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Bobcats Capture National Championship!
ENID, Oklahoma – Chris Kirtland was named head baseball coach at Jones County Junior College on Dec. 2, 2015.
Six months and two days later, Kirtland led the Bobcats to their first-ever NJCAA Division II World Series championship with a 7-1 victory over GateWay College (Arizona) here Saturday night at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
"It is an incredible feat because the record speaks for itself," Kirtland said of the 54-9 Bobcats, which is a single season school record for victories. "The players worked so hard all year and the players were able to win when it counts in the postseason.
"It's such a significant accomplishment to win that many games in a baseball season. This is the hardest sport there is and winning baseball games is one of the hardest things to do. All of the credit goes to our coaching staff and our players for executing the plan and sticking to the process all year long."
Gulfport freshman Ben Stiglets was outstanding in the title game.
He pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits, allowing one run and striking out eight as he improved to 10-0. Stiglets only lasted an inning in JCJC's 11-9 loss to GateWay on May 30.
Kirtland was pleased to see Stiglets and the entire team bounce back to beat GateWay twice in the tournament.
"I am so proud of Ben," Kirtland said. "He faced these guys when we lost and did not do too well. But he had a chance to rebound, get some redemption and he pitches a complete game. You can't ask for any more than that.
"It always helps to get slapped in the face so you can see how you are going to respond. These guys responded well."
After losing the earlier game to the Geckos, JCJC faced elimination in three straight games. But the Bobcats, who did not lose back-to-back games the entire season, responded.
"You don't really think about that when you are facing elimination," Kirtland said. "It was really great to see these guys bounce back and win three in a row to win the title."
Source: Perfect Game
Yavapai (NJCAA DI Champs)
Santa Rosa (CCCAA Champs)
Jones County (NJCAA DII Champs)
Yakima Valley (NWAC Champs)
St. Johns River
Tyler Jr. College (NJCAA DIII Champs)
2016 Top 25 - All JUCO Schools
Final Poll June 7th, 2016