Crowder earns #1 seed in World Series, aims for first national championship

The Roughriders are the #1 seed in the JUCO World Series beginning this weekend.

NEOSHO, Mo. – The Crowder College Roughriders know exactly how many miles it is to Grand Junction, Colorado.

“The hashtag 968, it’s not just the miles, it’s what it takes from August to now to get to this point,” says head coach Travis Lallemand.

“I think the first meeting, the first day on campus we were talking about Grand Junction,” says pitcher James Hicks, “That’s been the goal all along. We’ve made it, but that’s not the end of the line. We’ve got work to do out there.”

Crowder learned Monday afternoon they will be the number one seed in the JUCO World Series this weekend in Grand Junction.

“Our whole locker room went kind of crazy for a little bit, because it’s such a big deal for us,” Hicks says of finding out the team would be the #1 seed, “It feels great to see our hard work pay off in that way and be recognized. It’s definitely a target on our back, but we’ve had that all year with our national ranking and stuff. We’re pretty used to it.”

“I don’t think we’re surprised to be here. We’re very grateful to have played well enough to be here, but I don’t think we’re surprised,” Lallemand adds, “I don’t think it’s a situation where we’re like “holy cow look at what we just did.” It’s something that we’ve been working for.”

The Roughriders got here by blowing through the South Central district tournament last weekend – including two wins against 9th-ranked Eastern Oklahoma.

“It is definitely one of the toughest districts in the country this year to get through,” Lallemand says.

“We faced some of the best arms in the country this weekend, but that just shows how good our offense is and how much work they put into it,” Hicks says, “It’s definitely a confidence booster.”

“If we can carry that momentum on and play well, we might be able to play for a while out there,” Lallemand says.

They have the chance they’ve been working for.

“We’re all going to compete for a national championship,” Lallemand says, “It sounds kind of cool saying that.”

And the Roughriders feel like they have the right ingredients to bring back a championship for the first time in program history.

“Teams that can hit the ball out of the yard are usually more successful out there, but you have to have power arms and have some swing-and-miss stuff, especially in the bullpen,” Lallemand says of his team, “When you have the bullpen we have, it’s definitely an ingredient for success. We just have to go make the pitches to prove that.”

Crowder will face 10th-seeded Indian Hills in their World Series opener on Saturday at noon in Grand Junction, with the winner moving on to play next Monday.