Texas’ Howard College, the nation’s top-ranked junior-college team, saw its record-breaking 57-game winning streak come to an end Wednesday as it lost 8-2 to state-rival Temple JC in the Region V tournament championship game. The Hawks could have clinched a berth in the Junior College World Series with a win, but will get a second chance to do so today as the same two teams meet in the deciding game of the double-elimination region tournament, with the winner advancing.
Howard (57-1) had broken the national record for most consecutive wins (55, set in 1987 by Seminole State, Okla.) earlier in the tournament, but the strong pitching of Temple ace Paul Spinn and some uncharacteristic fielding lapses doomed the Hawks. But they’ll counter today with their ace, Oklahoma-bound righthander Zach Neal.
Five-time national champion and No. 2-ranked San Jacinto (Texas) became the first team to clinch a berth in the 10-team JUCO World Series, scheduled for May 23-30 in Grand Junction, Colo., by winning the Region 14 title Tuesday. Two more teams clinched berths Wednesday. Santa Fe (Fla.) won the Region 8 tournament (effectively the Florida state championship), and Cowley County (Kan.) won the Region 6 title (effectively the Kansas state championship).
The six other teams will be determined by this weekend, either in district championship tournaments, or upon conclusion of the Alabama state tournament (Region 22), which is currently in progress but has been impacted by rain.
PG Crosschecker will await the conclusion of today’s Howard-Temple game to update its newest Top 50 junior-college rankings, and they should be posted on the Perfect Game website later today. We’ll also unveil updated rankings of the nation’s Top 100 junior-college prospects for the 2009 draft early next week as part of our extensive pre-draft coverage.