After losing its opening game, the Mesa Community College baseball team rattled off four straight wins in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Championship tournament and play for the title Saturday night in Enid, Okla.
The Thunderbirds’ opponent in the title game is either Madison (Wisc.) Community College or Hinds Community College (Miss.). The teams play later tonight.
MCC lost to Vincennes (Ind.) in its tournament opener on May 24, but rattled off wins over Lincoln Land (Ill.), Northern Oklahoma, Southeastern Iowa and Hinds. The 12-0 victory over Hinds set up a coin flip among the three remaining teams, all with one loss, which the Thunderbirds won and thus received an automatic spot in the championship game.
The Thunderbirds, who seek their fourth national championship after they won three straight in 1970-72, own a 51-13 record heading into the title game.
MCC features nine players from the East Valley: pitchers Rio Gomez (Desert Vista), James Grube (Apache Junction), John Havid (Red Mountain), Sean McGuire (Desert Vista), Nick Schuman (Westwood), infielders Danny Garlid (Seton), Chad Leonard (Queen Creek), Jordan Zimmerman (Red Mountain) and outfielder Shawn Maloney (Corona del Sol).