On an cold, overcast afternoon, the Cumberland County Dukes Baseball team had to overcome adversity to defeat Division II foe, Rowan College at Burlington County. Throughout the day, Dukes pitchers battled through tough situations to hold slim leads to set the stage for late-innings heroics by the Dukes offense. A late single by Darrius Land would lift the Dukes to a 4-3 victory.
Defensive miscues would give the Barons of RCBC an early 1-0 lead, but the Dukes would answer right back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd. The big hit would come from the bat of Isaiah Hammond, who would drive in both runs with an RBI double.
Strong pitching through the next 6 innings as Eric Petroski, Brandon Staub, Nick Hillesheim, and Brian Bromley would combine to hold RCBC to just 2 runs over that time, despite the Barons putting runners in scoring position in multiple situations. Bromley would pitch only 2/3 of an inning, but his two outs were crucial as the go-ahead run for the Barons was on 2nd base. He would come in to relieve Hillesheim and induce a fly out followed by an momentous strikeout to lead the Dukes into the bottom of the 8th.
Shawn Vazquez would enter as a pinch hitter with 1 out in the 8th and work a hard-earned walk to get on base. Hammond would follow with a walk to set the stage for Darrius Land. Land would put his barrel on the pitch just enough to put the ball out of the reach of the RCBC infielders. Vasquez would score the go-ahead run on the single by Land.
Jose Rodriguez, a teammate of Vazquez's at Vineland High School, would enter the game and shut the door for the Dukes to earn his 3rd save of the year.
Cumberland is back in action on Friday, March 30th as they travel to face off against Region 19 rival, Rowan College at Gloucester County. In the last 4 years, both programs have each won 2 Region 19 Titles. First pitch Friday is set for 1 PM. The series concludes with a doubleheader Saturday when the Dukes host RCGC beginning at 12 PM.