Whittemore made right decision
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – It could have been a Hamlet moment for Western Nevada Community College baseball coach D.J. Whittemore.
Instead of to be or not to be, though, it could have been to pitch Cole Rohrbough or not to pitch Cole Rohrbough.
Whittemore could have been tempted to bring back Rohrbough on three days rest after he threw 111 pitches in a 2-0 win over Delgado Community College of New Orleans on Saturday. But it was never really an option for Whittemore and WNCC went on to lose to New Mexico Junior College 11-1 on Wednesday at Suplizio Field to be eliminated from the JUCO College World Series.
Whittemore said WNCC’s best chance to win the national title was to have Rohrbough pitch on Thursday.
“We were interested in one thing and that’s winning the tournament,” Whittemore said. “It was in our best interest to give Cole another day of rest.”
Besides, Whittemore wasn’t about to put Rohrbough at risk. “I’ll never jeopardize a guy’s health to win a baseball game,” Whittemore said. “He wanted the baseball.”
“I told coach to give me the ball to me,” Rohrbough said. “I wanted another shot to help continue our season for sure. It just didn’t work out. That’s just how it goes.”
Whittemore was hoping that Tuesday’s 12-5 loss to San Jacinto College of Texas didn’t hurt his team’s confidence. San Jac featured two players who had originally committed to Texas, but opted for San Jac.
The Gators also features players who have signed with Rice, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Mississippi. Whittemore said his team shouldn’t feel too bad about its showing against a club he described as “Big 12 and SEC all-stars. You’ve got to keep it all in perspective,” Whittemore said.
Whittemore was also serious when he said he would like to see how San Jac stacked up against teams in the NCAA Division I playoffs. “I think they’d hold their own,” Whittemore said.
EVEN MORE PERSPECTIVE
New Mexico coach Ray Birmingham also maintained perspective when he was asked by a local television station about how his team handled the pressure of trying to hold off a comeback against Cowley County Community College of Kansas in an elimination game. New Mexico held on for a 12-9 win to stay alive on Tuesday.
Birmingham said his team didn’t face any pressure. He said a single mother raising five children and trying to find a way to feed her kids faces pressure. “This is fun,” said Birmingham about the World Series.
STAYING IN GRAND JUNCTION
The National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association and Grand Junction’s JUCO committee have reached an agreement to keep the World Series in the city through 2018.
SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR?
On the field after Wednesday’s game, Whittemore was already looking to next year when he took freshman Chuck Howard aside and told him, “Let’s do this again next year Chuckie.”