Nanticoke, P.A. - The Camden County College Cougars baseball team swept the Luzerne Community College Trailblazers in a doubleheader this past Sunday to clinch a Region XIX playoff spot. The Cougars won 4 out of their 5 Region XIX games this weekend taking 2 out of 3 games from the Brookdale Jersey Blues in the Garden State Athletic Series on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, game one of the GSAC series against the Jersey Blues, the Cougars had a back and forth battle. Sophomore outfielder, Hunter Brelsford, went 2-4 with a triple, a home run, 4 runs batted in and 3 runs scored. The Cougars ultimately wound up coming just short losing game 1 by a score of 10-12.
On Saturday in game two, The Cougars took held a 4-3 lead going into the top of the 7th inning. Sophomore starting pitcher, Pete Berenato, threw 6 strong innings for the Cougars allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits. The Jersey Blues wound up tying the game up 4-4 in the 7th after a leadoff double. Freshman relief pitcher, John Archer, came in and shut the Jersey Blues down as the Cougars went to extra innings. In the bottom of the 9th inning freshman outfielder, Robin Santos, led off the inning with a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt, Santos advanced to 2nd base. Santos then proceeded to steal third base with sophomore outfielder, Hunter Brelsford at the plate. Brelsford hit a deep fly ball to right field as Santos tug up and scored on the play at plate to give the Cougars a walk off 5-4 victory in extra innings.
In the series finale on Saturday freshman pitcher, Chris Garwood, threw a complete game allowing 3 runs on 7 hits. The Cougars trailed the Jersey Blues 3-1 going into the bottom of the 6th inning. As the Cougars threatened with runners on 1st and 2nd with one out, freshman infielder, Dante Serchia, laid down a great bunt for a base hit to make the bases loaded. Freshman infielder, Caleb Rosario, then laid down a bunt in his at bat with a bases loaded suicide squeeze. The Jersey Blues tried to make a play at the plate but had no luck making the score 3-2. Next batter, freshman infielder Ryan Swift, hit a hard groundball up in the middle which lead to a Jersey Blues error making the scored tied 3-3. Sophomore outfielder, Matthew Jefferson, then came up with a base hit to knock in 2 more Cougar runs making the score 5-3. The score would hold up 5-3 as the Cougars went on to take the series from Jersey Blues.
On Sunday, the Cougars offense exploded against Luzerne as they won game one by a score of 14-2. Game two the bats stayed hot as they defeated the TrailBlazer, 19-8. Coach Merkh had this to say about the weekend. "Couldn't be more proud of these guys. Took a tough loss on Friday against Brookdale, really swung the bats well just didn't have some things go our way, that's baseball. These guys responded back with some grit and toughness on Saturday and scrapped out two wins against a great program. After that, it wasn't too hard to get the guys excited for the Sunday double header. The players knew they could clinch and they went out there a took care of business early. Obviously we are excited that we clinched a playoff spot this early, but this is just the beginning. We've had the standard of being a regular in the playoffs, our goal now is to get to get back to the the region final four."
The Cougars currently sit at 24-13 on the season. This now makes its 15 straight seasons that the Camden County College Cougars baseball program has qualified for the Region XIX playoffs. The Cougars are back in action tomorrow as they head to Morris County College for a non-conference game. First pitch is 3:30pm. GO COUGARS!