Baseball Bobcats dominate postseason awards

JCJC Athletics Press Release

ELLISVILLE – The top-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats have enjoyed quite a 2014 season on the diamond.

And the program is being rewarded for its efforts.

Sixth-year head coach Christian Ostrander has been named the MACJC Coach of the Year, while 10 players have received Region 23 and MACJC postseason recognition.

Pitcher Westin Stringer, catcher Tyler Graves and centerfielder Chris Morgan have been named All-Region 23.

Stringer, Graves, Morgan, second baseman Trent Giambrone, pitcher/designated hitter Chase Hensley and pitcher Lane Ratliff have been named first-team All-MACJC. Rightfielder Alex Shermer, first baseman Jordan Stark, third baseman Josh Pankratz and relief pitcher Cole Barlow have been named second-team All-MACJC.

The 43-9 Bobcats captured the MACJC state championship by winning three games in the tournament at Northeast Mississippi.

They will now host the Region 23 Tournament Thursday through Saturday at Community Bank Park. It will be JCJC's first time to ever host a regional baseball tournament.

The Bobcats, the top seed, face No. 4 seed East Central at 6 p.m. on Thursday, while the tourney opens with 2nd-ranked and No. 2 region seed LSU-Eunice vs. third-seeded Hinds at 2 p.m.

The tournament will conclude either Saturday or Sunday with the champion heading to the NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Oklahoma, May 24-31.

Ostrander is in his sixth season as JCJC's head coach. He has compiled a 222-90 record during his tenure.

He has guided the Bobcats to two MACJC titles, four MACJC South Division titles over the past five years and to an NJCAA Division II World Series runnerup spot in 2011.

Stringer, a sophomore lefthander from Terry, has been superb as the Bobcats' No. 1 starter. He owns an 11-2 record, which ties him for the top spot in the nation in wins, with a 1.85 earned run average. The Delta State University signee has pitched 87 2/3 innings, allowed 58 hits and struck out 79. He is ninth in the nation in strikeouts. He was a second-team All-MACJC performer as a freshman.

Graves, a sophomore from Petal, has been a mainstay behind the plate for two years. He is batting .371 with one home run and 32 RBIs. He has a .458 on-base percentage, which is second on the team. He has been hit by a pitch a team-leading, 13 times. The Delta State signee also owns a splendid .995 fielding percentage. He was a second-team All-MACJC player last year.

Morgan, a freshman from Madison Central, has batted from leadoff spot since opening day. He is batting .343 with and is tied with the team lead with four home runs. He has 28 RBIs, leads the team in runs scored with 55 and is second in steals with 23.

Giambrone, a sophomore from Metairie, Louisiana, has been a two-year starter for the Bobcats. He is batting .384 and is tied with Morgan for the team lead in home runs with four. The Nicholls State signee leads the team with 46 RBIs, base hits with 71 and steals with 25.

Hensley, a freshman from Humboldt, Tennessee, has developed into one of the state's premier dual-position players. He leads the team in hitting with a .400 batting average and has three home runs and 32 RBIs. The University School of Jackson product tops the team in on-base percentage at .476. On the hill, he owns a 7-1 record with a 2.83 ERA.

Ratliff, a freshman lefthander from Purvis, has developed into one of the top strikeout artists in the nation. Ratliff, 8-2, has 86 strikeouts in 61 innings, which is fourth in the nation. His 12.69 strikeouts/per game ratio is second in the nation. He has allowed 45 hits and owns a 2.36 ERA.

Shermer, a sophomore from Northwest Rankin, is regarded as one of the premier outfielders in the MACJC. The two-year starter is batting .307 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. He is third on the team in steals with 16.

Stark, a sophomore from Northwest Rankin, is another two-year starter. He is batting .327 with two home runs and 35 RBIs. He leads the team in doubles with 18.

Pankratz, a sophomore from Taylorsville, has also started for two years. He is batting .330 with two home runs and 36 RBIs. The Tennessee Tech signee has 15 doubles on the year.

Barlow, a sophomore from Madison Central, has developed into one of the premier closers in the nation. He has an 0-0 record, but has posted 10 saves on the year with a 2.13 ERA. He leads the MACJC and is fifth in the nation in saves. In 12 2/3 innings, Barlow has allowed only three earned runs, four hits and has struck out 15, which averages 10.66 strikeouts per game.