Bulldogs follow through on WS bid
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Back in February, veteran Pitt Community College baseball coach Tommy Eason talked about how he thought the major positive in moving from Division I to Division II within the National Junior College Athletic Association was that PCC could not only eye Region X success like usual, but take a serious aim at national championships.
The Bulldogs (41-7) maneuvered through the regular season mainly with ease and went 4-0 at the Region X tournament — winning the championship Monday night in Morehead City — to extend their winning streak to 16 games and clinch a spot in next week’s World Series tournament in Enid, Okla. They are No. 5 in the national rankings and are in contention for one of the top seeds at the 10-team, double-elimination World Series.
“We have accomplished the things that we set as goals throughout the year,” Eason said Wednesday morning. “Winning the regular-season title and the district championship are all stepping stones to get to the national level. That has obviously been our goal, but we also want to be the last team to win.”
PCC scored a total of 59 runs in its four tourney games. Even with an explosive offense led by sophomores Dominick Cammarata (17 home runs), Daniel Millwee (.427 average) and Tommy Bullock (.336, 51 runs) and lead starting pitcher Justin Walke out with an injury, Eason said the bullpen was key in Morehead City and that will need to continue for the Bulldogs in Oklahoma.
Jake Isbell got the win in relief in a key victory against Patrick Henry CC, and he also recorded his first save of the season in the championship. In the team’s tournament opener, a short start by Brandon Winstead was followed by Kyle Davis moving to 5-0 by allowing one unearned run in 4.1 innings in a 13-4 victory over Bryant & Stratton.
“We have to look at playing nine-inning ball games,” Eason said. “The (mercy) run rule will be in effect at the national level, so being offensive and being able to put up big numbers could shorten the game, but at the same time we have to be ready to play complete nine-inning games.”
Pitt’s last defeat came April 14 with an 11-1 setback to Guilford Tech, the same team PCC beat 13-10 to win the Region X tournament. The Bulldogs’ late-season unbeaten run has been built around widespread contributions, according to Eason, with an eye on building for success in the World Series.
“The major thing is everybody is believing in themselves and we’re not waiting on the next guy to pick the team up,” Eason said. “I think we have some guys (offensively) that we felt really good about at the beginning of the year and they maybe were struggling at times, but now they are doing what we thought they were capable of doing.”
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.