“We’re going to Grand Junction,” Blinn College’s freshman pitcher said.
Just like a majority of the 100 pitches Dydalewicz threw against Paris Junior College, the right-hander was right on point.
Behind seven innings of two-hit ball from Dydalewicz and 19 hits from their superb offense, the eighth-ranked Buccaneers defeated Parsis 18-0 in game two of the Region XIV Super Regional series to punch their ticket to the NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series.
Blinn swept the two-game series at the Jim Reeves Memorial Baseball Field in Carthage, Texas, and will now travel to Grand Junction, Colo., to compete in the 10-team World Series for the seventh time in program history and first time since 2014. The Buccaneers also qualified in 1962, 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1992.
“This is special,” added Dydalewicz, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. “I love every single one of these guys on this team – the players and the coaches. They have my back; I have their back … I love Blinn, I love this coaching staff, and there isn’t any other place I’d rather be right now going to the World Series with this bunch.”
The trip to Sam Suplizio Field will be first-year skipper Dusty Hart’s third appearance in the national tournament as a head coach (two appearances while at Grayson College in 2008 and 2011), and sixth overall. He competed in the tournament as a member of the Grayson baseball team in 1998 and went on to earn a pair of berths as an assistant coach for the program. Greyson won the championship under Hart in 2008.
Hart took a second to reflect on the moment before expressing his gratitude toward the 2023 Buccaneers.
(Pictured: Blinn pitcher Kaden Dydalewicz pitches against Paris during game two of the Region XIV Super Regional on May 18)
“This is all so hard to put into words,” Hart said. “This team is made up of a bunch of great guys … you can take the baseball out of it. They work hard every day, they do what we ask them to do, and they’re just a bunch of hard-nosed, blue-collar kids that never stopped working for this. And now, we’re going to take a day or two to celebrate this and get right back to work.”
There was plenty to celebrate Thursday as Blinn (44-13) finished off a decisive sweep of the Dragons. After winning game one 11-3 in seven innings on Wednesday, the Bucs continued right where they left off with another overwhelming offensive effort.
Eight of Blinn’s 19 hits went for extra bases, including home runs from sophomore Ian Collier and freshmen Tanner Reaves, Coy DeFury, and Jake Kolkhorst. Reaves also doubled, freshman Marshall Lipsey smacked a two-bagger, and freshman Brandon Bishop had a pair of doubles as part of a five-hit, five-RBI day.
The Bucs were in control from the outset, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning before tacking on in every frame until the ninth.
(Pictured: Blinn’s Tanner Reaves makes contact with a pitch during game two of the Region XIV Super Regional on May 18)
“The offense just exploded, Kaden went out there on the mound and just shoved for us, and it was just an incredible moment when we got to dogpile on the mound after that final out,” said Reaves. “A lot of hard work came together all in one moment, and it was just a great feeling.”
Nine different players had at least one hit for the Bucs.
Following Bishop’s big day, Lipsey reached base five times with three hits and two walks while also scoring four runs and driving in one. Reaves had two hits and three RBIs; Collier had two hits while driving in a pair; Kolkhorst had two hits and plated three runs; and sophomore Tate Bethel also tallied a pair of hits. Collier and DeFury finished with two RBIs apiece.
Reaves’ home run was his 17th of the spring and fifth in his last four games. DeFury’s seventh long ball of the season was also his second of the series.
The offensive eruption was more than enough to back Dydalewicz (7-0), who dazzled Paris from the start. He struck out seven and walked just three before giving way to freshman left-hander Hunter Bond.
(Pictued: The Blinn College baseball team poses with its Region XIV and Mid-South District Championship plaques on May 18)
“Everything was just clicking today,” Dydalewicz said. “Everyone around me was amped up, and in that situation it’s your job to keep your composure and take things one pitch at a time until the job is done.”
Bond allowed two hits while fanning two Dragons for a scoreless eighth inning, and freshman left-hander Cody Pfeffer worked his way out of trouble in the ninth. With runners on second and third and no one out, Pfeffer struck out two consecutive hitters before fielding a comebacker to the mound and tossing to first to end it and start a celebration in the center of the diamond.
Blinn will take a 10-game winning streak into the World Series.
(Pictured: Blinn head coach Dusty Hart receives a celebratory water coller bath after the Buccaneers won the Region XIV championship on May 18)
“What excites me the most is for these guys to get the opportunity to go enjoy the entire World Series experience,” added Hart. “This group of guys deserves to go play in that atmosphere, and they’re about to have more fun than they’ve ever had in their lives playing baseball. And at the same time, we’re not going up there to go on vacation; we want to go up there and play well and hopefully win the whole thing.”
The World Series is played in a double-elimination format and begins Saturday, May 27. The tournament ends June 2 or June 3 depending on the outcome of the championship round. Blinn is one of five teams that has already qualified for the tournament, a list that also includes top-ranked College of Central Florida; fifth-ranked Weatherford College; No. 10 Gaston College; and Shelton State Community College. The remaining teams, dates, and times of the World Series ballgames have yet to be determined.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 43 NJCAA national championships since 1987.