GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- The magic of the Chuck Taylors worked in full effect Saturday night for the Jefferson College Vikings.
Due to some hard work by KKCO 11 Sports Director Kyle Stanley, Vikings' head coach Sam Carel busted out his favorite shoes - the Converse Flyers - for his team's first game in the tournament. Before the game Carel said the team has been nagging him to wear the shoes during a game, so he thought there was no better time than in the bright spotlight of the JUCO World Series.
The nightcap of the opening day was a pitcher's duel to start. Dalton Friend of JeffCo faced off with Cisco's Corey Taylor. Both pitchers entered the game with at least 10 wins on the season and only 1 loss between the two of them.
The Vikings' notched the first run of the evening in the second frame courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by Jevon Jacobs. The suicide sqeeze scored Danny Murphy.
The Wranglers responded in the bottom of the frame, however, knocking Friend for 3 runs on 2 hits. Those would be the only runs that Cisco scored.
Thereafter, Friend settled into a groove to hold Cisco to just 3 hits in his next 6.1 innings. Brad Lombard came in to close out the game for the Vikings in the bottom of the 9th.
Despite the spectacular play by both teams, the play of the night that may have turned the tide ultimately in JeffCo's favor took place in the top of the 7th. After a sharp single to right by Jevon Jacobs, the Vikings' sent home Kyle Leslie, who started at second base. The throw to the plate from Rustin Thomas of Cisco was on the mark, causing Leslie to slide head-first. It appeared as if the tag was made on Leslie before he could reach for home, however, Leslie was called safe by the home plate umpire. During the play, the umpire had fallen down while trying to get into position to make the call and had not returned to his feet by the time the bang-bang play was made.
Cisco head coach David White hurried out to home plate to argue the call, but it was not overturned. That was the third run of the inning for the Vikings, putting them ahead of the Wranglers 7-3.
Jefferson tacked on 3 more in the 9th to seal the victory.
(2) Jefferson moves on to face (3) Polk State at 2pm on Monday.
(4) Cisco falls into the elimination bracket where they'll face (6) Western Nevada at 2pm Sunday.