Co-Lin drops contest at JCWS

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

MILLINGTON, Tenn. &045; On a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon in USA Stadium, the Elgin (Ill.) Community College Spartans manufactured three runs and turned back the Co-Lin Wolves 3-1 in the opening round of the NJCAA Division II World Series.

The Spartans overcame an 8-strikeout, 6-hit performance by Co-Lin pitcher Ryan Belanger, scoring twice in the first inning.

Elgin (53-8), a first-round loser last year, advances to Sunday’s 7:30 game against the winner of the Parkland (Ill.)-Brookdale (N.J.)

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contest. Co-Lin (30-27-1) faces the loser at noon today.

In earlier games Saturday, Chesapeake (Md.) whipped Madison (Wis.) Tech 11-1 and Grand Rapids (Mich.) held off Mesa (Ariz.) 6-4 in 10 innings. Chesapeake plays Grand Rapids at 3 p.m. today. Madison plays Mesa at 9 a.m.

&uot;We had some ugly at-bats,&uot; said Co-Lin head coach Keith Case. &uot;We got runners in position but we couldn’t score them. I’m probably most frustrated by our lack of run production.&uot;

Case saw his team leave 4 runners on base. Elgin right-hander Robert Johnson(11-1) chilled Co-Lin with a 4-hitter. The 6-foot-1 sophomore struck out two batters and walked one.

&uot;Johnson did a good job,&uot; Case said. &uot;We made some big cuts early and

hit fly balls. We didn’t adjust. We only got one hit out of the top of our batting order.&uot;

Co-Lin freshman first baseman Scotty Smith accounted for two of his team’s hits. He doubled and singled.

&uot;Their pitcher threw strikes and we kept rolling over,&uot; said Smith. &uot;We didn’t make it happen. Elgin had some good defense, too.&uot;

The Spartans supported Johnson with several outstanding defensive plays and made one double play.

Elgin head coach Bill Angelo said he was pleased with his team’s solid performance in USA Stadium.

&uot;I thought our guys did a good job of coming in here and not getting excited. I told them not to let the forum bother them.

‘&uot;I was extremely happy we could get two runs in the first inning,&uot; Angelo pointed out. &uot;Belanger is a good pitcher. He has one of the best breaking balls we’ve seen.&uot;

Belanger was disappointed by his performance. He blamed himself for Elgin’s third run. &uot;That run was my fault.&uot;

Case explained the throwing error. &uot;Ryan had his adrenalin flowing. He wanted to make things happen. He was trying to erase the runner with a pick.&uot;

The Spartans plated an insurance run in the fifth. After hitting Alex Turk with a pitch, Belanger tried to pick him off first base. Instead, Belanger overthrew Smith on the pickoff and Turk raced to third base. Turk scored on Nick Tepper’s grounder to deep short.

The Spartans scored twice in the

first inning.