After winning by way of a walk-off base hit by Nate Easley on Wednesday, the No. 14 Yavapai (AZ) CC Roughriders (48-20, 4-1 JUCO) wanted to keep the momentum rolling. That was their mindset before playing the No. 4 team in the nation, Iowa Western (52-15, 2-2 JUCO) who were routed in the late game Wednesday to set up an elimination showdown.
Yavapai indeed kept things rolling, winning 7-3. The win puts Yavapai in the NJCAA D1 National Championship, via the losers bracket.
Head coach Ryan Cougill knows his team’s grind it out approach has helped them out this season and that won’t stop headed into the championship.
The Roughriders were led by Nate Easley, who had two RBIs on 1-for-4 hitting. The one hit came via a one-out triple to center. Gavin Johns went 2-for-4 and Caden Goldby was 2-for-3. As a team, Yavapai collected 12 hits, keeping their offensive bats hot following their 15 run performance the night earlier.
“I had a lot of confidence, especially from the day yesterday. And coming into the tournament really, because I have a great group of guys around me one through nine – a lot of support. If I fail, I know I don’t have a bunch of pressure on me to succeed every time, because I got a bunch of dudes behind me that can do the same thing that I’m doing on any given pitch,” Easley said.
The Yavapai win eliminates three-time champion Iowa Western from the tournament. Iowa Western finishes the 2016 season 52-15.