Cobras to play for World Series title

Cobras to play for World Series title

ENID, Okla. — Dave Garcia thought having his Parkland baseball players take batting practice in the open field might help loosen them up more than in the cages.

He wasn't wrong.

A looser, more dominant Parkland squad cruised to a 13-5 win Wednesday over Scottsdale (Ariz.) in an NJCAA Division II World Series semifinal, scoring six runs in the first two innings to send the Cobras to their fourth-ever national championship series at Enid's David Allen Ballpark.

"We tried a little too hard to keep a tight structure on our batting practice," Garcia said of the Cobras' first two World Series wins. "Today, we ... really shortened the rounds up and let guys loosen up and let the ball fly a little bit."

Of course, the Cobras (51-14-1) having starting pitcher Jarrett Olson and reliever Jack Lambert available also helped.

Olson threw just two innings due to high temperatures before Lambert took his place.

The left-handed reliever tossed four solid innings with four strikeouts to earn the win, despite giving up a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

"I know our guys," Garcia said. "When they see Jarrett Olson and Jack Lambert available to throw, their confidence goes up quite a bit."

While the Artichokes took a 1-0 lead in the opening frame, the Cobras quickly clapped back with back-to-back three-run innings.

Redshirt sophomore Trystin Raikes paced the offense, going 2 for 3 with two RBI and a bases-loaded double in the second that pushed the Cobras' lead to 6-3.

While Parkland will contend for its first World Series title since winning it in 2009, Garcia said he still wants to see more improvement between games, as the Cobras did between each game in the Region 24 tournament.

Parkland will face top-seeded LSU-Eunice (57-6) in a best-of-three series beginning at 7 p.m. today.

"I still don't think we've played our best game yet," Garcia said, "but we're on the right path."