Neosho County Community College faced the No. 3 team in the nation in Crowder College Tuesday afternoon at home, and the men soaked up every learning experience possible.
The Panthers lost 19-6 behind strong performances from Crowder’s five All-Missouri Community College Athletic Association conference players.
NCCC’s first baseman Mason Lundgrin mustered up three hits and an RBI, while centerfielder Khalil Thrasher hit twice with three RBIs and third baseman Brett Wiemers racked up a hit with two RBIs.
NCCC head coach Steve Murry said his team is better for facing one of the top teams in the nation.
“Better competition makes you better,” Murry said. “Crowder is very good, but we made a ton of mistakes and pitched poorly.”
Crowder hit 17 times in seven innings. Designated hitter Frankie Circello was perfect with three hits and four RBIs, while catcher Adamo Stornello also had three hits and an RBI.
Neosho got off to a good start after Thrasher and Lundgrin doubled to bring in two RBIs, making the score 2-0 in the bottom of the first.
But Crowder, a team that has made it to the regional championship nine out of the last 10 years and was a World Series participant in 2017, had big innings, including eight runs on eight hits in the top of the third and six runs on five hits in the top of the sixth.
“We got some different guys at bat in situations you’ll use them in,” 15th-year Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said. “We got guys in situations where they will normally be. (NCCC) kept fighting and came back a little bit early. We kept putting up runs, and a lot of those were with two outs, kind of what we pride ourselves on, two-strike at-bats and two-out stuff, and not giving up on the offense.”
And their pitchers protected the lead. While NCCC went through four pitchers, Crowder played three pitchers, with pitcher AJ Calhoon tacking on the win due to his four strikeouts and one walk, though he gave up five earned runs.
NCCC (8-3) will gear up for Allen Community College (7-6) Thursday at 1 pm and 3 pm at Hudson Field.