Last night McLennan won the D1 JuCo World Series in Grand Junction CO. They were undefeated in the post season and finished the season by winning 23 games in a row. They have the best (and deepest) JuCo pitching staff I have ever seen. I have said before that I consider McLennan to be the gold standard for JuCo baseball - and one of the big reasons is HC Mitch Thompson. And this story will tell you why. McLennan played the first game of the JuCo WS last Saturday. They gave the ball to their staff ace Logan Henderson - who leads all of NJCAA in strikeouts. Henderson delivered (as he has all year) with 8 shutout innings & 14 Ks, resulting in an easy 7-0 win for the Highlanders. After winning 3 more games over 5 days McLennan was in the Championship game and Henderson was rested. So last night he got the ball again, and again he delivered - 8 IP, 1R, 2H, 17 Ks. In the top of the 9th inning, with a 7-1 lead, Henderson was sent out to seemingly finish the game. But he had thrown 116 pitches and was gassed. He threw one pitch in the top of the 9th and Mitch went and got him. Henderson walked off the mound to a standing ovation from 12,000 fans and both teams. That’s why he was sent out to throw one pitch - so he could have the experience of leaving to a standing ovation after pitching the game of his life. I’m sure Henderson will remember that moment for the rest of his life. How many coaches would do that for a player? I don’t know. But Mitch Thompson is one of the good guys.
We had a closer who was within two or three games of tying the school record for saves. He graduated last year, had a job lined up, but decided to come back for his last year of eligibility. He struggled to get back into shape and didn't throw a lot, but when he pulled himself together at the end of the season, he came in and struck out the side a couple of times. Last game of the season, he came in in the 9th and struck out two batters and then was pulled. Also to a standing O. It's important for everyone on the team to know that their effort is appreciated.
Thank you for recognizing Mitch Thompson.
Mitch was our Coordinator at the Area Code tryout in Baylor.
He was the Head Coach at Baylor. Mitch is an example of the experience and quality of the Coaches at the Community College level.
JUCO has some awesome teams with talent. One player that I know won two championships at a JUCO. He also won a ring at a 4 year. But if you look at his twitter page it's all about his JUCO.
Any freshman that was let go, needs to go where he will play. If given an opportunity, go to JUCO with high marks.
Thanks Al, great story.