After a disappointing end to the 2018 season, the Cumberland County College Dukes baseball team wanted to start the 2019 campaign with energy and intensity. The Dukes did just that as they burst onto the field scoring 6 runs in 2 innings against host Bryant & Stratton College, an NJCAA Division II opponent from Virginia Beach, VA. Despite the month of February being the offseason for the resort town, sophomore 3B, Dylan Scaranda, stepped up to the plate in the first inning with the bases loaded and woke the area up with a bases-clearing triple. Scaranda would finish the day going 3 for 4 with 6 RBIs and a home run shy of the cycle. Following Scaranda's lead were Ryan McIsaac (3 for 4, 2B, 3 Rs), Christian Lutz (2 for 4, 3 Rs), Vincent Napolitano (2 for 3, 2 Rs), and Ja'Ques Colon (1 for 3, 2 SBs, 2 Rs).
On the mound, redshirt Sophomore, Jarrett Quinn, took the ball for his first season-opening start for his career. The 2017 NJCAA All-American held the Bobcats at bay to allow the Dukes offense to methodically extend their lead throughout the game. The sinker-baller held the opponent to just 3 hits over 5 innings, tallying 5 strikeouts and giving up 1 unearned run. Quinn would earn the win, the 19th win of his career as the Dukes would mercy rule Bryant & Stratton, winning game 1, 14-2.
Game 2 of the series looked as if the Dukes would not be stopped as Ja'Ques Colon drilled the first pitch of the game to the left field corner for a lead off double. After a pass ball, freshman SS, Matt Spaeth, would score Colon on an RBI groundout. The Dukes would score 2 runs in the 3rd inning to retake the lead at 3-1, but the Bobcats would score 2 runs in the 4th and 2 runs in the 6th, the last two being back to back solo home runs to take a 5-3 lead. Colon would deposit his first collegiate home run to bring the Dukes within a run, but it would not be enough as the Dukes would fall 5-4. Colon would go 2 for 3 on the day, scoring 2 runs including his home run. Scaranda pitched in 3 more hits, going 3 for 4 with a run scored.
Freshman Anthony Masselli took the ball in game 2 and held the Bobcats in check despite finding himself in difficult situations throughout his 4.1 innings pitched. He would finish the day with 3 strikeouts, 4 hits, and 3 earned runs in a no-decision.
In the rubber match of this series, the Dukes saw a pair of high school teammates find some success on the mound and at the plate. St. Augustine Prep 2017 graduate, Michael Miles, took the mound for his first start in Navy & Gold and did not disappoint. The highly touted right hander dazzled going 6 innings, striking out 9, while scattering 5 hits. As the winds picked up, Miles gave up 2 home runs on the day, but held the Bobcats down long enough for the Dukes offense to extend their lead. With scored tied at 2, Miles's high school teammate, Nick Lonetto drove a 2-RBI double into the left-center gap to lift the Dukes to a 4-2 lead. Two batters later, Brian Gallante would deliver a RBI-double of his own to score Lonetto and give the Dukes a 5-2 lead. Cumberland would add a run in the 7th, which would prove to be the difference as the Bobcats would cross the plate twice in the final frame. They would be unable to score the tying run as the Dukes turned to Joseph Nestel who would earn his first save of the season. Cumberland would go on to win the game 6-5 and the series.
Weather permitting, the Dukes next take the field on Saturday, February 23 as they will travel to Georgetown, DE to face the Delaware Tech Roadrunners, another NJCAA Division II opponent. First pitch is scheduled for 12 PM. Cumberland will then host Luzerne County for their home opener the following day on Sunday, February 24. First pitch is also scheduled for 12 PM. Both dates will be doubleheaders.