College of the Ozarks' Bobcat baseball team posted a 3-1 record in NCCAA World Series pool play and advanced to the semi-finals game on Friday evening.
The Bobcats took a 15-hour bus ride to South Carolina on Monday, participated in a Christian Service Project serving the local community on Tuesday, and prepared to play their first game in pool play, which took place on Wednesday. Over the next two and one-half days, the Bobcats would go 3-1 in pool play and make their way to the semi-final game on Friday evening.
All this was accomplished with a depleted lineup and pitching staff, due to multiple injuries in the late-season and departure of three seniors. Despite the setbacks, the Bobcat team that headed to the NCCAA World Series put up a great fight and provided their fans with some exciting action.
Game one found the #7 seed Bobcats losing a heartbreaker to #2 Bluefield College (Va.), 6-5, in 11-innings on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Collan Thrasher pitched nine innings, giving up four earned runs, 9 hits, and striking out eight batters. Sean Neal pitched 1.2 innings in relief, taking the loss.
In game two, which took place early Thursday morning, the Bobcats defeated #6 Trinity Christian (Ill.) by a 10-6 margin. Bryce Burtless, Ryan Daggs, and Neal combined their efforts on the mound, with Burtless picking up the win and Neal the save.
Game three took place just a few hours later on Thursday, as the Bobcats faced #10 Randall University (Okla.) and collected a 6-3 win. Andrew Huckaby pitched a complete game and struck out six batters.
In the final game of pool play, the Bobcats took on #3 Warner University (Fla.) early Friday morning. The Bobcats scored one run in the bottom of the sixth, and Warner responded by putting up a 4-spot in the top of the seventh. The Bobcats drew to within one after scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth, and the Cats proceeded to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Warner was held scoreless again in the tenth, and the Bobcats closed out the game with a run in the bottom of the frame to capture a victory. Ozzie Sindland and Sean Neal combined their efforts to pitch ten innings and allow only three hits, while Sindland struck out nine batters.
Late Friday evening, it was the Bobcats versus #5 Concordia University (Mich.) in the second of two semi-final matchups. The week’s heavy schedule finally took its toll on the Bobcats, as they recorded eight errors and were limited to minimal innings by pitchers with tired arms. Burtless pitched 4.2 innings and was followed by Neal, Cade Little, Giefer, and Thrasher. Concordia picked up a 17-4 victory to move on to Saturday’s championship game of the World Series and close the Bobcats’ season.
On the week, the Bobcats were led at the plate by: Kolton Giefer (10-22, 2R, 2RBI, 2 doubles); Ryan Daggs (9-20, 5R, 6RBI, 3 doubles, 3 HR); Lincoln Rasmussen (6-14, 2R, 5RBI, 3 doubles), and Kobe Hammers (7-21, 5R, 2RBI, 4 doubles, 1 HR).
The Bobcats close out their 2019 season with a record of 28-33.
Congratulations, 'Cats, on your efforts to close out the 2019 season in a big way.