Tabor 1-2 in KCAC tournament

Jerrik Sigg scores on an error in the top of the eighth inning against Sterling Friday. Tabor came up just short in the elimination game, losing 12-11.
Jerrik Sigg scores on an error in the top of the eighth inning against Sterling Friday. Tabor came up just short in the elimination game, losing 12-11.
Having won the KCAC tournament the previous two years, the Tabor College baseball team made an early exit from the field this year. The Bluejays went 1-2 and were eliminated by eventual-champion Sterling Friday.

Tabor moved to 42-16 overall.

Sterling 12, Tabor 11

KCAC Game 3, Friday

Despite a strong offensive start, Tabor relinquished the lead in the seventh inning. The Bluejays built a 7-2 lead through three innings, but Sterling used a four-run sixth inning to tie the game at 9 and outscored the Bluejays 3-2 in the final three innings to claim the win.

Tabor batted through the order in the first inning, scoring six runs off six hits and an error, including an RBI double by Alex Couch and a two-run single by Ryan Neufeld. The Bluejays ended Sterling starter Oscar Sandoval’s outing after just 1⁄3 inning of work, roughing him up for four hits and six earned runs.

Sterling scored twice in the inning.

Manny DeLeon hit a solo home run in the second inning to extend Tabor’s lead to 7-2, but when Tabor loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third, Sterling went to its bullpen again and got out of the jam. That was the first of three consecutive scoreless innings for Tabor.

Sterling, meanwhile, scored three in the fourth inning, then DeLeon hit a two-run home run in the top of the sixth.

Sterling, however, added four runs off three hits and an error in the frame to tie the game. Three of those runs scored via home run.

The Warriors roughed up reliever Jesus Brito in the seventh inning, scoring one run on a balk and then launching a two-run home run off him to take a 12-9 lead.

Tabor scored twice in the eighth. Jerrik Sigg hit a two-out single and scored on an error, then Colton Flax hit a solo home run. But the effort was not enough.

Despite committing six errors, Sterling earned the victory.

DeLeon was 3-for-5 at-bat and had four RBIs. Flax was also 3-for-5 and drove in two runs.

Brito sustained the pitching loss. In one inning of relief, he gave up three hits and three earned runs while walking no one and striking out one.

Okla. Wesleyan 9, Tabor 2

KCAC Game 2, Thursday

After an offensive onslaught the day before, the Bluejay bats went silent against Eagle pitcher Alex Martinez, who gave up just four hits in his eight innings on the mound to earn the win for Oklahoma Wesleyan.

Tabor managed just two hits in the first seven innings of play, both courtesy of Alex Couch, who went 3-for-4 on the day and drove in both of Tabor’s runs. Couch’s first-inning RBI single scored Manny DeLeon, who had reached on a walk, to give Tabor an early 1-0 lead. In the sixth inning, after Michael Baca reached base on an error, Couch drove in Tabor’s second run with a single.

By that point, though, Tabor trailed 7-2. Oklahoma Wesleyan scratched across four runs off five hits and an error in the fifth inning to end starter Thomas Longworth’s outing at 84 pitches. He absorbed the loss, scattering 10 hits and six runs (all earned) in 42/3 innings of work while walking one batter and striking out two.

Tabor recorded two hits in the eighth but stranded two on base. The Eagles, then, solidified the win by scoring two more in the top of the ninth.

Tabor 14, Bethany 2

KCAC Game 1, Wednesday

Tabor came out firing on all cylinders in its first-round KCAC tournament game. All three phases of the game—offense, defense and pitching—came together to orchestrate a dominant Bluejay victory.

“Today everything was clicking,” coach Mark Standiford said. “Dylan did a great job on the mound. Jake Jones came in, did a good job. We got some key hits. The defense was solid, too.”

Tabor batted a collective .404 while knocking out 19 hits, scoring in every inning but two.

Offensively, the Bluejay bats sprung to life early, as leadoff batter AJ Shaw hit a game-opening single and Manny DeLeon launched a one-out, two-run home run over the right field fence to give Tabor the early advantage.

The Bluejays added two runs off a hit and an error in the second inning. Bethany got on the board with a run in that frame. Colton Flax’s third-inning RBI double made it 5-1 through three innings.

Tabor scored once in the fifth; each team added one run in the seventh. Tabor’s came via Jerrik Sigg’s solo home run.

The Bluejays roughed up reliever Robert Johnson for five hits and four runs in the eighth inning, which was highlighted by Couch’s two-run double.

A four-hit, three-run top of the ninth, keyed by DeLeon’s two-run double, solidified Tabor’s win.

Dylan Algra threw eight solid innings to earn the win. He scattered seven hits and two earned runs, while walking no one and striking out two.

“(Dylan’s) a great matchup against them because he’s able to throw three different pitches,” Standiford said. “He works down in the zone. His off-speed is very good. His changeup’s good. He was very good against them the first time (out), so we liked that matchup.”

Shaw was 4-for-6 and had one RBI. DeLeon drove in five runs on 2-for-6 hitting.

Coming—Tabor is one of nine hosts for the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The five-team, double elimination tournament will be played May 17-20 at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson. Qualifiers and seeding will be released Friday.