Another amazing baseball season has ended for Chipola College with the Indians repeating as NJCAA National Champions. The Indians defeated Walters State (Tennessee) 10-7 in championship game.
Former Toombs County Bulldog D.R. Meadows made two big contributions to the victory. He drove in a run which put Chipola up by a run in the sixth inning.
Later in the game Meadows dazzled the crowd of more than 10,000 with an amazing catch. Playing left field D.R. raced back to catch a liner. Unfortunately, he lost his balance and went down to his back. Meadows made the catch while lying on the ground in the 7th inning.
So one season after helping lead the Toombs County Bulldogs to the Final Four in Double A baseball Meadows was given an opportunity to make a substantial impact on the most important games in the tourney, “I’m just glad I could fill the spot of one of our injured players and be productive with the playing time I got when I got my chance to perform!”
D.R. Meadows audio highlights
Meadows had never played in such an atmosphere as he experienced in Grand Junction, “At first it was very nerve racking then after that first at bat you just kind of settle in and enjoy the moment and the 10 thousand spectators around you.”
D.R. had faced some tough pitching in high school and especially during the summer time when he won a national championship playing for former Atlanta Brave catcher Johnny Estrada’s Game On team prior to his senior season with the Dawgs, however high level junior college pitching was a different animal, “The pitching was definitely something like I’ve never seen most of the guys I faced got drafted this week and it’s just an awesome experience to be able to face that competition at that level of play.”
Meadows had a base hit in six of the seven games he played in the tournament. He went 6-for-22 batting .273 with a double, 3 RBI, 4 runs scored, 4 walks and 7 strikeouts.
Meadows has one more season remaining at Chipola and he says he is really going to work hard during the off season to keep on improving, “This summer I’m going to workout and get stronger and more flexible to gain some skill that I lack a little such as velocity with the arm and just work on my game fundamentally.”
— NJCAA TV (@NJCAATV) June 3, 2018
Father Ray, who coached D.R. during his earlier years made the long trip from Savannah to Colorado and watched every game, “Being able to watch my son play baseball on a national level such as the Junior College World Series and contributing to the team’s success the way he did was almost surreal. And for Chipola to lose their first game (which Coach Johnson called their mulligan) only to come back and win six in a row to win the national championship was an experience second to none. Add to that the surroundings, including the scenery (canyons, etc), weather (low humidity, no rain) and the people (outstanding local support for the tournament, including 10,000 plus in attendance each day), all made it seem like a dream come true. We are very proud of DR!”
Mother Salain was unable to attend the World Series, “Because of back surgeries in March I was not able to travel to the biggest games thus far in DRs life. My daddy had the perfect setup though for us to watch D.R’s games through the Internet. Megan (daughter) bought a cable to connect the computer to the big screen TV so it was like we were watching the games on television. I still had the same nervous feelings before games and still felt the need to pace during the games but that didn’t work out so well being in the living room. The games were just as exciting, the only drawback was I couldn’t be there to see D.R. after the games. Between Ray and Connie Howell (Jared’s mom) they texted me throughout the games and made me feel like I was with them. I had the advantage of seeing replays of questionable calls and was able to see replays of the really great plays that happened. The Wednesday night game almost caused me to need another back surgery when D.R. made the throw to home to keep them in the tournament. There was a lot of cheering and yelling going on in the house for sure. I always checked the computer and the games prior to ours to make sure the connection worked. By the semifinal and final games my phone had about 15 different people watching the game via Internet and we literally talked by texting throughout both games. Those texts included you and your mom, so you saw the excitement of these games.”
“When D.R. had those impact moments at the Florida State Tourney I realized that this would be the largest stage he’d ever played in front of and hoped he could have the opportunity to make an impact there, I’d say you and I got our wish. The throw to home, the go ahead RBI and then the “catch” were simply amazing. While I was so proud of him for doing his job I was even happier for him. I’ve watched him since going to his first Braves game, and sitting in his daddy’s lap to watch an entire ballgame as a toddler, to winning his first tournament on the top field at Partin Park as a Slugger, to listening to a call of the State Championship in Mites, to watching them win District as Midgets and Junior league, to starting as a freshman and making it to the Elite 8, and then last year going to the Final Four were simply some of the most exciting times. But this year was a first for us watching him play at the next level and to see the level of competition that he was able to compete in was truly a blessing for all of us. We’ve watched him through the years working so hard to make himself better and to never settle. It took hours of practice and sweat and sacrifices for him to play at the next level. As his mom I’ve never been more proud of him and it’s not winning the Championship that makes me so proud. It’s the fact that he competed, made a difference and went into a press conference and remained the humble son his dad and I raised. While so many would jump on that moment to make themselves look good, D.R. was giving his team both on and off the field credit for the win. His love and passion for the game and his humble heart are what make me most proud of D.R.”
