NECC Observer

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

Knights moving on to the Region 21 Championship

On Saturday May 7th the number 1 seed NECC Knights faced the number 2 seed Massasoit Community College in Frasier  Field in Lynn, Massachusetts. The winner of this game would advance to the NJCAA Region 21 championship game on May 8th.

Knights defeated Massasoit 6 to 1 to advance to the Region 21 championship game.

NECC Knights warmed up doing their pre-game routine before the game taking ground balls and hitting in the cage.

The Knights had Jayden Volker of Coventry, R.I., on the mound. Volker struck out t the side in the first inning.

Massasoit had Josh Perez of Fall River on the mound with 2 outs in the inning. Nicholas White from Townsend walked, which brought Jarred Coppola of Lynn to the plate. White stole second on the very next pitch Coppola hit a single up the middle to score the first run of the game. On a 3-0 count Richard Matos de la Cruz of Boston hit base hit through shortstop. Clay Campbell of Goffstown, NH was at the plate when the Knights completed a double steal. They had runner on second and third, a chance for Campbell to score two more runs but instead Campbell struck out looking to end the inning.

Volker had Massasoit in check striking out 2 of the 3 batter and retiring the first 6 batters that he faced so far including striking out five batters already. This is confusing

The Knights had runners on first and second with two outs when Chris Bear struck out swinging to end the second inning and the Knights did not scored.

Volker with one out in in the third inning hit Kyle Cummings of South Easton following a walk to Franciso Navarro of Chirique, Panama. Max Kelly ground out to a fielders choice with two outs in the inning .Matt Kelly flied out to the center fielder as Volker escaped in and out of trouble as Massasoit did not score.

On a 2-0 pitch Nicholas White got hit by pitch in the leg. White remained in the game after Coach Jeff Mejia and the trainer came and checked on him. Coppola was at the plate when White advanced to second on a wild pitch. Coppola walked.

NECC warming up before the semi finals  vs MassasoitPhoto by Editor-in-Chief/Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez

NECC warming up before the semi finals vs Massasoit

The Knights was set up first and second nobody out with one of their best hitters Richard Matos de la Cruz swung and missed a ball in the dirt, a good block by the catcher but it was enough for both runners to move up 90 feet. Matos de la Cruz brought home the second run of the game on a sac fly to center. Campbell walked Joseph  Settle  of Melbourne, FL on a 1-2 pitch he flied out to center field. It was enough for Coppola to advance to third.

Perez threw the ball to first to try to pick off Campbell from first, instead Perez threw the ball away which Campbell advanced to second and third on the same pitch. Berube walked and the Knights had runners in the corners with two outs. That would will be it for Perez allowing 3 runs, runners in base is his responsibility.

PJ Moniz of Berkley came to pitch when Levesque was at the plate when the Knights scored the fourth run of the game on a double steal. The catcher threw the to third and the third baseman threw the ball back to home as White was safe. Levesque fly ball to second to end the inning.

On the top of the fourth inning with two outs in the inning Berube throw out the runner trying to steal second to finish the top of the 4th inning.

With one out in the bottom of the 4th inning Bear reached on base on a throwing error by the shortstop. White was batting when Bear stole second. The Knights had runners in scoring position with one out. White struck out swinging on a curve ball. Bear advanced to third on a wild pitch when Coppola was batting. He e struck out looking on a curve ball that clipped the inside corner of the plate.

Volker struck out the side in the 5th inning. Massasoit brought a new pitcher in the fifth inning, it was David Lawrence of New Bedford.

In the bottom of the fifth inning Campbell walked and he got thrown out at second trying to steal for second out of the inning. Settle ground out to the third baseman to end the inning.

Volker was on the mound to begin the 6th as he has been brilliant all game long. He gave up a base hit to Nick Thineault of Bridgewater to lead off the bottom of the six Matt Kelly ground out to a double play a nice sliding catch of Settle to end the top of the 6 inning.

In the bottom of the 6th inning the Knights went quietly.

On top of the 7th inning the Knights brought a new pitcher, it was Alex Sweeney of Raymond, NH. He came and did the job, retiring the three batters that he faced during the inning.

On the bottom of the 7th inning with one out White hit a double between center and right. Coppola followed with a 2 run home run through left field. Matos de la Cruz got hit by pitch. Kevin Rodriguez of Manchester, N.H. came and pinch run. Rodriguez got caught stealing trying to advance to second.Campbell walked. Kyle Hsu of Brookline N.H., came and pinch hit for Settle.

In the top of the eight inning Sweeny came on to pitch for his second inning of work. He pitched a 1,2,3 inning.

In the bottom of the eighth inning Jomar Angel Cruz of North Easton came to pitch for Massasoit. The Knights went quickly as they did not score.

Tyler McDonald of Haverhill came to relieve e in the 9th with two outs. He gave a single to Matt Kelly and Evans connect with a RBI double to make it 6-1 ball game as Jadon Ricci of South Easton ground out the second baseman for a 6-1 Knights win.

I asked Coppola after that game if he ever played in a Region 21 game.

“ I’ve never played in a Region 21 game just because of COVID I feel like every year we definitely would but it never happened because of COVID and we are excited to get through tomorrow,” Coppola said.