Region 3 Split

Jayhawks Rally In Opener, Fall To Tompkins Cortland In Nightcap

Jamestown Community College’s DJ Yates (8) is greeted near the dugout after scoring a run in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III baseball game against Tompkins Cortland CC.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

Jamestown Community College’s DJ Yates (8) is greeted near the dugout after scoring a run in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III baseball game against Tompkins Cortland CC. P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

Justin Barber had Jamestown Community College’s baseball team guessing at the plate throughout much of the first game of Tuesday’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III doubleheader at Diethrick Park.

In fact, the right-hander of Tompkins Cortland CC had only surrendered two hits and had not allowed a run heading into the bottom of the sixth inning and the visiting Panthers had what seemed like a comfortable 3-0 advantage.

But as the Jayhawks have done on multiple occasions this spring, they found a way to rally.

Keyed by an RBI single from DJ Yates, a game-tying single from Matt Hair and a go-ahead single from Ryan Johnson, Jamestown CC stormed back to come away with an important 4-3 victory.

In game two, the Tompkins Cortland CC offense came to life with an eight-run third inning and the Panthers rode that huge frame to an eventual 11-7 win to salvage a split.

Jamestown CC first baseman Matt Hair, top, attempts to make a putout as Tompkins Cortland’s Kavon Ruffin nears the bag.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

Jamestown CC first baseman Matt Hair, top, attempts to make a putout as Tompkins Cortland’s Kavon Ruffin nears the bag. P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

The latest Jayhawk rally was started when John White and Cameron Haberberger worked consecutive one-out walks. Yates followed with his run-scoring base hit to put Jamestown CC on the board and trim the deficit to 3-1.

After a another walk to pinch-hitter Bryce Sherrard, Hair ripped a single into left field and both Haberberger and Yates eventually crossed the plate to tie the score at 3-all.

Later in the frame, Johnson – a Brocton native – smashed a hot shot down the third base line to put the Jayhawks ahead for good.

“We were fighting all game long,” Jamestown CC (9-11, 9-9) head coach Matt Cummings said. “… Even though we were down in that sixth inning, there was no panic in the dugout at all. I mean we’ve fought back almost every game this year so there was no panic in our dugout. Guys just trusted the process and did what they needed to do to get on base.

“(Hair and Johnson), those are two local freshman who have come to JCC and have made the most of their opportunity,” Cummings stressed. “Hair has been red-hot as of late, especially with runners in scoring position. And that’s a very big at-bat out of Ryan Johnson, who had been struggling a little bit at the plate. And for him to come through in that situation when we needed him, again, it’s a testament to to their work ethic and how they prepare themselves in practice.”

Another Brocton native, Steve Krystofiak, came out of the bullpen in the top of the seventh inning and retired the side in order to record the save.

Chad Nelson got the start on the hill for the Jayhawks and picked up the win. He only gave up five hits, three runs (one earned) and struck out four.

“That was his first college win, congratulations to Chad,” Cummings said. “After Saturday’s game against Broome CC where he looked (somewhat) shaky, on the bus ride out to Broome on Sunday, he and I had a pretty good conversation just about what our mentality was and what our approach was on the mound. And going into today, he definitely stuck to that plan, pounded the strike zone, got ahead early in the count and really just stayed ahead of the hitters. I think that was his best outing so far as a Jayhawk.”

Jamestown CC catcher Noah Weinstein, who entered action hitting over .500 on the season, was taken out of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning following a collision at the plate with Tompkins Cortland CC’s Garret Hunter. Hunter was called out on the play.

“Obviously, our team took a big blow losing (Noah) Weinstein,” Cummings emphasized. “That definitely took a lot of wind out of our sails. We really needed to rally around the team. … When you have (one of) the region’s best hitter(s) … out of your lineup, that’s a big punch to the gut. But all of our guys, we brought everyone together before that bottom of the sixth. We all knew we weren’t going to let Noah down because he was out of that game. … The guys just never gave up.”

Haberberger and Andrew Latona contributed base hits in the game one win.

Christian Castro launched a solo home run in defeat over the left field wall for Tompkins Cortland CC.

Daniel Recinos toed the rubber to begin game two for Jamestown CC and only allowed one baserunner over the first two innings before running into trouble in the third.

The Panthers batted around and the offensive surge was highlighted by a two-run single from Chris Miccuci, an RBI double from Charlie Hammel and an run-scoring hit from Justin Perez. Alex Evans singled twice in the frame as well.

“In that third inning, they go ahead 3-0, we intentionally walk their No. 4 hitter (Castro) who had already hit a home run in game one,” Cummings explained. “So we intentionally walk that guy, the next batter we strike out to get two outs and then the remainder of that inning, with two outs, they score five more runs. … Daniel threw a great game up until that point.”

The Jayhawks battled relentlessly to chip away at the Panthers’ lead, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.

White and Latona collected two hits in the loss and Haberberger came through with an RBI single. Parker Burnette, Austin Mitchell and Krystofiak saw time in relief on the mound.

Hammel doubled and tripled for Tompkins Cortland CC.

Jamestown CC will be right back in action Thursday on the road against the same Panthers team in another important doubleheader.

“Every game on our schedule is a playoff atmosphere,” Cummings stated. “We are living and dying on every single pitch, every single half inning matters. We cannot take any plays off. We have to be ready to go because it’s going to come down to those final region games whether or not we make playoffs.”

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