CCBC Essex baseball halts Dundalk winning streak
When CCBC Essex hosted CCBC Dundalk on Thursday, the Knights had the better record while the Lions were arguably the hotter team.
Dundalk was 9-10 to Essex’s 8-6, but the Lions entered the game with a six-game winning streak and seven wins in their last nine games.
Behind a complete game five-hitter from Rocco Iervasi, the Knights cooled off the Lions with a 3-1 win.
With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tom Harper led off with a double to center field and Nick Grimaldi (Perry Hall) drew a walk.
One out later, Kyle Gerdts singled to left, scoring Harper with the eventual winning run.
Essex added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Ben Murray singled with one out, stole second, went to third on a single by Hunter Weaver and scored on a balk.
“Any time you see a team playing well, winning a bunch of games in a row, you know they’re coming in ready to lay,” Essex coach Michael Carter said. “Rocco did a very nice job, and helped save our bullpen.
“That was our second complete game this week. It’s a credit to our pitching coach, Eric Ryan.” Iervasi struck out eight and walked two. He had a perfect game through five innings, retiring the first 15 batters before Dundalk’s Darien Williams led off the sixth inning with a double to left-center.
Iervasi got the next two batters, but a two-out single to Tyler Foslett scored Williams to tie the game at 1-1.
“There could have been a little shift in momentum, but we talk a lot about not letting the game get out of control,” Carter said. “The other team will score runs.”
Another single gave Dundalk runners on first and second, but Iervasi got out of the inning with a flight to deep center.
The Lions had two more singles in the seventh inning, but Iervasi struck out two batters and got another flyout to end the inning.
Essex had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Grimaldi led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Anthony DiAmario’s sacrifice fly.
Iervasi tired a bit in the ninth, walking two batters, but ended the game with a strikeout and two infield grounders.
“We’re jelling together. This is a fun group,” Carter said. “We can win games in different ways, with pitching, defense and hitting.
“I think the guys are starting to believe in themselves. When the playoffs start, we might be able to extend our season a little bit.”
After beating Dundalk, Essex (12-7) extended its own winning streak to five games by sweeping a doubleheader at Delaware County Community College on Friday, 19-0 and 11-5, then beat Finger Lakes (NY) Community College in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, 6-5, before losing the second game 7-1.
CCBC Essex shortstop Ben Murray fields a ground ball during the 3-1 win over CCBC Dundalk on Thursday.