Harris' grand slam lifts CCRI baseball past Massasoit in tournament quarterfinals
Sophomore second baseman Caleb Harris (Cranston, RI) hit a grand slam and sophomore third baseman Jacob San Antonio (Cranston, RI) added a two-run home run Thursday as the No. 2 seed Community College of Rhode Island baseball rallied for a 10-6 win over No. 3 Massasoit at Whitey Fell Field in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division III Region XXI Tournament.
With the win, the Knights advance to the winner’s bracket, where they face No. 1 seed Northern Essex tomorrow at 1 pm at Clark University in Worcester, MA. Northern Essex advanced with a win over No. 4 Quinsigamond.
The double-elimination tournament now unfolds as follows: Quinsigamond and Massasoit play an elimination game tomorrow at 10 am with the winner playing the loser of the CCRI-Northern Essex game later in the day for an opportunity to advance to the finals.
If the Knights beat Northern Essex tomorrow at 1, they automatically advance to Sunday’s championship round, where they await the winner of Saturday’s final loser’s bracket game for a 2 pm showdown. There could be as many as two games on Sunday as well depending on who wins the 2 pm game since one of the two teams playing in the finals will have yet to lose a game.
Last year, the Knights were the No. 4 seed and lost in the quarterfinals, but they won twice on the following Saturday and emerged from the loser’s bracket to face top seed Northern Essex. Tomorrow is the long-awaited rematch – a tall order given Northern Essex’s 20-1 league record, but not impossible considering CCRI is the team that handed them their only loss. Northern Essex breezed past Quinsigamond yesterday, 17-5, for its 13th consecutive win and ironically hasn’t lost a game since CCRI beat them April 13 at Whitey Fell Field.
Overall, Northern Essex has won 24 of its last 25, but CCRI is right on its heels having won 11 of its last 12 following yesterday’s win over Massasoit.
In Thursday’s quarterfinal win, the Knights fell behind when Massasoit posted three runs in the top of the third inning, but responded with six in the bottom half, capped by Harris’ grand slam – his first home run of the season.