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Former Trojan and current Andrew College Tiger Trevor Gruszka is headed to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The Tigers earned a berth in the JUCO World Series by winning the GCAA conference tournament then defeating another set of Tigers — the Chattanooga State Community College Tigers (Tennessee) in the best two out of three district series. District took place in Cuthbert at Andrew’s home field.
It’s not a stretch to say that Andrew came out of nowhere to win the GCAA tournament. While Andrew posted a 34-23 overall record, they struggled in conference play. They finished with a 9-16 conference record and slipped into the tournament as a six seed.
Then they hit their stride.
Andrew rolled through the winners’ bracket and faced the second seed ABAC Stallions for the championship. To advance, ABAC needed to win two; Andrew just one. And ABAC nearly double-dipped the Tigers. The Stallions run-ruled Andrew 14-4 in seven innings to win game one. In the final game, ABAC kept the momentum going and jumped out to a 5-0 lead through five innings. The Tigers’ bats woke up in the sixth when they plated five runs to tie the game. In the seventh, they scored six more to take an 11-5 lead and win the tournament.
Chattanooga State, which won the state title in Tennessee, made the long trip down to Cuthbert to battle it out for a trip to Grand Junction. Andrew wasn’t a very gracious host in game one, winning easily 10-2. Chattanooga State bounced back the next day with an impressive 20-2 drubbing of Andrew.
In the deciding game three, Chattanooga State held a 7-5 advantage through 7 1/2 innings. Two of Andrew’s players had reached base in the bottom of the eighth when centerfielder Carter Brady launched a go-ahead three-run home run to give Andrew an 8-7 lead. The Tigers closed it out in the top of the ninth, won the championship, and punched their ticket to Grand Junction.
In the district series, Gruszka, who started the season as an outfielder but finished as the Tigers' first baseman, hit .250 with two walks, a hit by pitch, two runs scored, and an RBI. For the season, Gruszka hit .316 with 38 RBI.
Now the Tigers are off to the Junior College World Series where they will face the College of Central Florida at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27.