BCC Qualifies For Postseason Baseball Berth

By  //  April 10, 2013

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Ninth-Inning Hit Leads Titans To Victory

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Brevard Community College baseball team is headed to the postseason for the first time in years because Matt Harris got the pitch he wanted.

Sophomore Matt Harris drove in the winning run in the ninth inning in BCC’s college baseball victory over Indian River State on Tuesday. (Image courtesy of BCC)

Standing in against Indian River State College reliever Marcus Crescentini with two outs and with a two-ball, two-strike count in the bottom of the ninth inning, Harris was looking for a fastball.

Crescentini threw a fastball and Harris, a sophomore and Melbourne High School graduate, stroked it into right field. The hit scored classmate T.J. Glessner from second base for a pulsating 4-3 victory at Bruce Bochy Field on the Melbourne Campus.

Tuesday’s triumph improved BCC’s Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference record to 9-10 with five games remaining, cementing the Titans into the fourth and final qualifying spot for the postseason conference tournament.

The defeat dropped fifth-place Indian River State to 4-17 in the conference with three games remaining, eliminating it from contention.

But the victory did not come without a mighty struggle.

BCC jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead and led 3-1 after sophomore David King’s solo home run to left field in the fifth inning.

However, Indian River sent seven batters to the plate in the eighth inning, collecting four hits and taking advantage of two BCC errors to tie the game at 3-3.

BCC had a chance to go ahead in the bottom of the eighth but freshman and Melbourne High graduate Austin Leeney was thrown out at the plate for the final out after pinch-hitter Jorge Gonzales had singled to center.

BCC closer Chris Gilmore, who allowed the tying runs, then gave up a lead-off single in the top of the ninth but retired the next three batters to set up Harris’ heroics.

That Harris even got to the plate was thanks to Glessner reaching on a walk and then stealing second and Crescentini extending the inning by plunking King in the left shoulder.

Harris then stepped in and delivered.

“He threw me a fastball, I was waiting for it,” Harris said. “He threw me two change ups, I fouled them off.”

Once Harris made contact, Glessner took off and was not to be denied.

“I was just running as fast as I could, I didn’t want to get thrown out for the game,” Glessner said. “I did what I had to do.”

As for King’s home run, it came on a guess.

“He (Indian River starter Andris Gonzalez) threw me a slider, low and in, I just guessed the right pitch, finally,” said King.

“I’m not very good at hitting sliders usually.”

The victory and securing the postseason spot resonated with the sophomores and with first-year head coach Jeff Tam who served as interim boss last spring after veteran Ernie Rosseau stepped down.

But Tam has no plans to allow his team to take anything for granted over the final two weeks. After all BCC can still climb up the standings and have a chance at hosting the tournament that determines the conference’s second entry to the state playoffs.

First-place Miami Dade, which is 16-3 in conference, has already clinched first place and the automatic bid to the state tournament May 9-13 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.

“We’ve still got five games left,” Tam said. “We need to continue to play good baseball. Right now we’re playing very good baseball. We’re getting great pitching, we’re getting some timely hitting.

“We need to shore up the defense a little bit. We’re going to go about our business. We still need to win every game. That is going to keep us moving in the right direction. We’re not going to sit back. We’re going to keep fighting.

BCC’s baseball squad has qualified for its first postseason berth in years with a strong finish this season. (Image by Ed Pierce)

“Hopefully that will keep us in the win column and when it does matter we’re not fighting to search for it. It’s already there.”

BCC finished with seven hits, Harris and Leeney collecting two each. But, the Titans left eight runners on base and committed four errors.

Aaron Miller pitched seven innings, allowing one Indian River hit and stranding four runners. Gilmore pitched two innings to pick up the victory despite allowing five hits.

Last week in 1-0 and 4-0 victories against Broward College sophomore Ashton Fronsoe pitched seven innings of no-hit ball and classmate Taylor Brookes threw seven innings of three-hit baseball. Gilmore picked up saves in both games.

BCC and Indian River meet again at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Fort Pierce. BCC then travels to Miami Dade at 3 p.m. Friday and hosts the Sharks at 3 p.m. Saturday.

BCC finishes the regular season by visiting Palm Beach State in Lake Worth at 5 p.m. Tuesday and hosting Palm Beach at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 17.

The conference tournament will be held on the home field of the second-place team on the weekend of April 19. The third- and fourth-place teams hold a one-game playoff for the right to play the second-place team in a best of three series.

Palm Beach State is 11-9 (29-15 overall) and in second; Broward is 9-11 (27-18 overall) and in third.