NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC Knights Start Spring Season

The Knights’ baseball team went down to Florida for spring break to get an early start to their season, and they made the most of it. NECC went 9-2 during the trip behind some great pitching and some even better hitting. The Knights played five doubleheaders, with one scrimmage against a junior varsity squad early in the year.
In their first 11 games of 2015, the Knights are hitting .353 and have scored an impressive 89 runs. On the defensive side, pitchers Ryan McAuliffe and Zarif Pajazetovic each notched two wins.

The Knights opened the season with a solid 5-3 win over Itasca Community College of Grand Rapids, Minn. in the first game of a doubleheader. NECC knocked eight base hits and mustered a four-run fifth inning to seal the win. Several players recorded multiple hits, including shortstop Ryley Warnock, designated hitter Ellido Reyes and first baseman Jacob Rayner. Second baseman McDaniel Singleton knocked a huge two-run double in the win.

Ryan McAuliffe notched his first win of the season with a three-run complete game. He gave up three hits, two walks and struck out five batters in his seven innings of work.

The Knights came right back and swept the doubleheader with a convincing 11-4 win. Singleton had two hits, stole two bases and scored three runs. Designated hitter Michael Crisostomo knocked in three runs and scored two more. Third baseman Cole Josselyn also stole two bases and recorded two RBI. NECC hit .400 as a team in the second game.

Pajazetovic recorded the win for the Knights. He pitched four and two-thirds innings, gave up four hits, four runs (only one of them earned) and struck out three.

The Knights’ next game was against the JV squad of Utica (N.Y.). As expected, NECC ran right through them, winning 14-7. Outfielder Harrison Smoske led the way with a three for five performance that included a triple, a stolen base and three RBIs. Crisostomo stole two more bases and knocked in two more runs. Singleton also had two RBIs and went three for four.

Jerry Hernandez went just three innings and gave up four runs on four hits. He also walked four and struck out four. Tyler Favaloro came in and got the win after going two and two-thirds innings of one-hit, shutout baseball.

The Knights’ next opponent was Vermilion Community College of Ely, Minn. NECC made easy work of them, outscoring them 20-3 over the two games. Smoske and Colby Maiola each drove in three runs over the two games. Maiola also stole three bases, while Smoske stole four.

Robert Barry got the win in the first game. He went six innings and gave up only one run on three hits while striking out seven. Gianni Esposito took the second game and gave up one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts in four innings of work.

The only two losses of the season came in the next doubleheader. The Knights faced off with Sussex County Community College of Newton, N.J., and it wasn’t pretty. The Knights lost the first game 17-5, then came back with a slightly more acceptable (but still unfortunate) 13-11 loss. Warnock and Reyes each recorded four RBIs over the two games.

Hernandez and Ryan Decker were the two pitchers who got beat up in the first game. Hernandez gave up seven runs in just over two innings, while Decker gave up eight runs in just over one. It was Favaloro who got roughed up in the second game, giving up 10 runs in two and one-third innings.

The Knights bounced back in their next series against Muscatine Community College of Muscatine, Iowa. NECC took both games, winning 5-4 in the first game and 3-2 in the second. Smoske, Singleton and Colby Ingraham each recorded two hits in the first win. Rayner had an RBI in each of the games, while Maiola stole a base in each game.

Pajazetovic threw a complete game in the first matchup, giving up four runs on eight hits in seven innings. McAuliffe came out and threw another complete game in the second outing, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out eight in seven innings.

The final doubleheader of the Florida trip came on Friday, March 20. In the first game, the Knights beat Burlington County College of Pemberton, N.J. 3-2. In the second game, NECC defeated Schenectady County Community College of Schenectady, N.Y. by a score of 15-4. Ingraham and Josselyn were the two run-producers in the first game, each driving in one run. Meanwhile, it was Reyes, Singleton and Rayner who led the way in the second game. Reyes went four for five with four RBIs and three runs scored. Singleton went three for five with three RBIs and two runs scored. Rayner went three for three with two RBIs and one run scored.

Esposito got the win in the first game after coming in in relief of Anthony Dally and giving up no runs on no hits over three innings. In the second game, Barry pitched three innings and gave up three runs on six hits to earn the victory.

The Knights’ first game back up north is a road game against Community College of Rhode Island today at 3:30 p.m. The Knights will then continue their way up the coast and play their first home game on Saturday, March 28 at 11 a.m. The game will be played at the Haverhill Stadium.