Sinclair finished the regular season winning its 8th conference champion in the last 10 years with a 46-11 record. The OCCAC Championship automatically qualified the District Tournament for the bid to the World Series in Enid, OK.
The journey back to the College World Series started at the District Tournament at Sports Force Parks in Sandusky. Sinclair was able to navigate the early rounds winning the first 3 games moving toward championship Saturday. The #2 team in the nation, Kellogg CC out of Michigan was the only thing standing between Sinclair and its second trip to the World Series. Kellogg did give Sinclair its first loss after winning a school record 31 straight games to stay alive, but in the final game Sinclair rallied to advance and move on.
Returning to the World Series for the second time in three years, Sinclair was ready for what was about to transpire.
Opening night of the World Series under the lights on Saturday, May 26, Sinclair as the #5 seed squared off against the home team and the #4 seed Northern Oklahoma-Enid Jets on their home field. The Jets held a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th. That was when the home team bats caught fire and pounded out 5 runs in the sixth followed by 3 in the seventh to record an opening round 12-3 victory over Sinclair.
Sunday, May 27 the Tartan Pride now playing in the elimination bracket, matched up against Monroe CC. Right off the bat, Sinclair decided it wanted to stay and play as they unloaded 5 runs in the bottom of the first. From that point, Sinclair just added to the lead and put Monroe away 9-3 to advance to the next day.
Next up for the Tartan Pride, Brunswick CC Dolphins. After three, Sinclair was up 2-1 going into the top of the fourth. Sinclair had scored 1 in the top of the third and started work on Brunswick starting pitcher. The Pride was able to push 2 more runs across the plate and knock out the opposing starter. Now into a depleted Brunswick bullpen, Sinclair was able to score some much needed insurance runs in the fifth to hold on to a 7-2 advancing victory.
Now with a 2 game winning streak and gaining confidence, Sinclair returned back where it all started a few days earlier, playing the home team Northern Oklahoma-Enid now for a chance to advance or go home. Just as the first contest between the two, the winner had the #1 seed LSU-Eunice waiting in the wings.
After a scoreless first three innings, NOC-Enid scored the game’s first run on a sac fly to left field. Sinclair followed in the top of the fourth with a scoreless inning to trail 1-0 headed into the bottom of the fifth. Once again the home team was able to score three times to put pressure on the Sinclair pitching staff.
Up 4-0 in the top of the sixth, NOC-Enid once again kept the Sinclair bats quiet keeping Sinclair scoreless. Now into what looked like a tired Sinclair bullpen, the Jets pounded out another 2 runs to post a 6-0 lead after 6. Heading into the final three innings and down to their last 9 outs, Sinclair found some life in what was once a productive lineup. Finally pushing a runner across the plate, Sinclair had some hope down 6-1 heading into the bottom of the 7th. As in the previous three innings, Sinclair could not silence the NOC-Enid bats and they continued to score to lead 8-1 after 7.
With their backs against the wall, Sinclair made one final push to try and keep the season alive. The Pride pounded out 5 runs in the top of the 8th to get within 2 headed into the bottom of the inning. Now only up 8-6 on Sinclair, NOC-Enid needed every run they could find. But after a long week, the Sinclair bullpen could not hold the Jets scoreless and allowed two more runs to score.
After scoring 6 runs in the last two innings and getting to within 2 runs, Sinclair now found itself back down 4 heading into the top of the 9th. Unfortunately for the Pride, they had no magic left in the bats and finished the game down 10-6.
This was the second Sinclair appearance in the College World Series, this year’s 5th place finish and the 2016 3rd place finish exemplifies the outstanding efforts by the Sinclair players, coaches and staff. The #1 team in the tournament, LSU Eunice knocked off Parkland for the championship. Sinclair’s Eddie Pursinger (SO/1B – Anderson H.S.) was honored by being named to the All-Tournament Team.
It goes without saying that the Tartan Pride nation is extremely proud of this group of young men and how they have represented Sinclair and the OCCAC.
Follow Sinclair Baseball on twitter (@SinclairBB) for updates on game times and probable starters or for all Sinclair Athletics: www.SinclairAthletics.Com