HCCC sending teams to national baseball, softball tournaments (2024)

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Softball Baseball

CLINTON - The baseball and softball teams from Herkimer College battled back to win regional championships over the weekend after both put themselves in position to play from behind in the championship round.

The softball Generals, top overall seeds in Region III and No. 1 in Region III-A in the split playoff format, were beaten by Jefferson Community College in Game 1 of a best-of-three championship series at Hamilton College. Herkimer came back to win Thursday's second game and force a decisive third game the next day. The Generals erased a four-run deficit with an eight-run inning Friday and claimed the program's 12th consecutive title with a 15-12 victory.

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More:Herkimer College baseball, softball win regional playoff games

The baseball Generals won their first game at Auburn's Falcon Park Thursday but lost the winner's bracket semifinal in Friday's first game, necessitating a win in an elimination game later in the day, and two more against Genesee Community College Saturday. Herkimer scored 21 runs in the two Saturday games against the team that had shut out the Generals one day earlier.

The regional titles advance the teams to their respective NJCAA championship tournaments. The softball team departed for Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sunday with play starting Wednesday for eight teams. The national baseball tournament will be played in Auburn for the first time and starts Saturday.

Herkimer won national championships in softball in 2013 and in baseball as a wild card in 2022.

Softball

Coming back from a loss in the first game of Friday's doubleheader, the Generals played from behind again to win the deciding game of the regional championship series.

Jefferson led 3-0 after the first half inning and 4-3 in the middle of the third before scoring four runs in the top of the fourth and going up 8-4. Herkimer pitcher Shelbi Hagues shut the Cannoneers out in the fifth and the Generals scored eight times in the bottom of that inning to take the lead for the first time on their way to a 15-12 victory at Hamilton College.

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Herkimer tacked on three runs in the sixth which proved important when Jefferson scored four in its last time at bat in the top of the seventh.

Hagues, a freshman from Poland, pitched the two Herkimer victories in the series and received the tournament's most vluable player award. She relieved Kerrigan Crysler in the fourth inning Saturday and did not allow a run until Kiannah Ward homered in the seventh. She started the deciding game in left field and contributed a hit, a walk and two runs scored.

"I know my team has my back," said Hagues, the pitcher and leadoff hitter for Poland's Section III championship team and state high school semifinalist last spring. "They always make the plays behind me.

Herkimer leadoff hitter Alexys Rosick, a tournament all-star, went four-for-four with a walk, scored twice and drove in three runs. Fellow all-star Olivia Friend, a sophom*ore shortstop from Oriskany, had three hits and four RBI; catcher Kelsey Richardson score two runs and drove in two; and Jazelle Rivera scored twice.

Rosick went nine-for-10 with three walks, seven runs and six RBI in the three-game series.

The win sends Herkimer to the eight-team national tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee; the Generals had hosted in Syracuse the last three years.

"Last year, we just wanted to make it to nationals," said Friend whose father, Louis Friend was hired ahead of the 2023 season as PJ Anadio's coaching replacement. "It's the same thing this year, but it's been a little bit of a different ride."

Seeded seventh for nationals, Herkimer's first game is Wednesday afternoon against No. 2 Patrick and Henry Community College from Virginia. Corning Community College, the Region III-B champion and national runner-up each of the last three years at Carrier Park in Syracuse, is seeded third and plays Wednesday against the Community College of Rhode Island. Should they win their first games, Herkimer and Corning would meet later in the day Wednesday; they did not play each other during the regular season in Region III.

The national champion will be crowned Saturday.

Baseball

Forced to play their way back from the losers bracket after they were shut out 4-0 by Genesee Community College in Friday's semifinal, Herkimer's Generals defeated three-time defending champion Niagara County Community College Friday and beat Genesee twice Saturday to win their first Region III title with Lane Potter as head coach and seventh in the last 18 chances.

Herkimer won 12-3 in Saturday's first game, then 9-6 in the winner-takes-all final.

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Jordan Goble pitched a nine-inning complete game in the Saturday opener with eight strikeouts and no walks; he held Genesee scoreless until the eighth inning when Herkimer led 12-0. David Bernard drove in three runs, Ethan Glossa scored three, and Glossa and Donovan Rhoden each had three of the 16 Herkimer hits.

Colin Skermont, the winning pitcher in Herkimer's Final Four opener against Erie Community College, returned to the mound to close out the championship game, recording the final three outs on eight pitches.

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Herkimer led 3-0 and starting pitcher David Denton had a shutout into the sixth inning. Genesee scored one run in the sixth then took a lead with five in the seventh. Herkimer took advantage of two Genesee errors and scored five runs of its own in the eighth inning before handing the ball to Skermont after former Whitesboro High School teammate Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless eighth and earned the victory.

Bernard, the tournament's most valuable player, had four hits, including a triple, driving in two runs and scoring two. Emilio Portes added three hits; Rodriguez scored two runs; and Jaden Madrid, Glossa and Rhoden each had two hits.

The tournment win sends Herkimer back to Auburn where the Generals are seeded fifth and will meet Virginia's Paul D. Camp Community College in their first game Saturday. The No. 1 seed is Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester, the 2023 national champion.

The 2024 champion will be crowned May 29.

HCCC sending teams to national baseball, softball tournaments (2024)
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