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Knights beat Mercyhurst twice to make World Series!
the CCRI Knights baseball team continued their play as they hosted the Eastern District tournament on Sunday. The day began with the Knights finishing their game with Mercyhurst from the night before and the Knights pulling out the narrow 7-6 victory to keep their World Series hopes alive. From there Mercyhurst dispatched Westchester CC 8-2 setting-up a winner-take-all championship game between the Knights and Saints and after trailing 4-0 the Knights scored eight unanswered runs to win the Eastern District Tournament in dramatic fashion and advance to the NJCAA Division II World series in Enid Oklahoma May 26th –June 2nd. This will be their first trip to the NJCAA World Series since 1996 and before that 1992 and before that it was in 1988 with former Major Leaguer Rheal Cormier.
Conclusion of game 3
CCRI-7 Mercyhurst- 6
With the score 7-6 and the Knights visitor they got on final at bat and got a single from Nick Coro (North Providence, RI) who advanced to second base on a throwing error but did not score. The Knights gave the ball to Kevin Dale (Warwick, RI) to register the final three outs. Dale got the first two batters out on a pop-up to left and a grounder to second base. But the game was not over yet. Mercyhurst got a single deep in the third base/shortstop hole and then another single to put the tying run in scoring position at second base. Marc Dorsi (West Haven, CT) made a great play, again deep in the shortstop/third base hole and flipped it to Mo Checo (Providence, RI) to record the final out on a bang-bang play to secure the Knights victory and keep the World Series hopes alive.
Mercyhurst- 8 Westchester- 2
Mercyhurst jumped ahead in the second inning scoring four runs. They tacked on another in the fifth inning to take a 5-0 lead. Westchester would not just roll over as they scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 5-2 Mercyhurst. Mercyhurst tacked on three more runs in the eighth inning capped by a 2-run homer from Wyatt Montgomery off the left field foul pole to secure the 8-2 victory for the Saints. Mercyhurst Advances to the Championship game versus the CCRI Knights.
East District Championship Game
On the mound for the Knights Ben Libuda (Auburn, MA) got the nod and pitched very well despite some poor early game defense. Libuda gave up four runs but none of them were earned over two and 2/3 innings. Libuda gave way to Kevin Dale (Warwick, RI) who already recorded a save versus Mercyhurst earlier in the day. Dale was superb, throwing five and 1/3 innings of one run ball allowing just three hits, striking out three Saints’ batters to record the victory. Dale worked ahead in the count to most of the batters he faced and was in complete control as he silenced the Saints’ bats.
Offensively the Knights were led by Mike Sherburne (North Kingstown, RI) who started the Knights’ scoring in the fourth inning with a 2-RBI triple and then capped the game with a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Knights the 8-4 lead. With the Knights trailing 4-2 in the sixth inning Jamale Horn (Hoover, AL) blasted a solo home run through a stiff breeze coming in from left field to cut the Saints lead to 4-3. In the eighth inning ninth batter Mo Checo led-off with a solo home run to tie the game 4-4 and get the crowd and Knights’ bench ignited. Knights’ lead-off batter Dylan Gracia (Middletown, RI) drew a walk and Marc Dorsi followed with a double down the left field line. Co-Captain Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, CT) was out on a sharp one hopper to shortstop bringing Horn to the plate, the Saints intentionally walked Horn bringing Sherburne to the plate. He entered the batter’s box to his walk-out song which is the theme to “Rocky” and delivered a moon shot over the batting cage in left field to give the Knights an 8-4 lead and the park erupted as the ball left his bat and the Knights greeted their hero at the plate. This gave Sherburne six RBI’s on a 2-RBI triple and grand slam. From there the Saints did score once but Kevin Dale got the final three outs to secure the Knights’ victory and trip to the NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Oklahoma!
The Knights next game will be Saturday May 26th at Noon (CST/1pm EST) hen they will face the North Central District Champion, which is still to be determined next weekend, but it will be the Region IV Champion from Central Illinois.