Local player wins World Series

Published 10:13 am Monday, June 5, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry


He’s a champion.

Former Callaway Cavalier Kevin Craft and his teammates on the Chipola baseball team beat San Jacinto 15-6 on Saturday night to win the Junior-College World Series in Colorado.

Chipola, which was the top-seeded team in the eight-team World Series, completed a remarkable season.

Chipola closed with a 51-9 record, and it won six consecutive games in the World Series after falling into the loser’s bracket.

Craft, a sophomore right-handed pitcher, appeared in 11 games for Chipola this season, and he threw one scoreless inning in the World Series.

In Chipola’s lone tournament loss to San Jacinto, Craft tossed a scoreless ninth inning, and he struck out nine batters and didn’t walk anyone.

After that 13-8 loss, Chipola didn’t lose again in the tournament, and it scored 11 or more runs in five of its final six games.

In his 11 appearances, which included two starts, Craft had a 1-1 record, and he struck out 19 batters in his 10 innings pitched.

Craft, who was the co-Region 5-AA pitcher of the year in 2015 along with Callaway teammate Perry Keith, played two seasons at Chipola.

Craft has already signed with Western Carolina, and he will be a part of that team next spring.

Craft is one of 10 Chipola players who will be playing for a four-year school next season.

Craft was one of three local players who participated in the World Series.

One of those players, outfielder Austin Garrett, was a teammate of Craft’s at Callaway, and he had a terrific World Series.

Playing for Wallace-Dothan (Ala.), Garrett had seven hits in three games, and that included a three-hit effort in a 10-7 loss to Crowder that ended the team’s season.

Garrett had a stellar sophomore season.

He played in 56 games and finished with a .369 batting average, and he hit a home run and drove in 22 runs.

Garrett had hits in 14 of his final 15 games, and he had at least two hits in 10 of those games.

Former LaGrange Granger Hakeem Stargell was a reserve player for a Dyersberg State team that lost both of its World Series games.

Stargell, a sophomore, played in 17 games, and he hit .310 with two home runs and eight RBIs.