By Rob Potter
POUGHKEEPSIE May 4, 2007 Thanks to a ninth-inning rally on Tuesday afternoon the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) baseball team will continue its season today and tomorrow.
The Generals faced a 6-3 deficit when they began batting in the top of the ninth inning of Tuesday’s Region XV quarterfinal playoff game versus the Dutchess Community College Falcons at Richard L. Skimin Memorial Field in Poughkeepsie.
But Sullivan (16-18) scored four runs to take a 7-6 lead. SCCC pitcher Dan Mills then sealed the win for his team by holding the Falcons scoreless in the bottom of the ninth.
Dutchess CC put two runners on against Mills with one out, but Mills recorded a strikeout to bring his team closer to a dramatic victory.
The next batter hit a fly ball to center fielder Chris Gonzalez, who settled under the ball and and happily clutched it in his glove.
SCCC pitcher Chris Daniels, who recorded 11 strikeouts in eight innings of work to pick up the win, began the Generals’ rally in the ninth. He led off the frame by hitting a home run over the left field fence to pull SCCC within two runs at 6-4.
Mark Roarty then was hit by a pitch and Alexander Gil followed with single to put two runners on base with no outs.
Chris Gates then ripped a double to deep right center field to bring in both Roarty and Gil and tie the game at 6-6.
After Falcon starting pitcher Andrew Salvatore left the game for a reliever, SCCC’s Albert Bevacqua hit a single to center to score Gates with what would become the game-winning run.
With the win, SCCC advanced to this weekend’s Region XV championship tournament at Rockland Community College in Suffern. The Generals open the tourney at 4 p.m. today by facing top-seeded Rockland CC.
SCCC Athletic Director Chris DePew, who was one of the fans cheering on the Generals, noted that the team had “a great, great comeback.”
SCCC Coach Mike Marra agreed, especially since his team had to battle back from an early deficit when the Falcons scored three runs in the bottom of the first keyed by a three-run home run by Tom DiFilippo.
“It was a great team effort,” Marra said. “We were down early, but these players didn’t give up. They showed a lot of heart.”
The coach noted that Gates and Bevacqua had key hits. Marra also praised Daniels for the rally-starting homer and his great job on the mound.
“Chris gutted it out, he’s a competitor,” Marra said of Daniels’ eight innings of work.
“Both teams played well today,” Dutchess CC Coach Steve Greuller said. “Sullivan got some hits went they needed to. Both teams played with class and a lot of heart.”
Marra said he was very happy to reach the Region XV tourney and his team’s overall season. He is also pleased that the Generals enter this weekend’s tourney on a six-game winning streak.
“We set a program record with 16 wins this year and one of our preseason goals was to reach the [Region XV] final four,” Marra said with a smile.