OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Johnson County Community College baseball team is set to begin its quest for a spot in the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., when they host Garden City Community College in the first stage of the Region VI Tournament. The best-of-three series begins Thursday, May 9 at 2:10 p.m., followed by a 2:05 first pitch in game two on Friday, May 10. If a third game is needed, it will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 1:10 p.m. start.
The two programs have faced each other seven previous times, all in postseason play. Garden City leads the series 4-3.
The Cavaliers finished the regular season runner-up to Cowley College in the East Jayhawk Conference standing despite posting a league-best mark of 43-10. Garden City finished seventh in the nine-team West Jayhawk and brings a 26-25 record into the series.
Johnson County has been dominant both at the plate and on the hill this season. They either lead or rank among the top three in 11 different statistical categories. The JCCC offense leads the conference in average (.360), hits (596) and RBIs (429). They rank second in doubles (113) triples (27) and fewest strikeouts (261).
One of Cavaliers top hitters this season has been sophomore transfer and team MVP Anthony Amicangelo. He leads the conference and ranks third in the NJCAA with a batting average of .482. He also ranks first in the KJCCC in OBP (.554), second in hits (80), and doubles (20), third in triples (5), fourth in RBIs (61) seventh in runs scored (58) and third in extra base hits (31). He has 27 multiple-hit games and 19 multiple-RBI games. He also tied a season team record with a 24-game hitting streak that started March 17 and ended April 25. Prior to that he had a 17-game streak, which ties the fourth-longest at JCCC.
2018 All-American first baseman Malik Williams leads JCCC with nine home runs this season and he has 26 for his career, which ranks 6th all-time. He also has driven in 127 career runs, fourth most at JCCC. He owns JCCC's career games with multiple hits at 51 and is third all-time in multi-RBI games with 32. His is 5 shy of that record.
Freshman Landen Wood is the speedster on JCCC's roster. He ranks first in the KJCCC in runs scored with 73 and in stolen bases with 44. He is currently tied for second on JCCC's season chart for runs scored, and ranks sixth in stolen bases. He is just six runs away from owning the record. He also ranks tied for seventh in the conference with 70 hits, is tied for 3rd in triples with five.
The pitching staff has been just as impressive. They lead the league in ERA (2.70), fewest home runs allowed (17) and fewest runs allowed (192). They are second in fewest hits allowed (279 and third in total strikeouts (482).
The ace for the Cavaliers has been sophomore right-hander Zachary Ebert. He leads the conference and ranks second in the NJCAA with 11 victories. That total ties him for second at JCCC and he is just one victory shy of tying the season mark. He has 17 career wins which also has him ranked second and just one away from the career mark. He also leads the league and NJCAA with 9 complete games and owns the career mark at JCCC with 17 total.
Earlier in the season, Ebert surpassed Aaron Schnurbusch as the program's all-time strikeout leader. Schnurbusch finished with 162. Ebert current stands at 199. With one strikeout he will become just 5th player in conference history to reach 200 career strikeouts. The 4 that have reached that milestone are Danny Vais-Seward County (220 from 2003-04); Ryan Phillips-Barton (219 from 2004-05): Jakob Hernandez-Seward County (210 from 2014-16) and Matt Strahm-Neosho County (206 from 2011-12). Ebert is 2nd in the league with 94 strikeouts.
Two other key starting arms on the staff are sophomore right-hander Sloan Thomsen and freshman right-hander Trey Ziegenbein. Thomsen ranks second in the conference with 10 wins and sixth with an ERA of 3.13. Ziegenbein leads the conference with an 2.08 ERA and ranks third in wins (9), third in complete games (6), third in strikeouts (92) and third in strikeouts/9 innings (11.89).
Statistically, Garden City ranks vastly different. They ranked 16th in team batting average (.278), 16th in hits (416), 17th in doubles (73), 10th in triples (16), 15th in home runs (24), 14th in RBIs (260) and 12th in fewest strikeouts (348).
Their pitching staff has similar ranking numbers. The Broncbusters staff ranks 16th in ERA (6.07), 14th in strikeouts (252), 10th in fewest home runs allowed (33), 18th in fewest hits allowed (471) and 16th in fewest runs allowed (342).