Kirkwood Community College (KCC) handed the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) baseball team a 10-2 loss in the championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XI Baseball Tournament May 14 at Clinton, ending the season for the Bears.
DMACC closed the season at 28-28. The Bears entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed and advanced to the championship game after dropping their tournament opener to the same KCC team, which was seeded third. Along the way, DMACC defeated fifth-seeded Ellsworth Community College (ECC), second-seeded North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) and top-seeded Southeastern Community College (SECC).
The Bears took a 1-0 led against KCC, scoring a run in the top of the third. KCC scored twice in each of the fourth and fifth innings to open up a 4-1 lead that became 4-2 when DMACC scored in the top of the sixth. KCC then all but put the game out of reach with six runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Freshman Austin Murr of Denmark Township, Minn., led DMACC's 12-hit attack with four hits, including a triple. Freshman Tavien Gillette of Rock Island, Ill., had two hits, including a double, and he and freshman Austin Weiler of Olathe, Kan., drove in one run apiece.
Freshman Spencer Hanson of West Des Moines was DMACC's starting pitcher and suffered his third loss of the season against seven victories. He pitched four and a third innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Freshman Nate Holliday of Muscatine threw an inning and two-thirds, giving up three runs on five hits and freshman Janier Puente of Perry worked a third of an inning, allowing two runs on two hits. Freshman Sam Laakso of Duluth, Minn., closed out the game for the Bears, throwing an inning and two-thirds. He allowed two runs on two hits, struck out one batter and walked three.
As Region XI champion, KCC will host the NJCAA North Plains District Tournament May 19 and 20. The North Plains District champion will advance to the NJCAA Division II Baseball World Series May 26 to June 2 at Enid, Okla.