The Jamestown Community College Jayhawks enter the NJCAA Region 3 Division III baseball playoffs this weekend with a 22-20 record, but they might very well be the hottest team in the field.
Three pitchers combined on a two-hitter in a 4-2 victory in the opener against Broome CC on Thursday and then the surging Jayhawks survived a scare in the seventh inning before holding on for an 8-7 victory in the nightcap at Diethrick Park.
With the doubleheader sweep, JCC has won 15 of its last 17 games, including the last eight straight. The Jayhawks, the No. 3 seed in the west, will travel to No. 2 Schenectady for a best-of-three series, beginning with a 1 p.m. game on Saturday.
Dylan Allesi of Jamestown Community College delivers a pitch to a Broome CC?batter during Thursday’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III doubleheader at Diethrick Park. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Mark L. Anderson
''With our pitching and the way we're playing defense,'' JCC coach Anthony Barone said,''our guys are sort of firing on all cylinders. ... It's a great feeling to be playing so well heading into regionals.''
In yesterday's opener, sophomores Eric Vara, Dylan Allesi and Andrew Honey baffled the Hornets on just two hits. D.J. Smith belted a two-run home run in the first inning, but the visitors managed only a sixth-inning single off Allesi the rest of the way. Vara worked 4 innings and was credited with the win and Honey got the final two outs for the save.
After falling behind 2-0, the Jayhawks scored one run in the second, two in the fourth - courtesy of RBI singles by freshman Jose Hernandez and sophomore Bo Westling - and one in the fifth on sophomore Cody Kane's RBI single.
Hernandez had three hits and Kane had two to pace JCC's offense in the opener.
In the second game, the Jayhawks scored eight unanswered runs to lead 8-1 heading into the top of the seventh, but Broome erupted for six runs and had the tying run at second base before sophomore Matt Tobias got the final out for the save.
''It was like a chain reaction,'' Barone said of Broome's rally, '' ... but it was a nice job by Matt Tobias to shut the door.''
Kane (triple), sophomore Anthony Polvino (double) and freshman Levi Madden all had two hits for the Jayhawks, who scored two runs in the first inning, four in the third and two in the fifth to build their lead in support of winning pitcher Niqalas Sinsabaugh.
See JCC, Page C3
Highlighting the scoring were an RBI single by sophomore Sean Ballentine in the first, run-scoring singles by Madden and freshman Matt Marino in the third, and RBI singles by Madden and Kane in the fifth. The top of the seventh inning was a little dicey for JCC, but Tobias retired the final batter on weak liner to end the game and set up the weekend series at Schnectady.
''We set up a tough early season schedule down south and you hope that it turns out,'' Barone said. "It has toughened us up and we're learning how to win close games. We're playing with a lot more confidence and we have that feeling that we can win any ballgame.''
The other first-round series in JCC's bracket finds No. 1 Herkimer County CC entertaining No. 4 Niagara County CC. Meanwhile, No. 1 Onondaga CC plays host to No. 4 Columbia Greene and No. 3 Hudson Valley CC travels to No. 2 Erie CC in the other bracket. The regional Final Four will be held May 12-13 in Little Falls.