Chipola wins baseball national championship

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—The Chipola College Indians trounced San Jacinto 15-6 to claim the NJCAA National Baseball Championship, June 3. A replay of the game is available at http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/39362902/v1452302283/live-njcaa-juco-world-series.

Trailing 5-4 through five innings, No. 1 Chipola erupted for 11 runs over the final four frames to win The title is the second in program history for the Indians. One day after forcing a winner-take-all championship game with San Jacinto, head coach Jeff Johnson’s Indians relied on a series of hitters as four different players posted multi-hit games in Chipola’s 12-hit attack. Led by winning relief pitcher Ryan Shauger, the Chipola bullpen limited the Gators to just one run over the final four innings.

Sophomore Jose Caballero of Chipola was named the Preston Walker Most Valuable Player after batting .448 (13-29) in the tournament. Chipola’s Evan Steele was named the Robert Purkey Most Outstanding Pitcher of the tournament after earning two victories on the mound. Other Chipola All-Tournament Award winners include: Infield: Jose Caballero, Reynaldo Rivera; Outfield: Jacob Silverstein, Catcher: Max Guzman; Pitching: Junior Harding; Outstanding Defensive Award: Trey Dawson; Outstanding Pitcher Award: Evan Steele; MVP: Jose Caballero; and Coach of the Year: Jeff Johnson.

Evan Steele, National Tournament Outstanding Pitcher

Jose Caballero, National Tournament MVP

Friday’s contest saw Chipola score early and often to force Saturday’s matchup, but it was San Jacinto that struck first in the tournament finale. The Gators plated a run in each of the first two innings only to see the Indians chip away to pull within one after five innings.

The offensive spark for Chipola started with Te’kwaan Whyte’s three-run home run in the sixth inning. The Indians used four runs on four hits in the seventh, including a two-run home run from Brody Wofford to seal the victory.

The Indians battled out of the consolation bracket, having won their final five games in the World Series after losing to San Jacinto on Monday to finish the season with a 51-9 record.

Chipola’s previous World Series title came in 2007, also under Johnson, a 7-3 victory over New Meixco Junior College.

Chipola’s 15 runs set a new single tournament record for total runs with 85, breaking the College of Southern Idaho’s previous record of 79 in 1984.

Johnson, the 2007 NJCAA Coach of the Year, was named the Bus Bugman Coach of the Year.

Chipola Coach Jeff Johnson speaks to crowd at welcome home party.

Chipola (51-9) beat San Jacinto 7-1 on June 2 to advance to the title game. Saturday’s championship game will be the two team’s third meeting in the double-elimination tournament. San Jac won the first battle with Chipola 13-8 on May 29.

En route to the title game, Chipola scored wins over Crowder (13-4), Florence-Darlington (11-7), McLennan (19-11), Wabash Valley (12-7) and San Jacinto (7-1). The Indians have 88 homeruns on the year.

The Indians have held the number one team in the national poll most of the season. Chipola also is the top team in Florida, capturing the FCSAA State Baseball Championship with a 12-0 win over Palm Beach on May 10.

Chipola Coach Jeff Johnson was named 2017 FCSAA State Coach of the Year. In 20 years as head coach,Johnson has taken the Indians to the FCSAA State Tournament 16 times with four state championships and two NJCAA National Championships (2017 and 2007).

Chipola National Champs Welcome Home Party