MYRTLE BEACH, SC March 30, 2007 The Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals baseball team recently ended its first spring trip in school history.
SCCC posted a 3-4 record while playing some of the top JUCO schools in the nation from Monday, March 12 through Friday, March 16 at the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Coach Marra reviews
Coach Mike Marra was happy the team could take the trip in order to have some outdoor preseason practice. Marra and his players felt that it was a great experience.
“The Sullivan Generals baseball team was happy to represent SCCC at the tournament and put Sullivan County on the map,” Marra said.
Marra noted that he started organizing this trip last September.
“This trip was the most competitive price-wise, $400 per player,” he said. “The boys did fundraisers in order to raise money for them to go. They sold bricks for the [new on-campus] ball park.
“It was well worth the trip and we hope to continue having this trip every year,” Marra added.
Trip ends with a loss
The Generals concluded their trip with a disappointing 7-1 loss to St. Louis Community College on Friday, March 16.
St. Louis CC gained a split of the series as the Generals prevailed, 2-1, on Tuesday, March 13 in the first meeting between the teams.
SCCC’s Chris Gates (Loch Sheldrake/Fallsburg Central School) threw three shutout innings before surrendering back to back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning.
“All of our pitchers have eaten some humble pie this week with the caliber of hitters we’ve seen down here,” Marra said. “If you put a pitch in the middle of the plate and letter high, it’s going to go a long way.
“Our pitching staff gave up eight home runs this week,” Marra continued. “We’ve got to do a better job of hitting our spots.”
Gates helped his own cause by driving in the only Generals’ run with an RBI double in the fourth.
Mike Cook (Liberty/Liberty Central School) pitched a scoreless sixth inning for SCCC.
Team falls to national power
On Thursday, March 15, the Generals gave a valiant effort as they battled National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I power Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College.
Despite that effort, SCCC was defeated by the Marshalltown CC Tigers, 7-3.
SCCC pitchers Mike Prunka (Glen Spey/Eldred Central School) and Corey VanKeuren (Parksville/Liberty CS) kept the game close in the early going. They threw a combined four innings, giving up three runs and leaving the game tied at 3-3 heading into the fifth inning.
Gates kept the game tied as he gunned down Tigers baserunner James Lott at home plate as he was trying to tag up from third base.
“Chris threw an absolute laser to the dish to get Lott,” praised Marra.
The Tigers scored two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to put the game away.
“Mike and Corey did a solid job against a very powerful lineup,” Marra commented. “They worked around some walks and hits and limited the damage through four innings. It’s tough to keep a potent lineup like that down for long.”
Casey Pazzalia (Liberty/Liberty CS) went 1-for-2 and scored two runs for SCCC.
Generals even up record
The Generals completed the series sweep of Northern Essex (Mass.) Community College with a dramatic 5-4 win on Thursday night, March 15 at Griffith Field in Myrtle Beach.
With the win, SCCC evened its season record at 3-3.
A three-run first inning held up for the Generals as Dan Mills (Cornwall/Cornwall HS) closed out the seventh inning to record his second save of the spring.
Chris Gonzalez (Bronx/St. Raymond’s HS) led the Generals with two hits and Chris Daniels (Wappingers Falls/Roy C. Ketcham HS) had two RBIs.
“All three wins down here have been tight ballgames, which is important in terms of playing under pressure as we get ready to begin our Region XV schedule in two weeks,” Marra said. “Our defense and pitching have been excellent in our 3-1, 2-1 and 5-4 wins.”
Generals upset St. Louis CC
SCCC Generals defeated the No. 14-ranked National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II team in the nation, St. Louis Community College, 2-1, on Tuesday, March 13.
The Generals scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Robert Saltares (New York City/Cardinal Hayes High School) singled home Alex Gil (Bronx/Chelsea HS) with two outs.
The win preserved a great pitching performance by Daniels, who pitched 6 and 1/3 innings, struck out eight batters and allowed just one hit.
Mills pitched 1 and 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the win for SCCC.
Gates blasts home run in loss
After their emotional win against national power St. Louis CC, the Generals came crashing back down to Earth on Wednesday, March 14.
Owens Community College of Toledo, Ohio recorded a 16-3 victory over SCCC just 24 hours following the Generals’ big victory.
Gates was the lone bright spot in Sullivan’s loss to Owens CC. Gates hit a solo home run in the second inning and singled in the fourth to go 2-for-3 on the day.
“I’m very disappointed in our effort and execution in today’s game,” Marra said. “After the big win last night, the guys just seemed to pack it in today and I was not happy.”
However, Marra noted that he was “glad to see Gates start swinging the bat well.”
SCCC stops Essex Knights
The Generals defeated the Northern Essex (Mass.) Community College Knights, 3-1, on Monday, March 12 at the Ripken Baseball Experience.
Gonzalez pitched a solid 4 and 2/3 innings for SCCC. He struck out six and allowed just two hits to pick up his first collegiate win.
In the fifth inning, Anthony Plomitallo (Oyster Bay/St. Dominic’s HS) came in and shut down NECC by retiring all five batters he faced. Mills pitched a scoreless seventh inning to record his first save of the season.
Leading the Generals at the plate was Albert Bevacqua (Staten Island/New Dorp HS), who went 3-for-3 and scored two runs. Daniels drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.
“Our pitching was outstanding,” Marra said. “We retired the leadoff hitter in every inning and our middle and late relievers were on point.”
The Generals’ defense made some web gems throughout the game, including the game-ending 4-6-3 double play.