By PAUL GOTHAM
GROTON, CT. — Eric O’Brien (Richmond, VA/Douglas Freeman) and Matt Petrossi (Fairport) turned in solid pitching performances, and the Monroe Community College Tribunes moved within one win of clinching the 2018 NJCAA DII East District Championship.
Petrossi allowed two runs on three hits as Monroe (29-18) defeated Westchester Community College (Region 15), 7-2 in the opener. The redshirt freshman surrendered a two-out solo shot in the first inning then settled in to retire 10 of the next 12 batters he faced. He finished with two strike outs, one walk and induced eight ground-ball outs to pick up his sixth win of the season without a defeat.
Andrew Czubaj (Buffalo, N.Y./John F. Kennedy) paced the MCC offense. The sophomore catcher finished 3-for-4 in the game and reached base in all four of his plate appearances. His two-out flare to centerfield brought home Justin Bunting (Greece Athena) and gave the Tribunes a lead they did not surrender at 2-1 in the third.
Czubaj drove in Brennen Smith (Webster Thomas) to spark a three-run seventh as the Tribunes put the game out of reach at 7-1.
Stuart Martin (Eden Mills, ON/John F. Ross CVI) hurled two shutout innings in relief with three strikeouts.
Bunting went 2-for-5 including a two-out RBI single in the fourth.
Cas Sobaszek (Rush-Henrietta) was 3-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored in the opener.
Phil Ferranti (Webster Schroeder) collected an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fifth to push the advantage to 4-1.
Jonathan Catapano (McQuaid) added an RBI base hit in the three-run seventh.
O’Brien improved to 5-3 on the season allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits over eight innings in a 9-6 win over the UConn-Avery Point (UCAP) Pointers in Monroe’s second game of the day. The sophomore struck out 11 and walked one.
Czubaj plated Sobaszek with a one-out single in the third to give MCC a 2-1 lead, and the Tribs held off a last-inning UCAP rally.
Matt Wagner (Pembroke, ON/Bishop Smith) tripled in a run and eventually scored on a wild pitch to push the Tribs advantage to 4-1 in the fourth.
Czubaj added an RBI triple and Catapano a 2-run shot to give MCC a 7-1 lead after five innings.
Catapano singled and scored on a wild pitch in the seventh.
Czubaj brought home Sobaszek with a single in the eighth to give MCC a 9-3 advantage.
UCAP scored three runs in the ninth and put the go-ahead run on base before Martin got a fly ball to end the game.
UCAP defeated Westchester CC 13-10 in the first game of the tournament. Westchester’s loss to MCC eliminated the Vikings from the championship.
Monroe and UCAP will meet again on Monday. The Tribunes need one win to clinch a spot in the NJCAA DII World Series in Enid, Oklahoma.