By PAUL GOTHAM
ENID, OK — Strength turned into a weakness, and the Monroe Community College Tribunes fell to Western Oklahoma State College, 11-1 on Tuesday. The loss eliminated Monroe from the NJCAA Division II World Series.
Monroe’s defense contributed to three unearned runs with three errors in the third inning.
The Pioneers finished with six hits on the day, and MCC contributed five errors. The number of miscues represented Monroe’s season high. The Tribunes defense had committed two or fewer errors in 18 of 19 previous games.
Colin Johnston (Greece Athena) started and retired the first seven batters he faced before his fortunes turned. The freshman right-hander put Christopher Acosta-Tapia aboard with a one-out hit by pitch, and errors to three of the next four batters gave the Pioneers a lead they would not surrender.
Joshua Anthony, Blake Clanton and Raul Mercado each connected on a home run in a six-run fifth to all but put the game out of reach.
Johnny Ricotta (Greece Athena) supplied all of Monroe’s offense with a solo shot to lead the second. Ricotta connected on a round-tripper in Monroe’s 9-2 loss to Sinclair Community College on Sunday.
The Tribunes managed just five hits on the day.
Anthony Santoro (Henninger) finished 2-for-3 with a one-out flare to left center in the fourth and a two-out double in the sixth and final inning.
Monroe loaded the bases in the third. Trailing 3-1, “Bubba” Boutelle (Gowanda) singled to center and moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Mike Pringle (Pittsford-Sutherland) walked, and Matt Brooks (Auburn) moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Alex Saville (Vernon-Verona-Saville) reached when he was hit by pitch, but a double play ended the inning.
It was the third such inning in the two World Series games in which MCC loaded the bases and came away without a run.
Bryan Hernandez led Western Oklahoma State going 2-for-4. Anthony, Clanton, Acosta-Tapia and Chris Jones scored two runs apiece.
Alex Bellardini (Elmira Free Academy) retired the only batter he faced.
The World Series appearance marked the eighth in Monroe’s program history and first under third-year head coach Dave Brust. The Tribunes last advanced to the World Series in 2009.
The game represented the final appearance in a Tribune uniform for sophomores Connor Lewis (St. Marguerite d’Youville), Collin Stack (Maple Grove), Pringle, Braden Passmore (Rush-Henrietta), Saville, Santoro, Brooks, Luke Brust (Honeoye Falls-Lima), Bellardini, Lucas Godlewski (Little Falls), Zach Vennaro (New York Mills) and Luke Tomczyk (Churchill-Chili).