The No. 12 CCRI Knights baseball team hosted the Pointers of UConn-Avery Point (UCAP) for the Region XXI Baseball Championship series on Friday and Saturday. The Knights swept the Pointers 5-2 and 3-1 in a best two-of-three series to capture the Region XXI title in convincing fashion. With the two victories, the Knights improved to 31-10 on the season and 14-4 in Region XXI play.
On the mound for the Knights, Connor Gleason (North Stonington, Conn.) was masterful, as he scattered five hits and struck out 10 UCAP batters while pitching a complete game. Gleason improved to 9-1 for the season with the win.
Offensively for the Knights, Mike Sherburne (North Kingstown) led the way and was all the offense the Knights would need, as he belted a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth and added a two-run homer to left-centerfield in the bottom of the eighth to break open a close game. Sherburne’s hot bat, impressive Knights defense and the impressive pitching outing from Gleason combined to be just enough to give the Knights the 1-0 series lead.
Brendan Cabral (Scituate) pitched 7.2 innings, giving up six hits while striking out seven UCAP batters to get the victory. Kevin Dale (Warwick) came on in relief to shut the door and save the victory as the Knights.
The Knights’ offense could manage only six hits, but some timely base running and defensive errors led to three early runs to propel the team to the title. Nick Coro (North Providence) led the team with two hits and scored the third run after doubling to lead off the third inning. Coro scored on John Razzino’s (Cranston) RBI single, and the team had all the runs it would need. Solid pitching and a great defensive effort by shortstop Marc Dorsi (West Haven, Conn.) secured the victory and Region championship for the Knights.
The Knights will now host the Eastern District Championships this weekend at Fell Field in Warwick. The Knights will face two very strong teams: the Region III champion Saints of Mercyhurst North East, Penn., and the Region XV champion Vikings of Westchester Community College from Valhalla, N.Y. for the right to advance to the NJCAA Division II Baseball World Series in Enid, Okla. from May 26-June 2.
The district championship begins Saturday with CCRI playing Westchester at 11 a.m. Westchester plays Mercyhurst at 1 p.m. and CCRU plays Mercyhurst at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, there will be an 11 a.m. game and, if necessary, a 2 p.m. game.
Allen adds two more All-American honors
The CCRI track & field team traveled to Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y. to compete in the Division III Track & Field National Championships over the weekend, and once again Cranston’s Bobby Allen became a National Champion while setting another meet record and adding two more All-American honors to his resume. In addition, CCRI head track & field coach Gregg Cornell was awarded the coaches association Coach of the Year on the men’s side for his 14 years of attending the Division NJCAA III Track & Field Nationals and 19 years of attending the NJCAA Division III Cross Country Nationals.
As a team the Knights men finished 14th out of 20 teams with 21 total points with the meet winner being Harper College with 132 points.
Allen won the 1,500-meter run with a national meet record of 3:55.99 seconds. Allen was pushed by Younes Benzaid of Queensborough Community College over the first 1,000 meters of the race, but Allen surged ahead with 500m to go, and Benzaid had no answer for Allen’s finishing kick.
Allen then came back an hour and a half later to place second in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:32.16. Allen was out-paced by Pablo Ramirez, who came into the race as the clear favorite, running a 14.47.34 qualifying time (the national meet record was 15:10.92). Ramirez took the race in a national meet record time of 15:04.42. Allen earned First Team All-American honors for the 1,500-meter run and Second Team All-American honors for the 5,000-meter run.
Allen was also a part of the men’s 4x800m relay team, which placed 10th in a time of 8:43.87. The other members were Marciano Brunette, Isaiah Hector (Warwick) and Robert Brothers (Cranston).
In his freshman campaign, Allen has now compiled four National Championships: one in cross country, two in indoor track (mile and 3,000) and one in track & field (1,500). He has set two national records: cross country nationals in 25:23.46, and 3.55.99 in the 1,500 run in track & field. In addition, he has amassed five All-American honors: four First Team – one for cross country, two for indoor track and one for track & field – and one Second Team honor in track & field. With that excellence, Allen has authored the best season ever for a CCRI runner.
For the Lady Knights, Cassandra Gustafson (Pawtucket) placed third in the javelin with a throw of 32.15 meters. Gustafson threw her best throw in the finals and was only .57 meters out of first. Gustafson earned honorable mention All-American honors for her third place performance.
Lady Knights fall twice in Districts to end season
The CCRI Lady Knights softball team hosted the District I tournament this weekend at Winslow Park in Apponaug. The Lady Knights hosted the Colts of Orange County community College from Middletown, N.Y. and the Saints of Mercyhurst North East from North East, Penn. CCRI lost two very close games, first to Orange County 7-6 and then to Mercyhurst 4-3 in eight innings on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Mercyhurst beat Orange 3-1. On Sunday Orange exacted revenge in the first game of the day with a 3-0 win. In the deciding game, Orange jumped ahead 5-0 in the first inning only to have Mercyhurst battle back to score 11 unanswered runs to win the championship and advance to the Division II women’s softball Nationals in Clinton, Miss. May 17-19.
The Lady Knights took a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Colts answered with three runs to take a 7-6 lead. CCRI went down 1-2-3 on the seventh to take the loss.
On the mound for the Lady Knights, Michelle Sylvestre (Warwick) took the loss, throwing six innings allowing seven runs – six earned – on 13 hits with a walk and a strikeout. With the loss, Sylvestre ended the season with a 9-2 pitching record.
At the plate for CCRI, captain Devin Azulay (Attleboro, Mass.) led the way with three hits, a double and two singles with a run scored and an RBI, followed by Sarah Siconio (Warwick) with two hits. Captain Ashley Olson (Coventry) added a hit and two runs scored, while Leslie Peralta (Providence), Izzy MarcAurele (Cranston) and Sylvestre each added a hit.
The Lady Knights had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning before Mercyhurst tied the game. Both teams went scoreless in the seventh, setting up the international tiebreaker (a runner starts at second base). The Lady Knights failed to get a run across the plate, and the Tyler Honard from Mercyhurst made them pay with a single down the right field line that scored the winning run.
On the mound for the Lady Knights, Azulay ended her record-setting career for CCRI with an excellent performance, but took the loss. She pitched seven-plus strong innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits, walking three while striking out six. The six strikeouts bring her career strikeout record to 206.
At the plate for CCRI, MarcAurele led the way with two hits and two runs scored, followed by Siconio, who also added two hits. Also helping the Lady Knights was Sylvestre with a hit, an RBI and a run scored, Kate Carroll (Coventry) with a hit and an RBI, while Nissa Perez (Warwick), Kayla Matarese (Cranston), and Kate Fowler (Warwick) each added a hit apiece.
CCRI golf battles elements at New England CC
The CCRI golf team traveled to Dean’s home site at New England Country Club in Bellingham, Mass. The Knights were the only full team to show up for the competition in cold and freezing rain. Dean College played three members of their team, thus not considered a match.
The individual scores for the CCRI players were an 85 for Anthony Lovechio (South Kingstown), an 87 for Gregg North (Jamestown), a 90 for Chris Lussier (Cranston), a 91 for Eric O’Rourke (Bradford), a 100 for Chris Fraser (Warwick) and a 106 for Gina Gotauco (Jamestown).
The next match for CCRI will be the Region XXI Tournament in Chicopee, Mass. on May 15-16.