Delgado’s potential Junior College World Series road comes at home
The history of Delgado Community Collegeâ€™s baseball program has had its share of memorable moments. Few, if any, have occurred at its home ballpark.
Draw a 600-mile radius from City Park Avenue, and chances are, the Dolphins have been on just about every one of those highways in their quest to reach the Junior College World Series.
But beginning Friday, the road to Grand Junction, Colo., runs through Kirsch-Rooney Stadium, as Delgado plays host to the NJCAA Division I Region 23 tournament.
â€œYou get to play in front of your fans, get to sleep in your bed, get to stick to your daily routine,â€ said Delgado coach Joe Scheuermann.
Delgado (37-14) – ranked No. 43 in this weekâ€™s Perfect Game Top 50 of all junior college teams in the country, regardless of affiliation – will welcome its two rivals from Region 23, Baton Rouge Community College (36-18) and Meridian Community College (33-19), for a three-team, double-elimination tournament.
Friday is round-robin day: Delgado against Meridian at 12:30 p.m., Meridian vs. Baton Rouge at 4, Delgado and Baton Rouge at 7:30. Single games are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, if necessary.
In the regular season, the teams faced each other six times, with Baton Rouge going 7-5, Meridian 6-6 and Delgado 5-7. In the Iterative Strength Ratings of 390 junior college teams on BoydsWorld.com, Meridian is ranked 27th, Delgado No. 34 and Baton Rouge No. 36.
â€œIf that doesnâ€™t say parity,â€ Scheuermann said, â€œthen what does? Throw a blanket over us.â€
It takes three wins to get through the tournament. The easiest path is to win twice on Friday, and then have two chances to win one game over the weekend.
Sophomore left-hander Brent Bonvillian, an LSU signee, will start one of the games on Friday. Three of Bonvillianâ€™s seven victories this season have been complete-game shutouts.
Delgadoâ€™s balanced offense is paced by freshman first baseman Alex Prestenbach, who leads the club with a .366 average and 44 RBI. Sophomore catcher Chad Gough-Fortenberry (.351, 41 RBI) ranks second in both categories.
AUDIO: Delgado head coach Joe Scheuermann:
AUDIO: Delgado catcher Chad Gough-Fortenberry:
This weekendâ€™s survivor gets to play at home next weekend in the South Central District tournament. The Region 23 champion will welcome champs from Region 2 (Oklahoma/Arkansas) and Region 16 (Missouri), with the district champion advancing to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., beginning May 28.
Delgado has made two previous World Series appearances.
When â€œRagsâ€ Scheuermann, Joeâ€™s father, first got Delgado to Grand Junction in 1985, he had to get out of a regional in Tennessee.
Twenty-two years later, Joe Scheuermann got the Dolphins back to Grand Junction, but not before winning a district tournament in Missouri.
Even the near-misses came on the road â€“ in 1999 in Alabama, last season in Oklahoma.
Now, the opportunity awaits for the Dolphins to get back to Grand Junction â€“ and itâ€™s in the comforts of home.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in 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;…