47-10.
The Tigers trailed 10-4 before closing within 10-8 heading into the final inning of play as they continued to battle to the very end before coming up just short.
“Our guys never quit playing and I am proud of them for that, we just could not throw up enough zeroes,” Cowley head coach Darren Burroughs said. “I am always grateful to get to come here and have our players get to experience this.”
Making just his fourth start of the season, Tiger freshman Logan Kimbro pitched out of a jam in the second inning. With runners at first and second and nobody out, Kimbro retired the next three batters to keep the game scoreless. Kimbro would go the first three innings on the mound and not allow a run as he exited the game with the Tigers’ leading 1-0. Kimbro allowed two hits, while striking out four and walking two.
“He had not been out there in two weeks, so we knew his stamina wouldn’t be good but he gave us three good innings,” Burroughs said.
Cowley’s first run came in the bottom of the third inning when Bryce Madron singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a double by Blake Robertson.
However, the Vaqueros got to the Tigers’ bullpen, scoring two runs off Cole Miller in the fourth inning and two more off Miguel Obeso in the fifth inning before he was relieved by Miguel Fulgencio with a runner at second and nobody out. The Vaqueros would tack on one more run in the fourth to lead 5-2. The damage could have been much worse, but Fulgencio would strike out the side, including the final two batters with the bases loaded.
Central Arizona started Tyler Woessner on the mound and the right-hander allowed four hits and two runs in four innings pitched. Cowley’s second run came when Gus Freeman doubled leading off the fourth inning and scored on a fielding error by Central Arizona third baseman Matt Aribal.
Fulgencio struck out four of the seven batters he faced before being relieved by Jerome Tylicki after allowing a one-out triple to Kiko Romero in the top of the sixth inning. Unfortunately, Dusty Garcia promptly singled home Romero with the Vaqueros sixth run of the game. Two batters later, Devon Dixon singled home Garcia to make the score 7-2.
Central Arizona would score another run off Tylicki in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to 8-2.
The Vaqueros would turn to Leo Palacios in relief of Woessner. The left-hander kept Cowley scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings before he ran into trouble in the seventh. After back-to-back walks, Palacios allowed a two-run single to Bryce Madron to pull the Tigers within 8-4 and chase Palacios from the game.
DJ Carpenter came on in relief of Palacios and struck out Janson Reeder before walking Blake Robertson and Michelle Artzberger to load the bases with two outs and bring the potential tying run to the plate. Carpenter would go to a full count on Freeman before striking him out to strand the bases loaded.
Boston Dowd came on to pitch the eighth for the Tigers and surrendered a two-run homer to Matt Aribal, making the score 10-4. Jordan Brewer would come on to record the final two outs of the inning.
However, the Tigers would not go away quietly, as Cowley got a two-run double by Madron and a run-scoring single by Janson Reeder to make the score 10-7. Robertson followed with an RBI double to make it 10-8 and again the tying run came to the plate. However, Central Arizona reliever Christian Sanchez came on to strike out Michelle Artzberger for the final out of the inning.
Brewer remained in to pitch the ninth but allowed a leadoff single before being relieved by Isaac Stebens, who was unable to get out of the inning before two more runs crossed the plate.
Cowley got a one-out single from David Herring in the bottom of the ninth, but Sanchez struck out the next two batters to finish off the 12-8 win.
It was a season to remember in Darren Burroughs’ first, full season as head coach of the Tigers. Cowley won another conference title, region title, and finished fifth in the country.
“We did a great job coming back in the game, we just came up short,” Burroughs said. “Every year is a building block for the program and these guys did a great job of getting us back to Grand Junction. Heck, 47-10 is a pretty good year. It’s not the way we wanted it to end, but when you finish among the top five teams in the country you have to be proud of what we accomplished.”