Panthers Baseball Season Ends in NJCAA Region III Playoffs

Chris Micucci
Chris Micucci

The most successful season in the history of Tompkins Cortland Community College baseball came to an end Saturday as the Panthers lost its opening round series in the NJCAA Region III playoffs. The Panthers, the #3 team in the West Division, traveled to Amsterdam, New York to take on the #2 team from the East Division, Hudson Valley Community College, and got swept 11-5 and 15-7 to lose the series to the Vikings. Tompkins Cortland's season ends with a record of 22-16; Hudson Valley advances to the Region III Championship tournament next weekend with a record of 24-12.

Game 1: Hudson Valley 11, Tompkins Cortland 5

The Panthers got on the board first in both games. With two out in the second inning of the opener, Austin Rourke (Jacksonville, Fla./Terry Parker H.S.) singled, stole second, and came in to score when Jacob Mosher (Pulaski/Pulaski H.S.) hit a ball that found its way to the outfield. The lead didn't last long as Hudson Valley broke through with six runs in the bottom of the second, and then single runs in the third and fourth.

Trailing 8-1 going into the sixth inning, the Panthers rallied with consecutive hits by Chris Micucci (Auburn/Auburn H.S.), Alex Babcock (Cortland/Cortland H.S.), Charlie Hammel (Rochester/Rush-Henrietta H.S.), and Garret Hunter (Virginia Beach, Va./Cox H.S.) sparking a three-run inning that brought the score to 8-4. An inning later, Daniel Santiago (Newburgh/Newburgh Academy) led things off with a solo home run, making it 8-5. Despite putting runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings, the Panthers could score no more, and when the Vikings scored two in the seventh and another in the eighth, the final was 11-5.

Micucci led a 14-hit attack for the Panthers by going 4-for-5. Hammel finished game one 3-for-4 while Babcock, Hunter, and Santiago each had two hits. Starting pitcher Jake Woods (Cortland/Cortland H.S.) took the loss, allowing eight runs over his six innings of work.

Game 2: Hudson Valley 15, Tompkins Cortland 7

The start of game two was even better for the Panthers. Tompkins Cortland scored four runs in the first inning, with Storm Grant (Homer/Homer H.S.) providing the big blow with a three-run homer. Hudson Valley chipped away with single runs in the first and third innings, and then moved ahead with three runs in the fourth. Like they did in the first game, the Vikings used a big inning to blow the game open, this time scoring seven times in the fifth inning to move ahead 12-4. The Panthers tried to respond with three runs in the sixth, but could get now closer that 12-7 the rest of the way as Hudson Valley tacked on runs in the sixth and seventh, and then ended the game due to the run rule in the either inning.

Rourke went 3-for-4 at the plate to pace the Panthers. Micucci, Hunter, and Grant each had two hits for Tompkins Cortland. Ridge Walker (Moravia/Moravia H.S.) took the loss on the mound.