FHS grad helps Delta State capture regional
Published 2:02 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Delta State University was victorious in the NCAA Division II South 2 Region Tournament that took place Thursday through Saturday at Tim & Nancy Harvey Stadium at Dave “Boo” Ferris Field on the campus of Delta State University.
“It wasn’t handed to us easy. It’s hard beating a team four times in less than three weeks to win a regional to advance,” 2016 Franklinton High School graduate C.J. Estave said. “Those guys (Valdosta State University), you score a few runs and they come back and score just as many or more to take the lead. It was a tough battle and it wasn’t handed to us easy.”
Delta State defeated Valdosta State University in the final two games of the regional — once each on Friday and Saturday — to win the title by finals of 6-4 and 9-6.
In the previous weekend at the Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament, Delta State defeated Valdosta State University, 10-0 and 7-6.
Estave recorded a .500 batting average for the tournament, going 6-for-12 with three runs batted in, two runs scored and a home run.
Estave’s third round tripper of the season came in the second game of the tournament. It was a solo home run that extended Delta State’s 3-2 lead to 4-2 in a 6-4 win. It was part of a 3-for-4 day that saw Estave hit the solo homer and score two runs.
This season, Estave is hitting .333 with three homers, 22 runs batted in, 19 runs scored and four doubles. Estave has just over a 2-1 walk to strikeout ratio with 21 walks and nine strikeouts in 132 at bats. He has also been hit five times.
Delta State University opened the regional by defeating Embry-Riddle University 5-1 on Thursday. The next two were victories over Valdosta State University.
Delta State University is 42-12 and has won seven in a row.
Estave said one of the keys to the season has been that they are just playing as a team.
We’re finally coming together,” Estave said. “We got hot at the right time. The key has been our pitching staff. We’re leading the country in ERA, so they’re giving us a lot more opportunities to score.”
Delta State University advanced to the Super Regional to play the University of Tampa in a best-of-three on the road. That series begins on Friday. The winner advances to the NCAA College World Series in Cary N.C.
“I’m pretty fired up about it,” Estave said. “We’re two wins away from going to the world series.”