The third-seeded State Fair Community College (SFCC) Roadrunners will open play in the 2019 NJCAA Region 16 Division I Baseball Tournament on Thursday afternoon against the second-seeded Crowder College Roughriders from Neosho at Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The teams split four contests earlier this season. Crowder won the opening game of a doubleheader in Sedalia 2-1 before the Roadrunners bounced back to take game two 2-0 on Thursday, April 18. The teams played again on Saturday, April 20 in Neosho, SFCC won the first game 9-2 before the Roughriders came back to earn a 15-7 win to split the doubleheader and the season series.
"We need to be better at the small things," said Roadrunners Head Baseball Coach Jud Kindle. "These are two very comparable teams. Crowder might have a little more velocity on the pitching staff, but we might have more pitch ability on the mound. They might have a little more power in their lineup, but we have a little higher on-base percentage. Our main key to success is going to be focusing on winning one inning at a time."
The winner of the Crowder-SFCC game will advance in the winner's bracket to take on the winner of the other opening round contest between top-seeded Jefferson College and fourth-seeded Mineral Area College on Friday at 3 p.m. The loser of the Crowder-State Fair game will drop into the loser's bracket and on take on the loser of the Jefferson-Mineral Area game at noon on Friday.
The double elimination tournament will conclude on Saturday, May 11. SFCC will take a 33-19 record into the event.