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Parkland Cobras send Co-Lin home with shutout

MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Co-Lin’s Cinderella baseball season came toan abrupt halt Tuesday in the NJCAA Division II World Series. Outof gas and out of pitchers, the Wolfpack absorbed a 10-0, 6-inningshutout, administered by the Parkland (Ill.) Cobras in USAStadium.

The Wolves (32-28-1), playing their second game in less than 16hours, placed fourth in the Series, matching the 2000 Co-Linsquad’s finish. The Wolves had survived an energy-draining, 16-15struggle Monday night against Chesapeake (Md.) which went 4 hoursand concluded near midnight.

Parkland (51-16), based in Champaign, Ill., advances totonight’s semifinals elimination game, meeting Elgin (Ill.). Elgin,which beat Co-Lin 3-1 last Saturday in the opening round, lost toGrand Rapids (Mich.) 6-2 last night.

Grand Rapids (34-21), the 2-time defending champion and onlyunbeaten team left, awaits tonight’s winner. That showdown isscheduled Thursday night at 7:30.

“Our team, with 16 guys, accomplished a lot this season,” saidCo-Lin head coach Keith Case. His squad had been decimated byinjuries to key players. Eight of them under went surgery.

“We had no pieces to piece together today,” explained Case. “Ourpitchers tried to keep us in the game. I was hoping we could stayclose but our pitching didn’t hold up.”

The starting assignment fell on the shoulders of sophomore LanceDeville who had saved Monday’s win with clutch relief pitching.Deville was tagged for 5 runs on 3 hits and walked 2. He left themound in the second inning and freshman Matthew Tubbs replacedhim.

Tubbs gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and walked 2, exiting withParkland on top 7-0. Freshman Scotty Smith replaced Tubbs andfinished the 6-inning game, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits, walking 1and fanning 1.

Parkland, collecting 15 hits off 3 Co-Lin hurlers, took a 2-runlead in the first inning. Cobra catcher Lance Tofflemire lashed anopposite-field, 2-run homer.

On the mound, sophomore southpaw Dan Coller handcuffed theWolves with a 3-hitter. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder from Hortonville,Wis. fanned 2 batters and walked 1.

“All year we’ve had trouble with left-handers,” said Case. “Hethrew strikes on both sides of the plate.”

Coller, whose fastball ranges from 84-88 miles per hour,received compliments from Parkland coach Mitch Rosenthal. “Dan isour big-game pitcher. He steps it up for us.

“He moved his fastball in and out today and threw his curveballwell,” Rosenthal added. “He has a changeup, too.”

Rosenthal knew Co-Lin’s energy and pitching staff were low onfuel after Monday night’s marathon game with Chesapeake. His teamwas rebounding from a 6-2 Sunday loss to Elgin. The Cobraseliminated Mesa (Ariz.) 10-3 Monday.

“Co-Lin has a good team,” said Rosenthal who is in his firstyear at the helm. “They used a lot of pitchers last night.”

Rosenthall was an assistant coach for 3 years at EasternIllinois University before moving to Parkland.

Co-Lin leadoff batter Josh Logan accounted for 2 of his team’s 3hits. Sophomore Patrick Williams singled in the fourth but theWolves left 2 runners on base.

Sophomore second baseman Jody Britt described Co-Lin’s dilemmaentering the game. “We had no energy at all. Parkland tookadvantage of our errors. They were one of the best hitting teams uphere.”

Co-Lin freshman catcher Matthew Schexnayder, exhausted afterworking every game behind the plate, received intravenous fluidsprior to the game.

Britt and his teammates exchanged hugs and words of endearmentafter the game. They were greeted by applauding Co-Lin fans andparents as they exited the field.