CSC media relations
JENKS – Connors State pounded out 18 base hits en route to a 14-10 victory over Northeastern A&M on Saturday at Hinch Field in Jenks and a berth in today’s NJCAA Region II Baseball championship game.
The Cowboys (48-9) will play for the title at 1 p.m. at Hinch Field against an opponent yet to be determined.
Eastern State and Seminole State met in an elimination game and the winner then played Northeastern A&M late Saturday, with the winner advancing to play the Cowboys. Whoever reaches the title game against the Cowboys they must win twice for the crown. An if necessary game would be played at 4 p.m.
It will be the Cowboys’ second consecutive year to reach the championship round, having lost to Eastern State, who is the defending champion.
“This team just grinds,” said Connors coach Perry Keith. “That’s what we’ve done all year. “It’s never one guy. We have all nine guys contributing. We are who we are in the tournament.
“They don’t panic. We make people throw strikes and we put it in play.”
Christian Perez led the Connors hitting assault with a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, which included a 3-run homer in the second inning, which game the Cowboys a 3-2 advantage, a lead they never relinquished. Perez finished with four RBIs on the day.
Korey Keith was 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and Yariel Gonzalez with two hits and 2 RBIs along with Eli Roundtree and Erik Kirkpatrick with two hits each.
“I happy to be in the championship round,” said Keith. When asked if he had a preference to play for the title he said, “No not really. The enemy is in the mirror and it will take care of itself.”
The winner of the Region II Championship will host the South Central District beginning Friday. It will be a double elimination tournament.
Connors starting pitcher Josh Hammill remained unbeaten at 7-0 as he went five innings. He left the game with the Cowboys holding a 7-3 lead. The Cowboys then called to the bullpen four other times to preserve the win.
Daniel Concepcion threw four innings, Sawyer Bernard one-third of an inning and Andrew Simonetti two-thirds of an inning.
The Cowboys broke the game open in the sixth inning when they sent 12 batters to the plate, pounding out four base hits, which resulted in seven runs for a 13-3 Connors advantage.
The Cowboys hoped to run-rule the Norsemen in the seventh, however, NEO scored three in the top of the seventh to make it a 13-6 game. Connors added another run in the eighth and NEO added to their total with one the eighth and three more in the ninth.
The Norsemen had 10 base hits against Connors’ four pitchers, who only issued four walks and struck out six.