By Brendan Owens
It was red versus navy, and the game was on as the Northeast Texas Community College Eagles baseball team battled amongst each other in the team’s annual Red/Navy World Series. Baseball Assistant Coaches Austin Knight and Aaron Gilbreath drafted teams for the in-house tournament.
The navy team claimed the first game of the series, dominating the scoreboard with a 7 runs to the red’s 1. The team was led by Johnuelle Ponce who went 3-3 with a triple and a home run with 4 RBIs and a walk. Pitcher Brandon Colbert went six innings, only allowing one run and two hit. With hopes of sweeping the red team to take the title of champions, the navy team brought out brooms for a playful in-your-face effect for the second game. The red team felt a fire ignite inside and took Game 2 with Brady Batten leading the way as he pitched a complete game and allowed two runs. “It felt great to go the complete
game,” Batten said. “I feel like there is some improvements I need to make, but overall it felt great.”
Daniel Nikitovic started the game off with a home run to right field. “It felt good to put the team on the board early and get the game started off right,” he said. Red’s Jonathan Soberanes knocked in the second run of the game with a triple down the right field line. Blake Bannister batted a hard ground ball to third base, hitting off the third baseman’s knee and went into the dugout to score the third and final run.
With the Red/Navy World Series tied at 1-1, it meant all out war for the teams on Game 3. The red team was led with a great pitching performance by David Sanchez, going a complete game. Brendan Keany pitched a complete game for the navy team. Red team’s Carlos Roman knocked in the first run of the game with a hard ground ball to left field. Conner Chorpita knocked in the second and final run for the first inning.
Sanchez finished the last inning with a fly out and two strikeouts wrapping up the series and recording a win for Red. The champions stormed the field and dog piled on the mound. “It feels great to win and be able to pull the bragging rights out whenever I please,” Soberanes said. “It’s a huge accomplishment could not have finished the fall a better way.
With the red team winning, Coach Gilbreath claimed another win over Coach Knight for the Red/Navy World Series, giving him a 2-0 edge. “It’s quite an honor to have won back to back World Series,” Gilbreath said. “Every game there was some great pitching, w
hich as a pitching coach was another bonus. It was quite a blast to see the energy of both teams.”
The baseball team has had quite the fall season as well. “Fall ended pretty well. We had a lot of new guys, and it was mostly getting to know them and them getting to know us,” Head Baseball Coach Josh Stewart said.
Earlier this month, the Angelina College Roadrunners hosted this year’s Region 14 North Fall Conference Tournament. The Eagles went 2-1-1 on the weekend defeating Navarro Junior College and Bossier Parish College in 8 innings, losing to Angelina and tying with Panola Junior College. The game against Panola ended early, and the Eagles were not able to hit in the bottom of the inning to walk-off. “We played pretty well in October,” Stewart said. “In the conference tournament, we were OK and saw some things to improve on.”
The team finished up the fall season with a tough defeat to Tyler Junior College in 14 innings and won two games against Weatherford Junior College at home in a long 16 inning game.
“I feel great about the talent on the team. We have a young team so it will be how mentally strong and resilient these guys can be,” Gilbreath said. “The important thing will be to not let our highs get too high or staying down when things don’t go our way. Our work ethic is second to none, and it will be fun to see the gains each player has made come spring time.”
The head baseball coach said the team is excited about what spring season will bring and are still continuing to work both on and off the diamond. “We are definitely looking forward to spring season. We’ve started our offseason workouts now,” he said. “Everybody’s excited. We’re just trying to work on the things we need to work on and getting our grades as good as we can. We have a lot of newcomers breaking into college and figuring things out of the field as well.”
For more information on the Northeast baseball team and their road to Opening Day 2016, visit the website www.ntcceagles.com.
Or follow on Twitter: @NTCC_Baseball.