Things didn’t start as planned for Niagara County Community College at the NJCAA Division III World Series, but the Thunderwolves remain alive in the double-elimination national championship tournament.
Fourth-seeded NCCC (31-10) opened with a wacky 4-2 loss to No. 5 St. Cloud Tech (26-4) in a game that was suspended from Saturday into Sunday due to rain, then bounced back later Sunday with an 8-2 victory over No. 8 Owens (35-15) in an elimination game.
Leadoff hitter Scottie O’Bryan opened the first with a single and added to his nation-leading steals total by swiping second. He advanced to third on an error then scored on a groundout from Andrew Fairbrother.
But Tech touched up NCCC ace Ryan Peterson in the top of the second, plating three runs — two on a double from nine-hole hitter Anthony Rodriguez.
Peterson (9-1) lasted only 3 2/3 innings, and the Thunderwolves were unable to solve St. Cloud’s Dylan Haskamp (6-1), who went the distance even with the suspension, striking out 11 over nine innings and firing 146 pitches.
Later Sunday, NCCC jumped all over Owens starter Grant Harris (4-1), scoring four runs and chasing him before he recorded an out. Chris Tani doubled, scoring O’Bryan. Fairbrother reached on an error by Harris, plating Tani, and Zach Evans came through with a two-run single, scoring Fairbrother and Cal Brazier.
Tani added a triple in the fifth, again plating O’Bryan. The two combined to go 6 for 8 with six runs scored. Tani, Fairbrother and Evans each finished with two RBIs.
On the bump, freshman southpaw Dylan Crowley (5-1) worked around traffic for 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run despite surrendering seven hits and four walks.
The Thunderwolves are scheduled to play at 1 p.m. today agains the loser of Sunday night’s contest between sixth-seeded Coastal Bend and second-seeded Tyler.