Highlanders head back to Grand Junction to defend 2021 National Title

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - It wasn’t an easy road, but the McLennan Highlanders are headed back to the JuCo World Series to defend last year’s National Championship!

MCC lost a game early in the Region V double-elimination tournament and had to win five straight do-or-die games to win the Region and earn a spot in Grand Junction.

Head Coach Mitch Thompson smiles and says, “Oh, it was definitely hard. It was a heck of a trip we had to make.”

Despite the odds, MCC continued to fight, erasing deficits and narrowly protecting leads all the way through.

Thompson looks back at the run and says, “There were so many times throughout those games where they could have quit.”

Pitcher Will Carsten adds, “Our guys came out every single game with the intent that we have to keep on winning. I am really proud of our pitchers and hitters that kept showing resilience.”

That tough path through Region V made the team more confident and better prepared for the World Series experience.

Third baseman Cole Fontenelle explains, “You live for big moments. We had a lot of guys that were put in big spots and it seemed like everybody came out as the hero.”

Coach Thompson adds, “It made them really focus on taking it one game at a time. We have to take one bite of the elephant at a time until we get this thing done.”

MCC certainly has the talent to win a second straight national championship, but the truth is, it’s the culture Mitch Thompson has created that sets this team apart.

Carsten explains, “You look at this team and probably just see a bunch of ball players. But if you dig deep into it - Coach Thompson does a good job of turning us into a family.”

Coach Thompson’s message to the team is the same this year as it was last year: take it all in, play your game, and remember to have fun.

Mitch smiles ear-to-ear, “I can’t wait. It never gets old. This is my fourth time now and I am as excited as I have ever been... I am anxious to see these guys go make their mark.”

The ten teams that qualified for the tournament will be seeded Tuesday.

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