Pena’s Drive Helps Jamestown CC Split Doubleheader
After not putting together much offense over the first 13 innings of Sunday afternoon’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III doubleheader against Erie Community College, Jamestown CC’s offense came to life late.
It helped that they received a gift from the baseball gods.
The Jayhawks were the recipient of a fortunate bounce in the bottom of the seventh inning and one inning later Jose Pena drove in the winning run with a drive that one-hopped the fence in deep left field as Jamestown CC gained a split with a 4-3 win in Game 2 at Diethrick Park.
“Anytime you can come back after getting beat up pretty bad in Game 1 and being down early in Game 2 … these guys just never gave up,” Jamestown CC coach Matt Cummings said. “They just kept on playing and really played team baseball in Game 2. That’s why we were successful.”
Trailing by a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Andrew Latona grounded into what would’ve been the final out of the game, but the ball bounced off the field umpire’s foot resulting in a dead ball with runners at first and second for the Jayhawks.
“That was a pretty wild play. Baseball’s a pretty amazing game, a game of inches,” Cummings said. “If that’s 6 inches to the left, it’s a different story. Thankfully, it found a shoe there.”
Cameron Haberberger followed with an RBI single to center field as Steve Krystofiak beat the Kats’ throw to the plate.
“That’s how the game goes sometimes,” a disappointed Erie CC coach Joe Bauth said after the game.
John White, who eventually earned the win with eight masterful innings, retired Erie CC in order in the top of the eighth inning setting up the Jayhawks’ walk-off win.
“That was definitely Johnny White’s best performance on the mound for his collegiate career. He just came out here and was a bulldog,” Cummings said. “The effort that he was putting out, the guys in the dugout knew that they had to match that.”
DJ Yates led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single to center field. Kobe DeJesus followed with a sacrifice bunt, but the Kats’ throw attempting to retire Yates heading to second went into center field leaving runners at first and second with no outs. Krystofiak followed with a single to center field, but Yates was tagged out at the plate after getting hung up between third and home.
After taking a ball to start off his decisive at-bat, Pena drove the next pitch he saw to the base of the fence in left field allowing pinch-runner Nelson Rivera to trot home with the winning run, and setting off a wild celebration on the infield.
“You could just tell the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders with one swing,” Cummings said. “He’d been swinging a good bat in practice and playing really well for us. You could tell he was just missing. He finally connected. It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”
Erie CC’s Austin Wheeler doubled and scored on Felix Garcia’s RBI single to open the scoring in the top of the second inning, but the Jayhawks answered right back as DeJesus walked and scored all the way from first on Bryce Sherrard’s double to right field in the bottom half of the frame.
“It’s huge especially for a kid like Sherrard, who didn’t see a lot of time last year as a freshman, he’s put the work in during the offseason and he’s gained a lot more confidence,” Cummings said. “The bottom half of our lineup really produced for us. That was a complete team victory in all three phases.”
Two Kats scored on a Jayhawks’ error in the bottom of the fourth inning before Jamestown CC battled back to tie the game in its half of the seventh.
Erie CC scored five runs in the first inning of Game 1 to win going away, 8-0.
Weinstein singled in the third inning for the Jayhawks’ lone hit off Kats starter Nate Morris, who threw a complete game, striking out eight.
Eric Marriott reached on an error to open the game and then stole second before Alex Lopez singled. Mike Cecchetto then reached on an error allowing two runs to score before Marcus Johnston hit a two-run home run to give the Kats a 4-0 lead after just five batters. Gould then singled, stole second and came around to score on Darin Geska’s RBI single to center field.
“That’s a very big hole to dig yourselves into, even with a lot of game left,” Cummings said. “After that first inning we kind of settled in and made it a much closer ballgame after that.”
Jamestown CC starter Chad Nelson settled down after the first inning, allowing just two more runs over the next three innings. The sophomore from Jamestown finished with nine strikeouts while walking just one Kats batter. Daniel Recinos finished on the hill for the Jayhawks, allowing a sixth-inning home run to Geksa.
“Our pitching staff as a hole threw great,” Cummings said of Nelson, Recinos and White. “Our offense was definitely lacking in Game 1. We cannot give our pitchers the offensive support that they need.”
Erie CC 511 001 0 — 8 9 0
Jamestown CC 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Morris and Koziol. Nelson, Recinos (5) and Weinstein. SO — Morris 8, Nelson 9, Recinos 5. BB — Morris 4, Nelson 1, Recinos 1. 2B — Marriott (ECC). HR — Johnston (ECC), Geska (ECC).
Erie CC 010 200 00 — 3 8 3
Jamestown CC 010 000 21 — 4 7 2
Bowser, Gould (7) and Buccholz. White and Weinstein. SO — Bowser 5, Gould 1, White 3. BB — Bowser 1, White 3. 2B — Wheeler (ECC), Sherrard (JCC).