Earlier games in the tourney
Game 1- Chipola opened up against Walters State and the Indians built up a 6-3 after five. Walters state scored two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings and then one more in the ninth to pull out an 8-6 victory.
Meadows went 1-for-4. He tied the game at 1-all in the bottom of the second inning. D.R. was facing a right-hander who threw a lot of curve balls. He was jammed on an inside pitch, but still manage to hit it to the first baseman to bring in a runner from third base.
Meadows lined out to left field in the third, singled with two-outs and stole second in the fifth. He sent a pitch to deep short and there was no throw as D.R. ran to first base. He stole his bag on an 0-2 pitch with two outs. He flied out to left field in the seventh.
Game 2- Chipola built up a 6-2 against Barton, but by the bottom of the ninth inning the game was tied at 8. Jared Howell stepped up and smashed a two-run homer to give the Indians their first win in the tourney 10-8. D.R. was the on deck when Howell hit the game-winner.
D.R. had a 1-for-3 game with a RBI and run scored. Meadows opened his game with a strikeout in the second inning. But, he rallied in the third. He stepped into the batters box and jumped on the first pitch and whipped into left field driving in a run and putting Chipola up 4-1. He also scored a run on Edmond Americaan’s two-run home run which pushed the lead to 6-1.
D.R. grounded out to short in the the fifth and once again was involved in the scoring in the seventh. Meadow sacrificed a runner to second base with a bunt and Americaan singled to drive in that Indian to break a 7-all tie.
Game 3- The Indians stayed alive in the tourney with an easy 17-5 five-inning win over Temple. Meadows did not start this game, but he did swing the stick in the fifth inning and he flied out to right field.
Game 4- This may have been the wildest game of the tourney. Chipola led 7-2 after 2 1/2 innings. Iowa Western scored four runs in both the fourth and fifth to lead 10-8. Chipola scored two in the ninth to tie the game at 13 each. That is when D.R. stepped in to make sure the game went to extra innings.
He scooped up a base hit to left and threw home to get the third out of the inning. In the top of the 10th Jared Howell scored on a pass ball with Meadows at the plate to lift Chipola to a 14-13 win. Story
Meadows went 1-for-4 with a RBI and 3 runs scored plus 2 walks and a strikeout.
In the second inning D.R. walked on a 3-2 pitch and then scored on a Francisco Urbaez sac fly to put the Indians up 4-0. Next, he lead off the fourth with a double on the chalk down the right field line and scored on another Urbaez sac fly to push the Indian lead to 8-2.
Meadows struck out in the fifth swinging and walked in the top of the ninth on four pitches, touching home plate on a Morgan McCullough single which tied the game at 13. In the 10th D.R. swung his bat to the backside and hit the ball to the right fielder for an out.
Game 5- Chipola got a rematch with Walters State and once again the Indians built up a nice lead- 5-1 after three innings and 6-1 after 5 1/2. Walters scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 6. Urbaez broke the tie in the eighth with a two-run homer and that was the difference as Chipola stayed alive with an 8-6 win.
Meadows went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
In the top of the second, with two down, D.R. singled to left field on the first pitch. He led off the fourth and struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch, in the fifth he ended the inning with a strikeout swinging on a 1-2 pitch and in the eighth he walked on a 3–2 pitch and was picked off at second base prior to the Urbaez homer. In the ninth he flied out to left field on a 2-1 pitch with a runner at third to end the inning,
Game 6- The Indians had to win this game to have a chance to repeat as national champions and they did by taking control of the game offensively scoring five runs in the third inning, two in the fourth and four in the fifth in an 11-0 five inning victory over San Jacinto-North. All but two Indians had a base hit and three had two including Meadows.
On the mound Phillip Sanderson continued his post season dominance throwing all five innings and allowing just four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
D.R. went 2-for-3 with a RBI and a strikeout.
In the bottom of the second Meadows struck out on an 0-2 pitch with a runner at third to end the inning. He came to plate in the third inning with Chipola leading 4-0 and the bases loaded with one out. D.R. took a breaking ball for a strike, fouled off another curve and then reached down with his bat on pitch dropping quickly and pushed the advantage to 5-zip by reaching on an infield hit to short which scored a run.
D.R. returned to the dish in the fifth and faced a big right-hander, who consistently threw his fast ball in the low 90’s. Meadows missed a 91 mile per hour fastball placed toward the outer half and then on the next pitch he made contact on another 91 mph pitch, a little above the belt and right across the plate. Meadow sent it into center field for a base hit. He was eliminated at second base on a fielders choice.