LAKELAND, Fla. (Chipola) -- The Chipola College baseball team (38-18) won a third straight FCSAA State Championship with a 14-6 win over arch-rival Northwest Florida State on May 15. After finishing second to Northwest in the Panhandle Conference, but Chipola won 5 of the teams’ 8 meetings with the Raiders this season.
Chipola lost to Northwest 10-7 in the first game of the title series on Wednesday, but held on to beat the Raiders 14-6 in the second championship game of the day. The Raiders had to beat Chipola twice, as the Indians have no losses in the double-elimination tournament.
Andrew Moore earned the win for Chipola in the championship game and also won the Outstanding Pitcher award in the Tournament. Connor Kehl was named Outstanding Player in the Tournament. Coach Jeff Johnson was named FCSAA Coach of the Year.
Chipola has played in four straight FCSAA title games. According to FCSAA records, Chipola is the first team to win three straight state titles since the State College of Florida (formerly Manatee) won four straight from 1960-1963.
The Indians made it to the championship game with a 10-0 win over State College of Florida on Tuesday, May 14. Chipola’s Cameron Gray of Marianna, threw a gem, allowing no runs on two hits over five innings, striking out five. The Indians secured the victory thanks to seven runs in the third. The offensive firepower was led by Connor Kehl, Daniel Cerda, and Joshua Rivera, all driving in runs in the inning, including a triple by Rivera, a single by Kehl, and a double by Cerda. Chipola had 14 hits on the day. Kehl went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead Chipola.
On May 12, Chipola beat Northwest 6-3. The Indians beat Santa Fe 8-7 on May 11. Chipola outlasted Miami-Dade 2-0 in their opening game of the tournament.
Chipola, the three-time defending state champion and two-time defending national champion, is making a third straight trip to Grand Junction, Colorado, for the JUCO World Series later this month. In 21 seasons at Chipola, head coach Jeff Johnson has led the Indians to three national titles: 2018, 2017 and 2007; and six state championships: 2007, 2008, 2011, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Indians have appeared in the title game of the state tournament 9 of the last 12 years.