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On the wrong side of history

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
May 31, 2004
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The 2004 Meridian Community College baseball team ended up on the wrong side of the program's history on Sunday.
The Eagles' 18-13 loss in the Junior College World Series marked the first time MCC failed to win at least one game in seven trips to the 10-team, double-elimination tournament in. MCC lost its opening game of the tourney 9-5 Saturday.
MCC finished last in the tournament with its two losses on the first two days, marking the program's worst finish at the World Series.
MCC had no problems producing runs to give itself a chance to win at the national championship tournament.
The Eagles scored 18 runs in two games, eclipsing their 15 runs in 2003 in three games.
What MCC didn't have was the necessary pitching and defensive play to go far in the World Series.
MCC's offense, which struggled in Colorado in 2003, did its job for the team.
The Eagles, who didn't hit a home run and recorded just five doubles in last year's World Series, combined for three homers, four doubles and a triple.
First baseman Joey Lieberman, who didn't play in last year's tournament after getting a medical redshirt, led the way with two home runs and a triple.
MCC out hit Grayson 18-15 in Sunday's elimination loss, but the Eagles couldn't keep its opponents from scoring at Grand Junction.
The Eagles used nine pitchers in two games this year. The pitchers combined to give up 27 runs, 15 earned, walked 12 batters and struck out 13 batters in 18 innings.
MCC's defense didn't fair much better than the guys on the mound. The Eagles, who averaged 1.2 errors a game in 58 games entering the series, committed eight errors in two games at Suplizio Field.
MCC committed an error on its first play of the series against Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College on Saturday, and the Eagles finished that game with five errors. MCC made three errors in its loss to Grayson State (Texas) College on Sunday.
Even harder than having to swallow a quick exit from the championship tournament and poor play in the field and on the mound will be the players having to say goodbye when they get back to Meridian.
The sophomore class will leave MCC with 85 wins over two seasons. The Eagles posted a 39-19 record in 2003 and finished 2004 with a 46-14 mark.
The group that exits the program this year was the first class Federico and assistant coach Chad Calliet assembled after taking over the program three years ago.
MCC will also have to deal with the fact that it only has two more chances left to make its way back to the Division I World Series.
With every junior college switching to Division II in 2006, the Eagles know the clock is ticking on them capturing a D-I national title for their school.