On a team of clutch, experienced performers, Josh Alexander emerged from the pack during Delgado’s postseason run to the Division I National Junior College World Series.
After getting the walk-off winning hits at the region tournament and the South Central district championships, he would love to be in the same position as the Dolphins pursue their first National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series championship in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“We really did think we would get here,” he said Thursday in anticipation of Saturday’s 8 a.m. opener against No. 4-seed Weatherford (Texas) in the 10-team, double-elimination tournament. “Hopefully we do some damage and prove not only to ourselves, but prove to the whole country we can (win) it.”
They already know they can count on Alexander, who has inherited the clutch genes of his dad — former Tulane pitcher Gerald Alexander.
Gerald Alexander pitched a two-hit, 1-0 shutout against North Carolina State in a 1988 regional opener for the Green Wave on his way to a three-year major league baseball career.
Josh Alexander singled with two outs in the ninth inning for a 4-3 victory against Baton Rouge Community College on May 6, getting Delgado out of regionals. His double in the bottom of the 10th inning against Seminole State on May 21 sent the Dolphins to Grand Junction.
“Alexander’s been our key,” Delgado coach Joe Scheuermann said. “He puts a left-handed bat in the two-hole with some pop, and really his numbers speak for themselves. He’s been clutch for two years here. It’s nothing surprising to me.”
Alexander, a UL commitment hitting .303, leads the Dolphins with 59 RBIs, 14 doubles and 107 total bases. His 10 home runs are one behind catcher and best friend Jacob Singletary, who bats right behind him.
He also leads the team in strikeouts with 50, but when he is locked in, he is lethal.
“When he’s good, he spreads the ball from pole to pole,” Scheuermann said. “When he’s bad, he tries to do too much and hit the ball out of the park. When he’s controlled and has a little poise, he’s as good a hitter as there is in the country.”
Scheuermann pointed to that walk-off double against Seminole State as the perfect example. Facing a sinker-ball pitcher who threw 91 miles per hour, Alexander drove the ball the opposite way to left field.
“I go up to the plate looking to do some damage and looking to attack,” he said. “I just love swinging at the first pitch because I get a little antsy in the box sometimes, so I get it out of the way and whatever happens, happens.”
Alexander, from Napoleonville, chose Nicholls out of Assumption High but de-committed before ending up at Delgado with the support of his dad, whom Scheuermann coached as an assistant at Tulane under Joe Brockhoff.
“I’m blessed to have this opportunity,” he said. “Delgado is a winning program, a great program, and I want to be somewhere we win. Look where we are.”
Delgado has won five of its six postseason games by one run, getting tremendous pitching from Carson Lore, Chris Olivier, Turner Toms and Kyle St. Pierre to supplement a potent offense hitting .320. That combo platter has Scheuermann convinced his fifth trip to Grand Junction can be much more productive than his three consecutive ones from 2014-16, when the Dolphins went 1-6.
“The kids expect to win because they know they can win,” he said. “I don’t normally talk about national championships, but I do this year. We’re that good.”
Singletary, who was on deck when Alexander walked off Seminole State and was the first person to chase him down in the celebration, believes a reprisal could be in store.
“We just need to have poise and composure, relax, play our games, not do too much and try to control what we can control,” he said. “If we have good poise, we’ll be successful in the end.”