Former SW standouts pace Lancers
Published in Sports on May 29, 2008 3:54 PM
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- The Lenoir Community College baseball team is within sight of its first national championship.
The No. 1-ranked Lancers overcame a poor showing in a completion of a rain-delayed game to down Monroe (N.Y.) Community College, 5-4, in the NJCAA Division II World Series at USA Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Lenoir Community College (54-11 overall) gets a rematch with No. 2-ranked LSU-Eunice, which defeated the Lancers 13-3 in a mercy-rule shortened contest earlier in the day. Game time is 8:30 p.m. (EDT).
The Lancers must beat LSU-E twice to win the national crown.
"This is great for our school, the whole faculty, staff and administration," said Lenoir CC coach Stony Wine. "This means the most for those guys in the dugout. We deserve another chance at (LSUE)."
LSU-Eunice won the 2006 national title.
"Any time you get a chance to come back against a team that embarrassed you, you throw everything you have at them," said LCC sophomore outfielder Ryan Norton said. "We're going to bring our 'A' game. This is another shot to play the game the way we're capable of playing."
The Southern Wayne duo of T.J. Hinson and David Combs led the Lancers on the mound against Monroe. Hinson, who also won the first game of the 2008 World Series against Western Oklahoma State College, earned the victory with 7 1/3 innings of 10-hit baseball in which he struck out three, walked none and gave up four earned runs.
"Somebody had to come out here and put up a win and I wanted the ball again," said Hinson, who was pitching on three days' rest. "Coach let me have the ball and I did my job."
Combs picked up the save with 1 2/3 innings of no-hit, two-strikeout relief. Combs has now pitched in all four World Series games, including a win against defending national champ Grand Rapids (Mich.) in the second round.
"I love being the bulldog for this team," said Combs. "Whenever (Wine) asks if I'm ready, I tell him yes every time. I'll throw my arm off for this team, if I need to."
The Lancers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Kent Burford led off the game with a single and was followed by a walk issued to Norton. A throwing error by MCC pitcher Steve Forster scored Burford while a sacrifice fly by Greg Dissenger plated Norton.
The Lancers added another run in the second inning when Bud Lanier doubled home Todd Seymour, who had led off the inning with a single.
After MCC pulled to within 3-2 in the bottom of the second, Norton led off the third with a home run to left field. MCC climbed to within 4-3 in the fourth and LCC tacked on its final run on an RBI double in the fifth inning by Norton which scored Burford, who had led off the frame with a triple.
From that point on, the power pitching of Hinson and Combs took over. Hinson surrendered a run to the Tribunes (41-15) in the eighth, but that's all the offense MCC could muster the rest of the way.
Burford, Norton and Lanier had two hits each, with Norton finishing with a team-high two RBI. He leads the team in the World Series with seven RBI.
MCC had 10 hits.
By BRYAN C. HANKS
Kinston Free Press Sports Editor
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