For the 7th straight season, the Cumberland Dukes baseball team hosted a 1st round playoff series. For the second consecutive season, they would host the feisty Ocean County College Vikings.
Cumberland ace, Michael Miles, would take the ball in Game 1 and he would not disappoint. The tall right hander threw a complete game, while scattering just four hits, giving up just one run, and striking out 12 Ocean hitters. The Vikings would scratch a run across in the top of the 5th, but the Dukes would answer immediately and in a big way. Dylan Scaranda would deliver a booming two-run home run in the bottom of the 6th to give the Dukes a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. Cumberland would add a run on a Tyler Knox RBI to score Donald Stone en route to a 3-1 victory.
Game 2, it was all Cumberland. The Dukes pounded out 16 hits that included home runs by Ryan McIsaac and Vincent Napolitano. Additionally, each Cumberland hitter reached base safely as the Dukes went on the defeat Ocean County 8-0 in 7 innings. Jose Rodriguez got the start on the mound for the Dukes and went 6 innings strong giving up just 1 hit and striking out 6. Joseph Nestel came on to close out the 7th giving up just 1 hit and striking out one batter. Neither pitcher would give up a run.
With the doubleheader sweep, the Dukes move on to the Region XIX Final Four for the 6th straight season. As the number 1 overall seed, they will host a 1st round matchup as well the Region XIX semifinal and the championship game. This will be the 3rd time in 4 years that Cumberland County will host the Region XIX Baseball Championships.
As of 2 PM Monday, Rowan-Gloucester and Northampton CC have advanced along with Cumberland to the Final Four. The series between Brookdale CC and Camden County is currently tied at 1-1 with game 3 being postponed twice due to rain.
The Region XIX Final Four begins Friday, May 17, with Cumberland hosting the winner of Brookdale-Camden County at 11 AM. Rowan-Gloucester will host Northampton at Rowan-Gloucester. A full bracket of the Final Four will be provided once all teams are confirmed.