Author: Sports Editor

By MIKE MONTFORT  -- GRAND JUNCTION, Co -- Navarro remains one of four teams standing Thursday as The Alpine Bank JUCO World Series reaches the semifinal stage. Coach Matt Podjenski's Bulldogs (40-17) plays ninth-ranked Northern District Champion Iowa Western (51-9) in Thursday's 7:30 pm MT game at Sam Suplizio Field. Navarro, one of three one-loss teams in the field, challenges the tournament unbeaten Reivers in the evening's feature game for the right to advance to a 7 pm MT Friday championship game. Thursday's 3 pm MT semifinal pairing features once-beatens Central Arizona (48-20) and third-ranked Walters State (54-10) in an elimination-bracket battle. Iowa Western dictated Thursday's pairings by rallying with eight unanswered runs to defeat WSCC's Senators, 11-8.  The Reivers scored four ninth-inning runs off Senators top relievers Kody Davidson and Gage Gillian, using consecutive pinch-hit singles from Jevon Smith and Jaden Rolffs to deliver the go-ahead runs. Central Arizona secured a 14-5 win over Southeastern District Champion Chattahoochee Valley and sent the Pirates home. The four semifinalist programs have combined for 39 JUCO World Series appearances, seven championships and 17 Top-4 finishes.    ...

BY MIKE MONTFORT  -- GRAND JUNCTION, CO. -- It was just what the doctor ordered. Coach Matt Podjenski's resilient Bulldogs showed no ill effects from Monday during their quick turnaround Tuesday against the 12th-ranked Cowley Tigers.  In a most efficient five innings, they produced 16 runs by hammering 14 hits, and they put minimal stress on their pitching staff in a five-inning, elimination-bracket game. As a result of Navarro's 16-5 run-rule win, the Bulldogs receive another precious day of rest Wednesday and will wait on one of three possible teams from the winners bracket to emerge as its 7:30 pm MT Thursday opponent. Navarro next will play either Central Arizona, ninth-ranked Iowa Western, or get a rematch with third-rated Walters State. On Tuesday, the all-business Bulldogs created their own afternoon fireworks display by hitting grand slams in consecutive innings, and, in the process, also homered back-to-back for the third time this tournament. Sophomore DH Jose Gonzalez, Jr., now hitting .700 through three JUCO games, went three-for-three at the plate, scored twice, slugged a grand slam and drove in five runs for NC. During a seven-run third inning, catcher Dawson Woods launched a grand slam, and leftfielder Kyle Hawkins followed with a solo shot -- very significant since...

By MIKE MONTFORT -- GRAND JUNCTION, CO -- Walters State freshman shortstop Michael Robinson knocked in two runs with a full-count, two-out, bases-loaded single as the Senators rallied from a four-run deficit in the final two innings for a 6-5 victory. Third-ranked Walters State (54-9) advances to a 7:30 pm MT Wednesday game against the winner of Tuesday's game between Central Arizona and Iowa Western. The crushing loss, in front of a Memorial Day crowd of 7,319 fans, sends Navarro into a 3 pm Tuesday MT elimination-bracket game against Cowley, Ks., (46-13) at Sam Suplizio Field. Single-season saves recordholder Pepper Jones suffered Monday's loss. In the Senators' ninth, leadoff hitting third baseman Drew Haynie singled on a 2-1 pitch to left and moved to second on Jerry Hammons' sacrifice bunt. First baseman Bryce Hodge struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Jones carefully worked around left-handed, clean-up hitter Brayden Combs (13-76-2 / .376) and issued a four-pitch walk. No. 5 batter Braydon Runion (11-43-7 / .369), who hit a two-run homer during the Senators' three-run eighth inning, walked on 3-1 to load the bases. Robinson, who went 4-for-4 in Walters State's first-round win over Cowley, fell behind Jones in the count 1-2 and...

By MIKE MONTFORT -- GRAND JUNCTION, Co. - Navarro (39-16) advances to a 7:30 pm (MT) Monday second-round matchup with third-ranked Walters State after a 10-6 win Saturday over No. 16 Chipola in front of 4,982 fans at Suplizio Field. Coach Matt Podjenski's Bulldogs crushed five home runs and won their 10th straight game while opening the tournament with a victory over the two-time champion Indians as Jose Gonzalez, Jr., had a JUCO record-tying performance. Gonzales, Jr., tied a JUCO World Series record today with three home runs in a single game. He is one of 12 players ever to accomplish the feat -- the first time it's happened in 10 years. Gonzalez was 4-for-4 at the plate, hit three home runs, drove in four and totaled 13 bases. The Bulldogs hit back-to-back home runs twice in today's opener. Rugely and Gonzales hit consecutive homers in the second inning; Gonzalez and Dawson Woods did it during the eighth inning. During a seven-game hitting streak since May 5, Gonzalez is 15 for his last 24 at-bats (.625), with four home runs, nine RBI and 10 runs scored. Navarro reached double-digit scoring for the 18th time this season as the team won for the 39th time to equal...

By MIKE MONTFORT -- GRAND JUNCTION, Co -- Navarro and Chipola square off in the second game of The Alpine Bank JUCO World Series on Saturday. The Bulldogs challenge the two-time champion Indians with hopes of using it as a springboard toward a great week of play in the double-elimination tournament. Saturday's winner advances to a 7:30 MT game Monday against the winner of the Walters State-Cowley, Ks., tournament opener. Here is a thumbnail sketch of the noon Saturday matchup between Navarro and Chipola: SOUTHERN v GULF No. 15 Navarro (38-16) v No. 16 Chipola (38-18) NC: Batting - .289/.403 /.433 |  33 HR   |  392 Runs. NC: Pitching - 428.1 IP |  0 CG  |   13 Sv   |  3.95 ERA CC: Batting - .299/.403/.421 |  35 HR  |  387 Runs. CC: Pitching - 414.1 IP  |   3 CG  |   13 Sv   |  4.71 ERA NAVARRO – Coach Matt Podjenski’s Southern District Champions from Region XIV bring a nine-game winning streak to GJ, including an unbeaten run of four games through the Region XIV Tournament. NC scored 43 runs and belted 49 hits in 31 tournament innings, thanks to two run-rule victories. In 25 games this season, the Bulldogs have scored eight or more runs,...