Delgado wins pair, moves into NJCAA South Central District driver’s seat
NEW ORLEANS – Once the three-team NJCAA South Central District Championship was narrowed down to two, Delgado right-hander Evan Hileman turned the event into a one-man show.
Hileman struck out a season-high 14 batters in seven innings as the eighth-ranked Dolphins moved into the driver’s seat of the double-elimination tournament with a 10-2 victory over Maple Woods (Missouri) in the finale of the opening-day tripleheader Saturday night at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
Earlier Saturday, Delgado and Maple Woods combined to eliminate Eastern Oklahoma State. The Monarchs opened the day with a 13-2 mercy-rule victory over the Mountaineers, while the Dolphins rallied in their final two at-bats to defeat Eastern 10-6.
Delgado (35-14) and Maple Woods (33-26) meet again at 3 p.m. Sunday, with the Dolphins needing one victory to advance to their third straight Junior College World Series. If Maple Woods wins on Sunday, a winner-take-all game will be played Monday at 1 p.m.
The entire tournament is being broadcast live on SportsNOLA.com and simulcast on Dolphin Radio 98.9 FM in New Orleans.
Hileman (6-2) held the Monarchs, ranked among the top 20 teams in batting average nationally at .351, to five hits. He had three strikeouts in the first, fourth and sixth innings and fanned six consecutive batters at one point.
“Once I established my fastball,” Hileman said, “my breaking ball just came along.”
Delgado coach Joe Scheuermann said Hileman “was determined to go back out in the eighth,” but Scheuermann lifted him after he walked the leadoff hitter. Hunter Adams came on and got the final three outs as the game was shortened to eight innings by the eight-run mercy rule.
Meanwhile, Delgado’s offense backed Hileman with 13 hits, six of them coming in a five-run second inning.
“(Hileman) was getting ahead of hitters and he was able to locate,” Scheuermann said. “The five-run second took some pressure off and he was able to challenge hitters.”
Dylan Weston led off the top of the second – the Dolphins were the visiting team by virtue of a coin flip with a double. After that, Delgado added five singles, including run-scoring hits by Robbie Podorsky, Daniel Lahare and JP LaGreco.
Delgado plated single runs in the third and fourth and scored two unearned runs in the seventh before Owen Magee hit his second home run of the day, a solo shot to lead off the top of the eighth. Magee, who drove in five runs in the two games, also had a two-run homer against Eastern Oklahoma.
Maple Woods’ only runs came in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Andrew Curry and Conrad McMahon and a throwing error.
Against Eastern Oklahoma, the Dolphins broke an 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth with five runs – three on a bases-clearing double by LaGreco, who had six hits and five RBI in the two games.
Christian Volion was hit by a pitch to open the eighth. After a failed bunt attempt and a flyout, Podorsky reached on a high chopper to third, and Lahare followed with his fourth hit of the game, a single to right to score Volion with the go-ahead run.
Magee walked to load the bases for LaGreco, who drilled a double off the right-field wall to make it 9-5. Spencer Miller then drove in LaGreco with a single for the fifth run of the inning.
Eastern Oklahoma (32-32) rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie it in the fifth with the help of three hit batters and two errors, and then took its only lead in the seventh on a double by Brett Akins, scoring Tristan Clarke.
Lahare led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Magee.
In the opener, Maple Woods pounded out 20 hits off four Mountaineer pitchers in seven innings.
Clayton Risch and Will Jibas had four hits each and Tyler Cox hit a mammoth solo homer to the right of the center field flagpoles. Connor Simpson drove in three runs and Levi McLaughlin and Jake Perry had two RBI apiece for the winners.
Jackson Jones worked 5 2/3 innings for the victory, while Jake Smith pitched out of a sixth-inning jam and got the final three outs for the save.
Eastern Oklahoma had eight hits, but could not take advantage of bases-loaded opportunities in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
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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;…