GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- The first-ever JUCO memory for the Neosho County Panthers will be a joyous one.
The 5th-seeded Panthers cruised to victory in their first game of teh 2012 Junior College World Series 11-3 over (7) Spartanburg Methodist in 7 innings.
The Pioneers led off the game with 3 runs in the first couple innings, but their bats went quiet thereafter. Neosho's Matt Strahm pitched a complete game (7 inn.) surrendering only 1 hit after the 2nd inning.
Meanwhile, Coach Murry and the Panthers stayed true to their small-ball game plan to earn the victory. In the bottom of the 5th with the bases loaded, Murry called for Jordan Miller to execute a double suicide-squeeze. Miller laid down a perfect bunt just to the 3rd base side of the mound. SMC's third baseman, Dacen Cash, fielded the ball, but his throw was wide of first base. The error allowed for the rest of the runners to score while Miller found his way to third base.
The Panthers scored 5 runs in the 5th to increase their lead to 8 and garner a mercy-rule victory after the top of the 7th.
(5) Neosho moves ahead in the winners' bracket to face (8) San Jacinto on Monday at 7:30pm.
(7) Spartanburg Methodist now faces (1) Iowa Western on Sunday at 10am in the tournament's first elimination game.