BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD (May 25, 2018) – CCBC Essex Knights baseball is heading to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series for the first time since 1992, after capturing its second NJCAA Region XX Division II title in three years and its first district championship in team history.
The 10-team, double elimination tournament will be held in Enid, Okla. May 26-June 2 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark. The Knights are the No. 10 seed and face No. 7 Scottsdale Community College (Arizona) on Saturday at 11 a.m. (EST).
The Knights (29-24) swept through the regional tournament, May 11-13 hosted by CCBC Catonsville, defeating CCBC Catonsville (5-4), Garrett College (4-3) and then No. 20 ranked Frederick Community College (16-7). Mitch Fyffe went 3-for-6 with three RBIs and three runs scored in the nine-run victory. James Husar was 3-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs and reliever Rolando Heredia-Bustos pitched two and two thirds innings to pick up his second win of the tournament.
In game one of the best-of-three NJCAA Northeast District Championship (May 19) against Mercer County Community College, the Knights picked up another one-run victory, this time 5-4 in 13 innings. Chase Ritter scored in the top of the 13th and Heredia-Bustos earned the win on the mound after going five innings in relief.
On May 20, the Knights finished off the Vikings with an 11-10 win to earn a trip to the national championship tournament. After Mercer tied it in the top of the ninth, Tracey again delivered the game-winner, this time a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Sandy Paulino. Tracey finished the district round going 3-for-9 with two RBIs and a double. Nelson Laviosa also saw his swing return against Mercer, after slumping in the regional tournament. He batted .444 with an RBI and a double in the two-game sweep.
"I think it's a good feeling," said Head Coach Mike Carter. "The [student athletes] know it too. To make a bit of history by returning after 26 years is exciting. I hear our guys talking about it and they take a lot of pride in being the team that's made it back."
CCBC Essex last won the NJCAA Region XX Division II Tournament in 2016 and they have now made the final four semifinals in five straight seasons. The 2018 regional title is their fifth in team history.
The last time the Knights played in the World Series was in 1992, when they won their only national championship. That team was led by Head Coach George Henderson, who is a CCBC Athletics Hall of Fame member and owns a 443-298 (.598) career record at CCBC Essex.
Carter is in his eighth season at the helm of the Knights after spending one season (2010) as pitching coach. This is his third trip to the World Series, having made it previously as a student-athlete (1997) and pitching coach (2006) at Allegany College of Maryland.
Carter is the only member of the 21 student athletes and three assistant coaches that was born when they won their last World Series. He was 15-years-old.
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