Jimmies’ ride comes to an endJamestown College entered the NAIA national tournament as one of the top hitting teams in the country. But in Oklahoma City, things just didn’t click. That was the case again on Thursday as the Jimmies were eliminated by Northwestern (Iowa) 5-2. The Jimmies, who scored nearly 10 runs per game during the season, were held to just 10 total in their three games at Jim Wade Stadium.
Jamestown College entered the NAIA national tournament as one of the top hitting teams in the country.
But in Oklahoma City, things just didn’t click.
That was the case again on Thursday as the Jimmies were eliminated by Northwestern (Iowa) 5-2. The Jimmies, who scored nearly 10 runs per game during the season, were held to just 10 total in their three games at Jim Wade Stadium.
“It’s just hard to believe,” said JC coach Tom Hager. “Really for nearly 50 games, we were a very productive offensive team, but the last 4 or 5 games we just did not swing the bats very well. In the most important games of the year, things just didn’t click for us and everybody is frustrated about that.”
The Jimmies finished the season with a 40-13 record and won their first outright Dakota Athletic Conference championship since 2005.
“It stings right now because we didn’t play very well here late in the season, especially our last 2 games, but when we’re able to take a step back and look at the season as a whole, clearly the 2010 season was a success,” Hager said.
The season will be known primarily for the gaudy offensive numbers they put up, but they couldn’t get things going in Oklahoma City.
After getting just 4 hits on Wednesday, they had only 6 Thursday and never led in the game after Northwestern (37-19) jumped up early with 3 runs in the top of the first inning.
“The last couple of days we found ourselves playing uphill and that’s a tough place to be when you’re facing good teams,” Hager said.
After a rocky start, left-hander Ryan Iliff settled in and worked into the seventh inning, but was charged with his fourth loss. Chad Boldt finished up with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
“Ryan was able to settle in after the first inning and keep us in the game,” Hager said. “Offensively, we just couldn’t get anything going.”
The Jimmies cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third when Max Boe doubled in Tim Penner. Hager moved Boe into the leadoff spot and put Erik Church into the 3-hole looking for a spark, but that didn’t work either.
Church, the DAC MVP, did club a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth, his 12th, to cut the deficit to 5-2, but they got no closer as Taylor Morris fired 7 strong innings for Northwestern and Eddie Pantzlaff nailed it down with two scoreless frames for the save.
“We faced some outstanding pitching in this tournament, no question,” Hager said. “But you also have to be able to make adjustments and we were unable to do that on a consistent basis.”
Boe had the lone multi-hit game for the Jimmies, finishing 2 for 4. Church homered and walked.
Chuck Stith and Clint Gingerich were each 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs for the Red Raiders, who advanced to face sixth-ranked Oklahoma City in the second game on Thursday.
That one was all Stars as they capped off a dominating run through the 3-day tournament with a 9-4 win. Oklahoma City (49-14) outscored their 3 opponents 48-11, advancing to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho for the 11th time.
NAIA National Tournament
Group 5 at Oklahoma City
Northwestern 5, Jamestown College 2
Red Raiders 300 002 000 — 5 9 0
Jimmies 001 000 010 — 2 6 1
Taylor Morris, Eddie Pantzlaff (8) and Chuck Stith. Ryan Iliff, Chad Boldt (7) and Griffin Sweazey. W—Morris (4-5). L—Iliff (7-4). Save—Pantzlaff (4). HR—JC, Erik Church (12).
Records: Jamestown College 40-13; Northwestern 37-19.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com