Trio of former Region 9 baseball players ready to take field for Southern Idaho at JUCO World Series

L-R: Ryke Erickson, Cannon Secrist and Nick Dolce, teammates on the College of Southern Idaho's baseball team, are gearing up to play in the JUCO World Series, scheduled for May 26-June 2 in Grand Junction, Colorado. Photo taken at CSI's home field in Twin Falls, Idaho, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Jen Dolce, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three collegiate baseball teammates who formerly played at Snow Canyon and Pine View high schools are gearing up to play in the national junior college World Series, which starts Saturday at Grand Junction, Colorado.


  • Update June 2 at 7 p.m. The CSI baseball team won its first two games of the JUCO World Series, defeating Temple College of Texas 5-2 on May 26 and beating Iowa Western 4-2 on May 28. CSI then lost to Walters State of Tennessee 12-10 on May 30, dropping the Golden Eagles into the one-loss bracket. Then, on Thursday, May 31, CSI was eliminated from the tournament with an 8-6 loss to San Jacinto, Texas.

Sam Suplizio Field, site of the 2018 JUCO World Series baseball tournament, Grand Junction, Colorado, May 24, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Jen Dolce, St. George News

Taking the field for the tournament’s very first game will be the College of Southern Idaho, a public two-year community college in Twin Falls. The Golden Eagles roster includes a trio of former Region 9 standout players, namely sophomore designated hitter Nick Dolce, freshman utility player Cannon Secrist and freshman catcher Ryke Erickson. Dolce and Secrist both played high school ball for Snow Canyon, while Erickson played at Pine View.

CSI Golden Eagles have posted a 50-10 record so far this season, including going a remarkable 28-0 at home. The team successively won its conference, region, and district titles in order to make it to its first JUCO World Series (known formally as the NJCAA Division I World Series) since 1993. The Golden Eagles last won the national tournament in 1984.

This year’s JUCO World Series, hosted at Grand Junction’s Sam Suplizio Field, features 10 of the top junior college teams from around the country playing in a double-elimination bracket from May 26 through June 2.

Nick Dolce team photo, courtesy of College of Southern Idaho, St. George News

Dolce told St. George News Thursday afternoon he is looking forward to being out on the field for the tournament’s first game Saturday morning, when CSI is slated to face Temple College of Temple, Texas, starting at 9 a.m. The Leopards have a 35-23 record this year.

“We will be the first game of the whole tournament, so it will be a special thing to be able to be the first team out there for the first pitch,” Dolce said. “It will be awesome to get out there and just compete like we have been all year.

“We just have a really great group of guys that care a lot about the team and not just ourselves. It’s been a really fun year and we’re just enjoying every second of it. It’s really nice having some guys from high school around.”

Cannon Secrist team photo, courtesy of College of Southern Idaho, St. George News

Secrist said he has particularly enjoyed having Dolce and Erickson as teammates.

“It has been really fun to play with Nick,” Secrist said of Dolce. “We have been playing together for quite a while now and have formed a really good friendship through baseball. As for Ryke, it has also been fun playing with him. It was different to have him on the same team and not be always trying to beat him. But playing with him this year, we have also gotten really close. Our entire team is friends, and it has been a very fun team to be a part of.”

Erickson agreed, saying “It’s so nice to have guys like Nick and Cannon on the team from the same region. We’ve became good friends the past few months.”

Ryke Erickson team photo, courtesy of College of Southern Idaho, St. George News

All three players said they anticipate CSI will have to face top-notch opponents throughout the tournament.

“We’re expecting some good competition in the World Series and we are ready for it,” Erickson said, adding, “We’re going to play the way we know how.”

Secrist said CSI’s head coach Boomer Walker has prepared the team’s players well and hopes their winning momentum will continue throughout the postseason.

“Our coach Boom has told us all year to stay within ourselves and play our brand of baseball,” Secrist said. “So far it seems to be working pretty well. So we will continue to do that and see how much farther that will take us.”  

Resources

  • College of Southern Idaho baseball team website.
  • Official 2018 JUCO World Series tournament bracket.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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