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Knights’ baseball national title hopes dashed

Monday, May 28, 2012


Sure, they got there. But that doesn't make the losing any easier to take.

Over the weekend at the Division II National Junior College World Series in Enid, OK, CCRI's Knights fell twice and were eliminated from the chase for a national championship.  Game One Saturday afternoon saw the nationally 7th-ranked Knights battle 5th ranked Madison College (Madison, WI) to a 1-1 tie heading into the 6th inning, and fall short 7-2.

In an elimination game Sunday against Catawba Valley (Salisbury, NC), again the Knights found themselves with a lead after seven innings...only to end up with an 11-5 defeat, eliminating CCRI from the tournament.

"Tough loss to North Carolina after leading for seven innings," head coach Ken Hopkins said via Facebook.  "I am very proud of my team. New England Champions; Eastern Regional Champions; 30+ wins; and a trip to the World Series in Oklahoma.

"These memories will be with me for the rest of my life."

Tyler Santaniello and Mauricio Checo led CCRI with two hits each in the first game against Madison, while Conor Gleason pitched well in defeat...scattering six hits over six innings.  Five walks, however, created trouble.  In the second game against Catawba, Santaniello again had two hits along with Tom Gavitt and Jamele Horn to lead the offense, but Brendan Cabral ended up the hard-luck loser on the mound.  With a 5-3 CCRI lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Catawba scored eight runs in their half of the seventh to put the game out of reach.

CCRI ends the 2012 season with a 33-13 record overall, in their first Junior College World Series appearance since 1996.  Overall, the 2011-12 academic year was one to remember for the Knights' program, with both men's basketball and baseball competing for national junior college titles.  The basketball team dropped the Division II national championship game to Mott CC (IL) in March.


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