Delgado splits on first day of South Central District tournament

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JOPLIN, Mo. – Delgado Community College bounced back from its worst loss of the season with a season-saving victory on the opening day of the NJCAA South Central District tournament Friday at Joe Becker Stadium.

The Dolphins were run-ruled 15-0 by 19th-ranked Connors State (Oklahoma) in the opening game of the day before bouncing back six hours later with a 10-6 victory over No. 10 Crowder College, eliminating the host team from the three-team, double-elimination event.

In the other game on the round-robin schedule on the tournament’s first day, Connors defeated Crowder 9-6.

Delgado (36-13) advances to the championship round against Connors (46-11) beginning at noon Saturday. A Delgado victory would force a winner-take-all game on Sunday, while Connors needs just one win to advance to the Junior College World Series.

Tyler McManus hit a grand slam in the fourth inning and drove in five runs to lead the Dolphins against Crowder.

McManus’ slam gave Delgado its first lead of the day at 6-4 and the Region 23 champions never looked back.

Delgado starter Payton Russell survived a rough start, allowing hits to the first five Crowder hitters, and worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on 11 hits in earning the victory. Dwain Varisco got the final eight outs for his eighth save.

Crowder’s season ended at 47-16.

In the opener, Connors had 18 hits off three Delgado pitchers in a game shortened to five innings by the NJCAA’s mercy rule – the first time all season the Dolphins have been run-ruled.

The Cowboys scored four runs in the top of the first and added two in the second, three in the third and six in the fourth.

First baseman Hayden Fuentes had two of Delgado’s three hits as Connors left-hander Brian Martinez struck out five in the shutout.

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