The Fighting Saints played Pine Manor on Saturday, March 14 in a back-and-forth contest and walked away with a 9-8 victory. CSJ racked up 15 hits to PMC's 11.
Brian Navarro spearheaded CSJ's effort at the plate as he notched five RBI, three hits and one run. Jedion Cras finished with three hits, two RBI and a run. Ben Brown recorded CSJ's only double and also tallied a single, two runs and a RBI. First-year player Kordell Henriquez threw six strikeouts in seven innings of work to take the win on the mound.
Alec Hanney threw the first five innings for Pine Manor. He allowed 11 hits and seven runs and walked one. Armando Maldonado was on the mound for the final four innings. He allowed four hits and two runs, while also striking out four. Randal Adams led the Gators on offense with three hits, three RBI and one run. Derrick Tolbert had two hits, one RBI and two runs.
The Fighting Saints graduate three seniors this May who have each been reliable starting pitchers for the CSJ baseball program. Last year, the trio brought home a United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Title and they plan to see the same success at the end of this season.
Brown, a Glenville, N.Y. native, recently earned USCAA Player of the Week recognition after throwing a complete game against NAIA powerhouse Point Park University. He limited the Pioneers to three runs and recorded three strikeouts. When asked about how much time he has put into his pitching craft, he responded:
"My dad always helped me through all of it. He was a pitcher in the pros, he got drafted twice and he's taught me everything he knows. So pretty much all I've done is work on my pitching craft. That's why I'm only a pitcher. I have hit, but what I have focused on most my whole life is pitching."
Though he says he doesn't work to a great extent on his hitting, the 6-foot-3 transfer from Coker College in S.C. has been a leader on the mound and in the batter's box this year for the Fighting Saints. Brown has recorded 14 hits (including two doubles), seven RBI and five runs for the CSJ offense. On the mound, he has thrown a team-high 47 strikeouts and played a team-high 57.2 innings. Throughout his two-year career as a Fighting Saint, he has appeared in 24 games made 13 starts.
Fellow right-handed pitchers Ramos and Cummings have been with the Fighting Saints baseball program since it was reintegrated at the college in the 2014/2015 season. The two agreed that the team chemistry of each CSJ baseball squad they've played on has been positive.
"We all get along really well, we get along on the field. I mean we all have the same goal, which is to be playing into May and to be playing good baseball," said Ramos.
Brown, Ramos and Cummings each said the thing they will miss most after graduation is being a part of that team-oriented culture.
"Besides playing, probably just the whole team thing. Going on the road trips. I don't like them now all of the time but I know that's the thing I'll probably miss is the bus rides with the guys, plane flights, hotel stays, the junk food all the time," said Cummings.
Cummings, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y. native, has made 36 appearances on the mound for CSJ in his four years here. His junior year, an injury prevented him from being able to play as much as he planned.
Despite adversity through injuries, Cummings has racked up 109 career strikeouts, including 25 this season. He recently recorded a win against National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II squad College of Saint Rose. Through his complete game, seven-inning performance, he tallied seven strikeouts and gave up just seven hits and four runs in the 7-4 victory.
Ramos is the only graduating senior who says he will be stepping away from baseball and shifting gears after years of dedication to the sport. The Clifton, N.J. native was recently offered a full-time Strength Coach position at a gymnasium near his home town. Ramos says he will take away the lessons he has learned from playing the sport he loves his whole life and now apply them to his career.
Throughout his baseball career at CSJ, Ramos has made 33 appearances and earned a 4-4 record on the mound. He has thrown 32 strikeouts. This season, he has a 4.14 ERA and 14 strikeouts. On March 18, he threw a complete eight innings in a 6-3 win over Florida National and gave up just five hits.
"I'm just going to miss the teammates I've had. A big part of my college experience was baseball, I came here to play baseball and I've made some really good friends and I think that I'm going to have really good relationships with them after this is all done," Ramos said.
The Senior Day celebration will be held prior to the start of the doubleheader against Pine Manor, which is scheduled for May 5 at 1 p.m.