Delgado wins dramatic 10th-inning walk-off to reach JUCO World Series
NEOSHO, Mo. – We have seen this ending before.
In the Region 23 tournament at Hammond two weekends ago, Southeastern Louisiana signee Cole Stromboe and University of Louisiana signee Josh Alexander came through in clutch situations as Delgado scored three consecutive walk-off, one-run victories to advance to the South Central District Championship.
On a bigger stage here Sunday, the pair combined to do it again in a bigger way.
Stromboe reached on an error with one out in the 10th inning before Alexander rifled the first pitch he saw from Jeremy Slate into the left-center field gap for a double. Stromboe raced home and just beat the tag at the plate to score the winning run as Delgado edged Seminole State 2-1 to win the district title Sunday.
The Dolphins earned a spot in the Junior College World Series beginning Saturday in Grand Junction, Colorado.
FINS WIN! Delgado captures the South Central Districy championship and a NJCAA Division I World Series berth with a 2-1 walkoff over Seminole State! pic.twitter.com/A92kSHqTYk
— Delgado Athletics (@delgadodolphins) May 21, 2023
“I like to hunt, I like to hunt, not to be hunted and attack early and often,” Alexander said. “The previous at-bat, he beat me, I got jammed and hit into a double play. All I was trying to do was get my foot down and catch it out front.
“I can’t even explain. I don’t even have words I feel with the excitement I have for the team and for myself. That’s why I came here and that’s why I stayed here for my third year. I knew we had something special coming into this year. We had all the guys coming back and new guys coming in. We had a special group. We never quit. Since the fall, I’ve been looking forward to getting to Grand Junction.”
In Hammond, Alexander delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Baton Rouge Community College 4-3 to win the Region 23 title May 6.
That came about 24 hours after Stromboe delivered a pinch-hit, RBI single to walk-off a 4-3 win over Nunez in the bottom of the ninth inning.
That came after the opening game of the region tournament when Stromboe delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning, scoring Alexander in an 8-7 victory over BRCC.
This is getting to be a regular thing for the cardiac Dolphins, who have won six straight games, five by one run, and all of those in their last at-bat.
On Saturday, Delgado beat Seminole State 3-2 on Friday on a two-out, RBI double by Tyler Cook in the ninth inning before downing host Crowder College 8-5. Seminole State edged Crowder 5-4 to advance to Sunday’s championship round.
“It’s crazy,” Stromboe said. “I told the guys ‘no more walk offs, I don’t have any more in me.’ Josh came up today and hit another walk-off.
“I think we’re getting kind of tired of it. It really is crazy. We needed some magic. Me and Josh were talking about it in the outfield. We said if it comes down to it, we’re going to have to flip the lineup over and do some damage, me and him. I think we kind of manifested that.
“I hit one at the shortstop, got on first and Josh split the gap, real close play at the plate and Josh walked it off. I was pretty gased coming around third. I got on my horse and said let’s run. It worked out. We’re excited to go to Colorado to finish this off.”
In a great pitcher’s duel, Delgado left-hander Turner Toms was brilliant, pitching eight innings, allowing just one run o five hits. Toms walked just one and struck out eight in his longest outing of the season, throwing 100 pitches.
Kyle St. Pierre, who has battled injuries and had not pitched much, came on in the ninth and showed what he is capable of doing when healthy, posting two scoreless, hitless innings to pick up his second win of the season.
“Coach Joe has done nothing but believe in me all year,” St. Pierre said. “I knew I would get a shot sometime. I knew had to pitch. He just told me to be calm, keep confident and at some point, I would get my shot. I knew I just had to keep my composure. I knew if I trusted in my stuff that I would be able to throw the ball over the plate with confidence and command and that’s what I did.
“All the credit to Turner Toms. He put me in a position to be successful. This team is always connected. I think that’s very important if you want to win at a higher level. When Coach Joe has all the confidence in me, it gives me confidence.”
Casey Baugh started and pitched well for Seminole State, going five innings, allowing a run on six hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. Slate came on and pitched extremely well, throwing four scoreless, hitless innings before the Dolphins scored the winning run in the 10th.
The game was scoreless into the bottom of the fifth inning when Stromboe, who reached safely in all five plate appearances, walked. Stromboe then made a superb base-running play, advancing from first to third on a groundout to third by JT Singletary. With two outs, Tulane signee Brock Slaton singled home Stromboe to give the Dolphins a 1-0 lead.
The Trojans (42-22) tied it in the eighth inning on a single by Martell Davis, who had two hits and reached on an error, a sacrifice bunt by Kegan Magee, his second of the game and a two-out, RBI double by Blake Nichols.
The Dolphins had chances to score early but a pair of baserunning blunders short-circuited scoring opportunities in the first and second innings when the Dolphins had four hits and a walk combined in the two frames. Other than the fifth inning, Delgado never had a runner get past first base until the 10th inning.
Outside of the eighth inning, Seminole State had just two runners reach second base.
“It’s really special,” Scheuermann said. “What can I say about Turner Toms and his effort today? What can I say about Kyle St. Pierre? He’s been on the shelf for it seems like forever for us. He comes in and does a great job. Alexander has been big for us all season long but nothing larger than that. Stromboe is probably one of the better runners on our club. He finds a way to always be in the right spot at the right time.
“I thought our experience on the mound would be our key … It has been. Everyone that toed the rubber was nails. Pitching wins championships. I think there’s nothing like experience. You can’t practice or teach it. This team had tremendous chemistry from Day 1.”
With the victory, Delgado (45-11) advances to the JUCO World Series for the sixth time in program history, the fifth time under Scheuermann. The Dolphins will join nine under district champions at Sam Suplizio Field beginning Saturday in the double-elimination event. The bracket will be announced Tuesday.
“I thought this could be a special year from the get-go and I’m not going to back down from that,” Scheuermann said. “We just find a way to get it done.”
The Dolphins got it done and now they are getting on a plane for Colorado, at altitude, with a team that is flying high.
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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…