WARNER — All season long, Connors State coach Perry Keith has said his team was winning a lot of ball games ugly.
On Saturday, the game between the Cowboys and No. 1 Delgado (La.) was anything but as Connors beat the Dolphins 3-1 to capture the South Central district championship and a berth in next week’s NJCAA College World Series.
“Last night was ugly,” Keith said. “But this has been us all year. We just find ways to win and compete every at bat.”
The one thing that Keith could have hoped for less than 24 hours later was what he got out of starter from Daniel Concepcion, which prohibited an if-necessary game today with both teams with one loss in the double-elimination affair. Concepcion (8-1) threw eight innings, holding the Dolphins to one run on six hits with six strikeouts, and gives credit to the other eight guys on the field.
“Just trust the catcher,” Concepcion said. “Trust my teammates, get ahead in the count and paint the corners.”
A key element to Concepcion’s performance was his command of the strike zone. He threw a total of 119 pitches with 72 of them strikes, something Keith wanted when Concepcion took the mound.
“That’s what we needed,” Keith said. “Their guy was good but that’s Daniel. He throws strikes and was able to get his change-up over.”
Delgado starter Chase Hymel (7-2) did his job keeping his team in the game. Hymel threw six innings and surrendered two earned runs on six hits.
The Cowboys (52-9) opened the scoring in the second inning with two runs on one hit. Victor Claudio began the frame with a walk and moved to second on a walk to Eli Roundtree.
After Jiro Morales moved both runners over on a sacrifice, Erik Kirkpatrick ripped a single up the middle scoring Claudio and moving Roundtree to third. With left-handed Dalton Daniels at the plate, Keith called for the squeeze and Daniels executed it perfectly, bring home Roundtree and putting the Cowboys ahead 2-0.