Delgado overcomes adversity to continue dominance of Region 23 baseball
NEW ORLEANS – The statement goes about our lives that “the only things certain are death and taxes.”
You might add Delgado winning Region 23 in NJCAA Division I baseball.
The Dolphins, like clockwork, raced through the Region 23 tournament Friday and Saturday unbeaten, clinching the title with a 5-1 victory over Baton Rouge Community College Saturday afternoon at Kirsch-Rooney to secure the championship.
Delgado opened the tournament with a 10-2 victory over Nunez Community College on Friday.
On Friday night, Baton Rouge appeared to have Delgado beaten but the Dolphins found a way to win, scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out a 6-5 victory.
That set the stage for Saturday afternoon.
The Dolphins had no intention of making mothers mad by having to play a third and deciding game against Baton Rouge on Mother’s Day.
Delgado took care of business, finishing the job, thanks to an outstanding pitching performance.
Hunter Draper pitched six solid innings to pick up the victory, allowing just one run on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts to improve to 6-1.
Carson Lore came on and was nails, pitching three hitless innings in relief, striking out three, walking one to pick up his second save.
The Dolphins got all of the run support needed in the top of the first inning as LSU signee Brayden Jobert doubled and scored on a double by Ethan Lege to make it 1-0. After a single by Brennan Lambert, JT Singletary drove in Lege with a groundout and it was 2-0.
Jobert padded the lead in the top of the third inning with a long home run to right field, his 15th of the season, and Delgado had a 3-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Lege singled, Lambert walked and Singletary singled home Lege to make it 4-0.
The Bears (28-25) picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Parker Autry but that was all they would get.
Delgado got an insurance run in the eighth inning with out the benefit of a hit on walks to Lambert and Connor Feustle while Singletary was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Josh Alexander plated the final run with a groundout and the deed was done.
You always want to be playing your best baseball at the right time and Delgado (34-11) has won 10 straight games.
It has been a season of turmoil, a season of challenge for Hall of Fame coach Joe Scheuermann.
Early in the season, Delgado lost top pitchers in Caleb Drew and Chris Olivier for the season to injuries and did not have Zane Zeppuhar, who missed half the season injured before coming back in the last month to help the cause.
Another pitcher with promise, Connor Cosse, never completely recovered from Tommy John surgery and did not pitch.
Among key position players who start, Stephen Klein has been out for weeks with a fractured thumb, outfielder Mikey Stutes has missed significant time with a lingering hamstring issue and shortstop Jobee Boone, the team’s leading average hitter and outstanding shortstop, is unable play and is not expected back the rest of the season.
Freshman Sean Fasano, a native of Italy, had to step in for Boone and played a fine shortstop and hit a big two-run home run in the win over Baton Rouge Friday night.
Championship programs find a way to overcome adversity and Delgado is of that ilk.
“This is a special group,” Scheuermann said. “We fought threw a lot of injuries all month long, especially the last week. I tip my cap to the kids. They played big and Fasano really stepped up when we needed him to step up. That’s what this program is about. Draper was huge for us and Lore came in and absolutely slammed the door. That’s how you win.”
When you have great tradition and have dominated region opponents, the mental edge is as important as any perceived physical edge.
“I think you hit the nail on the head,” Scheuermann said. “When you expect to win, you win and we’ve been very blessed here to have some very good players over the years and built a hell of a tradition. These kids try to uphold that.”
Delgado has won 11 consecutive Region 23 tournament titles and 14 of the last 15 contested.
Now, the Dolphins advance to the South Central District championship in Oklahoma in two weeks against the winner of Region two.
“We are going to lick our wounds a little bit,” Scheuermann said. “Klein will get his cast off Monday. We’ll get him back swinging a bat a little bit. Perhaps we can patch Stutes back together again with more time and make a run at it against likely Crowder out of Missouri. We’ve got our hands full but we are going to show up.”
The journey to get to Oklahoma was taxing but Delgado refused to die.
That is certain.
DCC 201 010 010 — 5 7 1, 7 LOB
BRCC 000 001 000 — 1 6 1, 9 LOB
WP—Hunter Draper (6-1)
LP—Jacob Poe (2-6)
SV—Carson Lore (2)
Time of Game: 2:20
SB—Brennan Lambert, Creed David
2B—Brayden Jobert, Ethan Lege, JT Singletary
HR—Brayden Jobert (15)
Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…