Knights Finish Third at NJCAA World Series
Greeneville, TN (May 31, 2023) – The Northern Essex Community College baseball team hung on for a one-run victory in the semi-final round of the NJCAA World Series on Wednesday (5/31) afternoon before falling to Dallas-Eastfield with a spot in the championship round on the line. The Knights finished the season at 38-8 and third in the final World Series standings. The finish marks the Knights’ third top-three finish in World Series, to go along with top-three finishes in 2012 and 2016.
In the opening game Wednesday, Relfin Jimenez (Lawrence) made the start and went 5 2/3 innings to pick up his second win of the season. He allowed five runs on nine hits while striking out one and walking three. Erik Whitehead (North Andover), Riley Stys (Lowell), and Jagger Iovinelli (Huntington Beach, CA) pitched the next two innings allowing three runs and setting up the stage for Jairo Vazquez (Lawrence) to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings striking out three to pick up his first save of the season.
The Knights took down Niagara by a 9-8 final and did all their damage in the second and third innings.
In the second inning, trailing 2-0, NECC put up five runs to build a lead they would never give up. Lucas Berube (Dighton) and Kevin Rodriguez (Manchester, NH) started the inning off by getting hit by a pitch and a walk. Domenic Crocenzi (Providence, RI) followed with a double that scored Berube. Rodriguez scored one batter on a sacrifice fly from Joe Settle (Melbourne, FL). Kam Levesque (Hooksett, NH) reached on an error that scored Crocenzi. Levesque scored on a sac fly Richard Matos (Boston).
In the third, NECC put up four more. Crocenzi reached on a one-out walk and scored on a sacrifice fly from Jomar Moreta (Lynn). Leading 6-2, with two outs in the bottom of the inning, Anthony Marcano (Boston) hit what wound up to be the game-winning home run as he hit a three-run bomb over the 30-foot scoreboard in left center.
The Thunderwolves clawed their way back over the next five innings before Vazquez shut the door to send the Knights onto Dallas-Eastfield.
Against Eastfield, the Knights’ pitching staff was limited by playing their fifth game in four days that allowed the Harvester Bees to jump out to an early lead, while the Knights were limited to four hits in the final game falling 12-1. Moreta, Matos, Marcano, and Luis Colon (Lawrence) recorded the hits for the Knights.
At the conclusion of the NJCAA World Series, sophomores Jairo Vazquez (Lawrence) and Anthony Marcano (Boston) were both recognized on Thursday (6/1) evening with tournament honors.
Vazquez was named the Pitcher of the Tournament, while Marcano was named to the All-Tournament Team.
By Dan Blair, NECC Director of Athletics