The Cumberland County College Dukes Baseball team completed their regular season with a weekend series matchup against the Union County College Owls in an important weekend that could decide the seeding for the upcoming postseason.
In the final home regular season game, the Dukes set the tone early by scoring 8 runs in the first 2 innings of the matchup to take an 8-0 lead that they would not relinquish. After adding 4 runs in the 6th and a single run in the 8th, Cumberland finished off the Owls with a 13-4 victory. The Dukes were led by Dylan Scaranda who went 1 for 2 with 3 walks and a deep home run to right field, and Nicholas Milhan who went 2 for 5 with 4 RBIs.
Steve Bowley started for the Dukes and went 7 innings, scattering 7 hits and only giving up 2 earned runs. He also tallied 5 strikeouts to garner his 8th win of the season, tied for 2nd in the country. Nick Hilleshiem relieved Bowley and completed 2 innings of work, racking up 2 strikeouts.
The Cumberland offense did not relent in game 2, which was played at Nomahegan Park in Cranford, NJ, the home field of the Union County Owls. The Dukes scored 11 runs in the first 3 innings to take an early 11-2 lead. They would tack on 8 more runs to officially win the series with a 19-3 victory.
Donnie Stone and Brian Gallante would pace the Cumberland offense with Stone going 4 for 5 with 3 runs and Gallante putting on a impressive performance of his own going 5 for 6 with 3 runs. Dylan Scaranda continued his hot-hitting ways going 2 for 4 with a HR and 7 RBIs. All Dukes who entered the lineup reached base safely as they scored in every inning except the 4th inning.
In the final game of the season, the Dukes would score early runs again to take a 2-0 lead after the 1st, which is all they would need to secure the sweep. Anthony Capasso would dazzle to win his 8th game of the season, tying him with Steve Bowley for 2nd in the country in pitching wins. Capasso would pitch 6 innings, scatter 3 hits, strike out 7, and not allow a single run to dominate the Owls. Union County would battle for a run in the 7th, but it would not be a enough as the Dukes prevailed 6-1.
Playing in their final regular season game as Dukes, sophomores Misael Castillo and Ivan Solis each registered an RBI to pace the Dukes in the victory. Both players played vital roles in the 2017 campaign that ended one game short of the National Championship, and they will play those roles once again as the Dukes head to the postseason.
Cumberland finishes the year on a 7-game winning streak and winning 11 of the last 12 games. The NJCAA Region 19 Playoffs are tentatively scheduled to begin Saturday, May 12.