May 19, 2018
Haverhill, MA (May 19th 2018) - The Northern Essex Community College baseball team scored five runs in the eighth inning as they rallied for an improbable 7-5 victory over visiting Suffolk County Community College this morning inside Trinity Stadium. Over 150 people witnessed the Knights clinch not only a District F Super Regional Series win but also a berth in the NJCAA World Series held in Greenville, Tennessee.
Trailing 5-2 entering the 8th inning, the Knights (26-14 overall) capitalized on a few miscues from the Sharks. Freshman Alexander Almonte (Lawrence, Mass.) reached first base on a dropped line drive by the Suffolk County shortstop and then classmate Riley Magee (Windham, N.H.) worked a walk. That would be the end of the day for SCCC's starter, Ryan Steffens, as the call to the bullpen was made and right-hander Michael Bovenzi entered the contest. Freshman Kyle Hawes (Lynnfield, Mass.) was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for fellow freshman Leo Romero (Lawrence, Mass.). Romero hit a ground ball to the third baseman and the throw home was wide which allowed Almonte to cross the plate and get the momentum going in favor of the Knights. Freshman Spencer Balian (Lynnfield, Mass.) brought home a run to make it 5-4 after he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. With one out, the big hit of the inning came off the bat of sophomore Nolan Steevens (Wilton, N.H.) as his high chopper up the middle bounced up and over the second base bag which allowed Romero and Balian to score and give NECC the lead. Freshman Sebastian Pereyra (Lawrence, Mass.) then lifted a sacrifice fly to add an insurance run to make it a 7-5 ballgame.
In the home half of the 8th inning, the Sharks started to mount a rally as they had runners on first and second with two outs. Sophomore Corey Imbriano (Wakefield, Mass.) then came in out of the bullpen to get a ground ball and keep the game locked with a two-run lead. Imbriano would then strike out the final hitter in the ninth to send the Knights to the World Series.
Suffolk County's Steffens pitched brilliantly over his 7+ innings of work. The tall right-hander allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out 10 and issuing three walks over his 132 pitch effort. Bovenzi was tagged with the loss as he surrendered three runs, two earned, on two hits with two strikeouts over his two innings of work.
Sophomore Devin Carvalho (North Andover, Mass.) was credited with the win for Northern Essex as he pitched 1.1 innings in relief of hitless baseball. Imbriano recorded his first save of the season with his 1.1 innings of hitless work. Sophomore Jake Berresi (Wakefield, Mass.) was the starter for the Knights as he pitched effectively over 3.1 innings allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits. Freshman Michael Goodin (Dracut, Mass.) spun three innings of ball giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits with a strikeout.
Offensively, the Knights were led by Pereyra who went 1-for-3 with three RBI. His two-RBI base knock in the third initially gave NECC the 2-1 advantage until the fourth. Steevens finished the day going 1-for-3 with two RBI as seven different Knights recorded hits in the game.
Robert Rodriguez and Jeffrey Towle each collected two hits in the loss for Suffolk County.
Northern Essex will await to find out who their next opponent is when the seedings for the NJCAA Division III World Series is announced next week. The World Series is being held at Pioneer Park in Greenville, Tennessee with all games televised via the NJCAA website. Links will be provided on the NECC Athletics (athletics.necc.mass.edu) website as well.