Baseball traveled to Rowan College at Gloucester County on Saturday, to play in their first round playoff game. The NJCAA Region XIX first round games are "play-in games" in which two of the lower seeded teams face off for a chance at the higher seeded teams. In this case, Baseball faced off against eight seed Lehigh Carbon for the third time this year, in order to get a shot at Gloucester, the number one seed in the tournament.
It rained at Gloucester Saturday morning, so the game was delayed to 11:20am, but the field was just playable enough to not postpone it. The game started off well for the Mustangs, with Will Brownlowe bringing in Luke Deleo for the third time in two games. However, an error allowed a Lehigh Carbon batter to make it to third and a sacrifice fly brought him home.
The second inning was where things really started to go downhill for Montgomery. An error on the throw to second turned what should have been a double play into a run for the Cougars. On the very next at bat, another throw came to the second baseman, who committed another error, allowing yet another Lehigh Carbon batter to score.
Montgomery kept fighting, and tied the game off of Aaron Benner's two-run RBI in the third. However, a big double from the Cougars led to yet another two run lead.
From that point on, Montgomery would struggle to hit the ball. They only got one hit in the top of the fourth and would manage to only get three hits the rest of the game. This frustration might have been a part of their seven errors, one of which would give Lehigh Carbon yet another run in the bottom of the fourth.
After that, neither team had much offense. Benner enentually came out in the 6th for Paul Mudrick, who would eventually come out of the game in the 8th for Devon Crossin. All three would combine for only two earned runs and 5 K. The final nail in the coffin for Montgomery was two errors in the eighth that allowed a Cougar batter to get to third. He would eventually score, bringing the manageable three-run lead to a much more difficult four-run lead.
The Mustangs managed to get one on base in the 9th, but ultimately failed to mount a comeback, losing 7-3.
However, last years baseball team went 4-20 and received no postseason awards. This team had a 13-man roster and almost no expectations of even winning more than four games. They went 14-14 in the regular season, qualified for postseason play and had three members on the All-EPAC team. Coach Mike Fitzgerald won the EPAC coach of the year, which is fitting, because this season for baseball can only be seen as a massive success.
Even with the loss on Saturday, the momentum seems to only be rising for next season.