Home Sweet Home: Delgado completes sweep of tournament, heads back to World Series
NEW ORLEANS – It was late Sunday afternoon at “Rags” Scheuermann Field at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium, with players and fans of Delgado Community College’s baseball team counting the outs to a third consecutive trip to the Junior College World Series.
Between innings, the Philip Phillips hit of four years ago played over the ballpark’s public address system.
It was a fitting selection on this Sunday afternoon unlike any other, as Delgado completed a sweep of the NJCAA South Central District Championship with an 11-4 victory over Maple Woods (Missouri), sending the Dolphins to Grand Junction, Colorado, for the fifth time in program history.
This time was different than when the Dolphins advanced in 1985, 2007 and the last two years.
This time, it was at home.
If home, like Webster says, is “a family living together in one building, house, etc.” Kirsch-Rooney would fall into the “etc.” category.
For the Scheuermann family, it has been a second home for decades, going back to when “Rags” launched the Delgado athletic program in the 1970s and handed the reins of the program to son Joe in the summer of 1990. That family gathered shortly after Sunday’s finale for a picture with the district championship plaque.
The other “family” that calls Kirsch-Rooney home is the Delgado baseball family. That family was out in full force on a sun-splashed afternoon, both in the grandstand and as railbirds down the left-field line, past the Delgado dugout.
There were scores of former Dolphins, from players on some of the early teams to those who were in Grand Junction last year, like current LSU Tigers Cole Freeman and Cody Ducote.
“There must have been 35 or 40 former players,” said an emotional Joe Scheuermann. “That’s awesome.”
Which is why winning district tournaments in Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma is great, and winning them at home is that much better.
“Your chancellor is here, your vice chancellors are here, and you get a chance to showcase your program to guys that don’t normally see you play,” Scheuermann said.
“I thought we could have (won at home) with a great group of guys five years ago. We did it with a great group of guys today.”
“Five years ago” was the last time Delgado hosted the South Central District, when it just missed a trip to Grand Junction, losing the winner-take-all final in extra innings to Jefferson College of Missouri, exactly five years ago Sunday.
This time around, there would be no such drama.
The eighth-ranked Dolphins (36-14) scored four runs in the bottom of the second on two hits and four Maple Woods errors, and added two more in the third on a home run by Dylan Weston.
Spencer Veit held Maple Woods (33-27) to one run on three singles through the first five innings before allowing a walk, double and single in the sixth as the Monarchs pulled within 7-3.
Enter Adam Sinibaldi, Veit’s high school teammate at Archbishop Rummel who had pitched only seven innings in the regular season.
Sinibaldi got out of the sixth, and then the Dolphin offense gave him a larger cushion with four runs in the bottom of the inning – three coming with two outs on a single by Owen Magee and a double by Spencer Miller.
“We got some big base hits all day,” Scheuermann said. “Weston’s home run was big. I thought the hit by Owen with two outs was the nail.”
Sinibaldi would retire 10 consecutive Maple Woods hitters before allowing a solo home run to Andrew Curry with two outs in the top of the ninth. He left two pitches later with a tender elbow.
“I thought Veit and Sinibaldi were the story,” said Scheuermann. “Veit gives us a quality start and Sinibaldi comes in and slams the door.
“You’re always happy to see guys do good. It’s really special to see good guys do good.”
They were far from the only unsung heroes of Delgado’s stretch run. Second baseman Brandt Broussard, who had two hits and an RBI on Sunday, went 16-for-30 with 12 RBI in the Dolphins’ final eight games. He added a huge run-saving defensive play to end the top of the fourth.
“We put Broussard in at second base every day, and he’s made a difference offensively and defensively,” said Scheuermann.
Perhaps there was some synergy to the fact that with Joe Scheuermann, son of “Rags,” calling the shots in the dugout, the son of a coach, Christian Latino, delivered the final pitch, and the son of a coach, Chip Bonura, made the final putout, setting off a dogpile, albeit somewhat muted, in the center of the diamond.
Afterwards, players, alumni and family members all gathered on the playing surface, exchanging hugs and taking photos.
“It’s fun to watch this,” Scheuermann said. “It’s why you play.”
Now, the focus shifts to next week. Delgado will meet Yavapai (Arizona) in the opening round of the World Series Saturday at 8:30 p.m. CDT. Shortly after Sunday’s game, the Dolphin baseball family was making preliminary travel plans for the team and its fans, hoping to turn Sam Suplizio Field into Kirsch-Rooney West.
Without a doubt, Grand Junction is becoming yet another home for the Scheuermann and Delgado families.
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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;…