Delgado brings contrasting style to district tournament this week
NEW ORLEANS – Playing this late in May is certainly familiar territory for Delgado’s baseball program.
The Dolphins (35-14) are Region XXIII champions for the 12th time in the last 13 years and headed to the NJCAA South Central District tournament this weekend in Seminole, Oklahoma.
In the three-team, double-elimination format, each team plays a doubleheader the opening day, which determines the rest of the bracket. Delgado will face Jefferson College, the Region XVI champions from Missouri, at 1 p.m. Friday, before facing the host team, Region II champion Seminole State, at 7 p.m.
“I like that spot,” Delgado coach Joe Scheuermann said, referring to the split doubleheader on Friday. “You know where you stand going into the third game.”
The tournament continues with single games Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday afternoon.
“We had a very young club,” said Scheuermann. “The first third of the year was kind of a learning process.
“We fact we have a couple of sophomore arms who have been there will help us. Blake Way was a starter last year and that will help us too.
“We like our depth on the mound, which is something we’ve never had here.”
Besides the experience of having played in this event nearly every year, Delgado will certainly bring a contrasting style to Oklahoma.
The Dolphins – playing their home games at a ballpark with pro dimensions and little to no wind, Kirsch-Rooney Stadium – have hit 26 home runs on the year. JeffCo has 70 homers and Seminole has 93.
JeffCo’s leading hitter, Joey Polak, is not only the nation’s leader in home runs, but he has hit more by himself (27) than Delgado has hit as a team.
“The fact that we have good arms, and a lot of them, helps,” said Scheuermann. “The ballparks have a lot to do with (the home runs). I don’t really harp on home runs as much as on-base percentage and batting average.”
Delgado is seeking its fourth trip to the JUCO World Series in five years and its sixth overall.
“Getting back there for this program would be a success for us,” said Way, who leads the Dolphins in home runs (seven) and RBI (57). “I think we’ve got the pitching to take us far and get us through this tournament.”
Added Scheuermann, “We know we’re up against pretty good (teams). We just have to play well.”
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…