The CCRI baseball team’s historic season came to an abrupt end at the NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Okla., this past weekend. The Knights, who were making their first World Series appearance since 1996, lost their opener 7-2 on Saturday before getting eliminated on Sunday with an 11-5 loss to Catawba Valley Community College.
In Saturday’s opener, the seventh-ranked Knights took on No. 5 Madison College (Wisc.), and couldn’t get their bats going in the 7-2 loss. Conor Gleason (North Stonington, Conn.) got the start on the mound and worked six strong innings, allowing three runs while striking out four. Madison broke through in the seventh with four runs, and the Knights could never get themselves into the game.
Mo Checo (Providence) had two hits and an RBI while Tyler Santaniello (Lincoln) also added two hits. Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) had the other RBI for the Knights, while Dylan Gracia (Middletown) added a hit, a walk, a run scored and a stole base. John Razzino (Cranston) also had a hit and a run scored.
Needing a win on Sunday to stay alive, the Knights faced No. 9 Catawba Valley from Salisbury, N.C., and came out on the short end of an 11-5 decision in a back-and-forth game.
Catawba Valley jumped out to a 1-0 lead before the Knights tied the game when Mike Sherburne (North Kingstown) doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice from Nick Coro (North Providence). CCRI then took its first lead in the fourth when Razzino scored on a sacrifice fly by Gracia. Andrew Crowley (Canton, Conn.) came around late in the inning to make it 3-1.
Catawba Valley tied the game in the sixth, but the Knights again answered. Jamale Horn (Hoover, Ala.) doubled and scored on a single by Santaniello. Coro followed with an RBI double to put the Knights ahead 5-3.
Unfortunately, the game got away from the Knights in the bottom half of the seventh. The Buccaneers batted around and scored eight runs, capped off by a grand slam from Brett Huffman. When the dust settled, Catawba Valley led 11-5, and the Knights never got closer.
On the mound, Brendan Cabral (Scituate)went six strong innings before hitting the trouble in the seventh. Max Perry (Pawtucket) allowed one run in relief, while Cris Peralta (Providence) gave up two. Kevin Dale (Warwick) pitched one scoreless frame.
Offensively for the Knights, Horn had two hits with a run scored, Coro had a double and two RBI and Santaniello had two hits, an RBI and a run scored.