TJC wins fourth straight national title

Published on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 22:44 - Written by PHIL HICKS, phicks@tylerpaper.com

The Tyler Junior College Apaches are champions once again.

TJC captured the NJCAA Division III World Series for the fifth time Wednesday night, including an NJCAA record four consecutive titles.

The Apaches, seeded No. 3 entering the tournament, defeated No. 2 Niagara County (New York), 5-1, at Pioneer Park in Greeneville, Tennessee to claim the national championship with a 4-0 record in the World Series.

The Apaches’ Doug Wren was named Coach of the Year, while Taylor Broadway, a freshman designated hitter and pitcher from Cypress, was named Most Valuable Player.

Other TJC players making all-tournament were sophomore Jarrod Wells of Houston, sophomore leftfielder Jarel McDade of Magnolia, sophomore pitcher AbeRee Hiebert of Baytown and sophomore second baseman Matt Mikusek of Irving.

With their second win over the Thunder Wolves in Tennessee, the Apaches conclude their season on an 11-game winning streak and improve to 41-20.

Hiebert (3-1) pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, allowing an unearned run, six hits and eight strikeouts.

James Kuykendall, the winner in Game 1 of the series on Saturday against Prince George’s (Maryland), hurled the final 2 1/3 innings for his first save of the season.

Kuykendall, a sophomore from Spring, was scheduled to start on Thursday if necessary, but Wren saw the chance to clinch Wednesday.

Thus, Kuykendall struck out three and did not allow a hit in shutting down the Thunder Wolves (47-10).

The Apaches gave their pitchers a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

After one out, Wells was hit by a pitch. Broadway followed with a home run for a quick 2-0 lead.

McDade followed with a single, stole second and came home on a throwing error by third baseman Matt Cross.

Niagara County pulled within 3-1 in the third when Joe Milkowski reached on an infield single and eventually scored on a passed ball.

TJC got the run back in the top of the fourth as Mikusek walked, stole second and raced home on Wells’ single to center.

The Apaches added another run in the eighth when Colton Whitehouse scored on Blaze Beason’s sacrifice fly.

Along with his homer, Broadway, who picked up saves in Games 2 and 3 in the tourney, added a double.

Wells and McDade each had two hits with Braden Wise, Jordan Trahan, Whitehouse and Mikusek adding singles.

SMOKE SIGNALS: It is the 56th national championship in TJC sports history and third in the 2016-17 school year. The TJC men’s soccer team won the national title in the fall in the Rose City and the TJC women’s tennis squad won the national title in early May in Tucson, Arizona. … In their four straight World Series titles, the Apaches are 16-0, dating back to 2014. … TJC won its first baseball championship in 2007 in Tyler with the Apaches’ second crown coming in 2014 in the Rose City. TJC then won in 2015 and 2016 in Kinston, North Carolina. … TJC’s postseason winning streak is now 25 games. … Other all-tournament players were Hunter David, Delta (Michigan); Colton Hooker, Northampton (Pennsylvania); Griffin Schneider, Century (Minnesota); Anthony Harrold, Cumberland County, New Jersey; Mitch Walker, Cumberland County; Joe Milkowski, Niagara County; Christian Young, Niagara County; and Matt Cross, Niagara County.

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NJCAA Division III World Series

No. 3 Tyler Junior College 5,

No. 2 Niagara County 1

Tyler 300 100 010 - 5 10 2

Niagara 001 000 000 - 1 5 2

AbeRee Hiebert, James Kuykendall (7) and Blaze Beason. David Lyskawa, Alex Licata (7), Justin Beyer (8) and Julian Placencia.

W – Hiebert (3-1), L – Lyskawa (8-3). S – Kuykendall (1).

2B – TJC: Taylor Broadway. HR – TJC: Broadway.

RECORDS - Tyler 41-20, Niagara 47-10.