The Tyler Junior College Apaches are one win away from returning to the College World Series.
Jon McManemin came through with a clutch two-run double in the seventh and the TJC relief pitchers allowed only one run in six innings of work as the No. 4 Apaches scored an 11-8 win over North Lake College on Saturday at Mike Carter Field.
TJC (35-18) advances to the District C Tournament championship game against Richland College (32-25) at noon today at Mike Carter Field. A win means the Apaches earn a berth in the NJCAA Division III College World Series, which begins on May 19 in Tyler.
If Tyler loses the noon game, the Apaches and Harvesters will play immediately following the conclusion of the first game to see which team advances.
Richland eliminated North Lake 4-2 in the late game on Saturday.
As far as Saturday’s game, it was a see-saw affair between the Apaches and Blazers.
“I could not breathe easy until all 27 outs were recorded,” TJC coach Doug Wren said.
“It’s not how you would draw it up, but the guys kept battling back. They got some big hits in big situations and they got some big outs in big situations.”
It was a wild game as the Blazers, who banged out 17 hits, took a 7-4 lead. The Apaches finally tied the game at 7-7 in the sixth as Estevan Hernandez came through with a two-out, two-RBI single.
However, the Blazers took the lead again, 8-7, in the top of seventh as Coy Guenter had his fourth hit of the night that drove in Chase Sorrell, who had doubled.
But once again TJC came back, scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The rally was keyed by a two-RBI double from McManemin. Also, Connor Lewis had a clutch single and Trevor Clifton had an RBI groundout.
Nick Johnson, who got the win, shut down North Lake in the eighth and Zach Aitken did the same in the ninth to earn the save.
“When your team puts some runs on the board, they expect you to go out and put up zeroes,” said Johnson, a freshman from Georgetown. “… and I wouldn’t expect anything less from myself. … I was trying to throw strikes and keep the ball down low.”
Kyle Sargent also played a key role for the Apaches in relief of starter Eythan Lenz. Sargent pitched 3 1-3 innings, allowing only one run as he held the Blazers at bay while TJC got its bats going.
Jeremy Christian led the Apaches with three hits and three RBIs, Lewis and Hunter Sutton had two hits apiece.
Guenter led the Blazers with four hits, while Mark Frank added three.
Colten Dickerman, TJ Richards, Sorrell and Marvin Fight each had two hits for the Blazers.
Sorrell had three RBIs, while Guenter and Frank had two each.
No. 4 Tyler Junior College 11, North Lake College 8
NJCAA Division III District C Tournament
At Mike Carter Field
Tyler 400 012 40x—11102
Ryan Keany, Bne Neyen (7) and Mark Frank. Eythan Lenz, Kyle Sargent (4), Nick Johnson (7), Zach Aitken (9) and Trevor Clifton.
W – Johnson, L – Neyen. S – Aitken.
2B – NLC: Colten Dickerman (2), Chase Sorrell (2), Coy Guenter. TJC: Jon McManemin.
RECORDS — North Lake 29-23, Tyler 35-18.
NEXT UP — District C Championship: Tyler vs. Richland, noon today.
2012 NJCAA Division III Baseball
District C Tournament Schedule
Mike Carter Field, Tyler
1. M.A.C. Champion - Eastfield College
2. M.A.C. Runner-Up - Richland College
3. Tyler Junior College
4. North Lake College
Game 1 — Tyler 10, Richland 2, 7 innings
Game 2 — North Lake 12, Eastfield 0, 5 innings
Game 3 — Richland 5, Eastfield 4, Eastfield eliminated
Game 4 — Tyler 11, North Lake 8
Game 5 — Richland 4, North Lake 2, North Lake eliminated
Game 6 — Championship game, Richland (32-25) vs. Tyler (35-18), noon
Game 7 — Championship Game (if necessary), 3 p.m.