Baseball national championship tops JCJC sports year


ELLISVILLE, MS – The first baseball national championship for an MACJC school highlights the 2015-16 Jones County Junior College year in athletics.

The Bobcats captured the NJCAA Division II World Series with a 7-1 victory over GateWay College (Arizona) on June 4 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Oklahoma.

Jones went 5-1 in the national tournament, including winning two games on the final day of the event, to claim the World Series. JCJC finished second in the national tournament in 2011.

Overall, the Bobcat program enjoyed an outstanding sports year, which officially ended on June 30.

The combined win-loss record for each sport was a remarkable 187-56-1 for the year – a winning percentage of .768.

In addition to the baseball championship, the Lady Bobcat softball team won the Region 23 Tournament and finished second in the nationals, while both tennis teams competed in their respective national events.

The Lady Bobcat soccer team advanced to the MACJC/Region 23 finals, while the men’s basketball team reached the state championship finals. The women’s basketball team advanced to the regionals, while the men’s soccer team qualified for the playoffs.

On the coaching front, Chris Kirtland, Steve Buckley, Brendan Connolly and Brooks Buffington became new coaches at JCJC. Kirtland took over the baseball program, Buckley is the new football coach, Connolly is the new men’s soccer coach and Buffington replaced longtime coach Mark Easley as the tennis coach with Easley becoming the fulltime Dean of Student Affairs.

BASEBALL

Kirtland made quite a debut as the JCJC head coach.

Not only did he guide the Bobcats to a 54-9 mark, which is a school-record for victories, he led them to the national championship.

JCJC won the overall MACJC regular season crown with a 24-4 record. The Bobcats claimed the Region 23 Tournament championship with an exciting, 6-5 victory over East Central in Decatur on May 22. That win enabled Jones to advance to the World Series.

Kirtland was named the NJCAA Division II World Series Coach of the Tournament, the Region 23 Coach of the Year and was one of only 10 finalists for the Skip Bertman College Coach of the Year award, which includes both junior and senior colleges.

Mason Irby was named an NJCAA Division 1st-team All-American. He was a 2nd-team All-American in 2015. He also was named a Gold Glove and Marucci Elite Hitting Award winner for the season and was named to the NJCAA National Team, which will compete in the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series in Wichita, Kansas, in July and August.

Erick Hoard was named the NJCAA Division II World Series Most Valuable Player and received the Marucci Elite Hitter Award for the tournament.

Fred Franklin was named Top Defensive Player of the World Series. Franklin, Mason Strickland, Tanner Huddleston, Jonathan Parker and Ben Stiglets were named to the All-Tournament Team for the World Series.

Irby, Huddleston and Hoard were named All-Region 23, while Clint Sasser, Strickland and Shelton Wallace were named All-MACJC 1st-team. Franklin, Stiglets and Dalton Skelton were named All-MACJC 2nd-team.

SOFTBALL

The Lady Bobcats finished second in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, falling to LSU-Eunice in the championship game on May 21 at Traceway Park in Clinton.

JCJC posted a 50-8 record on the season and won the MACJC overall regular season title with a 26-2 record. The Lady Bobcats won the MACJC title with a thrilling, 2-0 victory over Mississippi Gulf Coast on May 4 at Community Bank Park. It was JCJC’s fourth MACJC title in five years.

JCJC won its first-ever Region 23 Tournament championship by defeating LSU-Eunice 5-2 on May 8 on the Bengals’ home field.

Head coach Chris Robinson was named the MACJC, Region 23 and MAC Coach of the Year.

The Lady Bobcat coaching staff – Robinson, associate head coach Bob Herrington and assistant coach Carlos Castro – was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Coaching Staff of the Year.

Kalyn Watts was named an NJCAA Division II 1st-team All-American and Rachel Hayes was named a 2nd-team All-American.

Kelly Byrd was named the Marucci Elite Hitter of the national tournament. Brittany Baty, Brittany Hagwood, Amanda Holliday and Watts were named to the national All-Tournament Team.

Hayes, Byrd, Watts and Baty were named All-Region 23. Cori McCrary, Holliday, Natalie Hogue and Autumn Frost were named All-MACJC.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

The Lady Bobcats posted a 14-1 regular season record and finished second in the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament.

JCJC finished 18th in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Tyler, Texas.

Madison Currie won the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament title in No. 2 singles. Raquel Rodriguez, Claire Rounsaville and Breanna Waller all reached the finals in singles. The doubles’ teams of Rodriguez and Currie, Rounsaville and Waller and April Rudolph and Mattie Mills all reached the finals in the state/region tourney.

Rodriguez and Currie finished second in the consolation round of No. 1 doubles in the national tournament.

MEN’S TENNIS

The Bobcats finished the regular season with an 11-5 record and finished third in the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament.

JCJC finished 21st in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in May in Plano, Texas.

Diego Leal won the championship in No. 2 singles in the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament. Taylor Tamberg reached the finals in No. 4 singles. The doubles’ teams of Leal and Taquel Lewis, along with Tamberg and Chase Pennington, reached the finals.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

JCJC ended season at 13-4, advanced to the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament finals and was ranked as high as No. 18 in the nation at one point.

Kelly Stubbington was named a 3rd-team All-American. She was the MACJC and Region 23’s leading scorer with 66 points.

Stubbington and Dallas McKinnon were named All-Region 23, while Traci Monroe, Ashtyn Rowell and Abby Taylor were named All-MACJC.

McKinnon, Rowell and Taylor all competed in the MACJC All-Star Game.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

JCJC finished the season at 17-8 and advanced to the MACJC Tournament finals and to the Region 23 Tournament quarterfinals.

Bruce Stevens was selected as an All-MACJC and Region23 performer.

Andrew Riley and Christian Robertson participated in the MACJC All-Star Game.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The Lady Bobcats finished at 19-7, advanced to the MACJC Tournament semifinals and to the Region 23 Tournament quarterfinals.

Tatyana Lofton was named All-MACJC 1st-team and Wendion Bibbins was named All-MACJC 2nd-team. Hanah Lott was named Honorable Mention All-MACJC and to the All-Region 23 Tournament team.

Bibbins and Bell played in the MACJC All-Star Game.

MEN’S SOCCER

The Bobcats ended the year 7-7-1 and advanced to the MACJC/Region 23 Tournament playoffs.

Nick Canner and Luke Sims were named All-MACJC.

Canner, Dung Vu and Moses Muhubao all competed in the MACJC All-Star Game.

FOOTBALL

JCJC punter Patrick Ponder was named an NJCAA 1st-team All-American and linebacker Ty Hill was named a 2nd-team All-American.

Hill was named South Division Most Valuable Defensive Back, first-team All-MACJC and All-Region 23. Ponder was named to the All-MACJC first-team and All-Region 23. Tallahassee, Florida, freshman defensive end Markel Winters was named All-MACJC first-team. Burse was named All-MACJC second-team and defensive back Al’Dreecous Wilson was All-MACJC Honorable Mention.

Quarterback Kelvin Bourrage, offensive linemen Toriaun Samuels and Doug Lofton, wide receiver Tevin Moore, defensive tackle Johnkil Skipper, linebacker Ty Hill and cornerback Nick Shields all participated in the MACJC All-Star Game.

The Bobcats posted a 2-7 record.

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