Commodores Ousted By Schoolcraft in Rain-Delayed Game, 7-2

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Nick Bene

by Ken Hoffman

Lorain County Community College held a 2-0 lead after 5-1/2 innings before Schoolcraft College tied the game in the bottom of the sixth and added five runs during a downpour in the decisive seventh inning on the way to eliminating the Commodores from the NJCAA D-III, Region 12 baseball tournament, 7-2, at Sprenger Stadium on Saturday afternoon, May 12.

The Ocelots collected three hits — highlighted by Blake Vershum’s RBI double — and were the beneficiaries of two passed balls and a wild pitch that each scored a run in the seventh inning. 
 
The team’s were deadlocked in a strong pitcher’s duel for five innings between Schoolcraft’s Thad Plaza — who no-hit the Commodores through five innings —  and LCCC’s Nick Bene (pictured), who scattered seven hits, struck out 11 batters and walked six in seven innings. Bene had shutout the Ocelots on three hits through the first five innings. 
 
LCCC took a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning.  Sophomore left fielder Nate Colbert and sophomore second baseman Nate Bonacuse each singled. The Commodores also received three walks in the inning.  Both LCCC runs scored on passed balls.
 
Schoolcraft tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on Shane Fugate’s RBI triple and a sacrifice fly from Vershum, who contributed two RBI’s.
 
LCCC couldn’t solve Schoolcraft’s pitching.  The Commodores’ third and final hit was a seventh inning single by sophomore third baseman Dalton Welty.
 
The game was rain-delayed for 2 hours and 45 minutes after the seventh inning.
 
LCCC’s season concludes with a 16-21 record.  In spite of the two losses in the tournament, the Commodores set a new season win total (16) since joining the NCJAA in 2010. 
 

Commodores Edged in the Eighth Inning by Delta College, 7-5, in NJCAA Tournament

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The Baseball team lineup

by Ken Hoffman

The Lorain County Community College baseball team led Delta College, 5-4, going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Pioneers scored three times to take a 7-5 victory over LCCC in the opening game of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III, Region 12, baseball tournament at Sprenger Stadium on Friday afternoon, May 11.  

Trailing 4-3, LCCC scored a pair of runs in the eighth inning.  The Commodores tied the game at 4-4 on freshman center fielder Noah Henderson’s RBI single that scored sophomore third baseman Dalton Welty, who had walked with one out and advanced to second on a walk to sophomore second baseman Nate Bonacuse.  The Commodores took a 5-4 lead, scoring the second run of the inning when Bonacuse crossed the plate on an infield throwing error.  
 
Bonacuse paced LCCC with two hits in three trips to the plate, including a two-run double in the fourth inning when the Commodores scored three runs to take a 3-1 lead. 
 
Delta second baseman Matt Fisher was 3-for-4 including an RBI double in the decisive eighth inning.  Shortstop Mitch Morley also enjoyed a 3-hit game in four at-bats, drove in a run and scored twice.
 
 

Commodores Open NJCAA Region 12 Tournament Against Delta College on Friday 

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Kevin Simon

by Ken Hoffman

The Lorain County Community College baseball team has already won 16 games this season, establishing its highest regular season win total since joining the NJCAA in 2010.  Now the Commodores will open the three-team, NJCAA, D-III, Region 12 tournament on Friday, May 11, against Delta (MI) College at Sprenger Stadium at noon.   The winner will then play top-seeded Schoolcraft (MI) College at approximately 4:30 p.m.  The double-elimination tournament will continue through Saturday (noon and 4:30) and, if necessary, Sunday.

Schoolcraft (15-29) earned the top spot with a 6-2 record against LCCC (4-0) and Delta (2-2).  Delta (19-27-1) finished 4-4, splitting four games versus both LCCC and Schoolcraft.   LCCC (16-19) split four games with Delta but lost all four to Schoolcraft.
 
Sophomore pitchers Kevin Simon (pictured) and Nick Bene are both among the Top 20 in Earned-Run-Average and may hold the key to the Commodores’ fortunes in the tournament.  Simon is 6-0 this season with an ERA of 1.40, 7th best in D-III.  Bene owns a 4-2 record with a 2.21 ERA, ranking 19th.  Both pitchers also rank high in strikeouts per nine innings. Simon fans an average of 12.40 per nine innings (16th) and Bene strikes out 10.80 batters per nine innings (35th).
 
The Commodores boast a lofty .347 team batting average, ranked 13th among the 97 D-III teams (LCCC also ranks 9th with 18 triples).  Schoolcraft enters the tourney with a .325 batting average and Delta hits at a .277 clip. 
 
 Sophomore first baseman/outfielder Nate Colbert paces the Commodores, hitting .417 with 44 RBI’s and four home runs.  Sophomore DH/pitcher Ryan Danszczak is close behind at .414 with 21 RBI’s.  Freshman shortstop Jesse Barrios is batting .402 with 34 RBI’s.

Bonacuse’s Three-Hitter Earns LCCC a Split With Clark State CC; Commodores Set Regular Season Win Total With 16 

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The 2018 LCCC Baseball Team

 

by Ken Hoffman
 
Sophomore pitcher Nate Bonacuse tossed a complete game, three-hitter as Lorain County Community College won the opener of a twin-bill against Clark State CC, 6-1, at The Pipeyard in Lorain on Sunday, May 6.
 
Bonacuse gave up an RBI double in the first inning and a leadoff single in the second frame.  After that, he was masterful, facing just 16 batters from the second through the sixth inning.  He retired 10 straight batters before giving up a walk with one out in the fifth inning.  Bonacuse proceeded to pick off the runner at first base and then retired the next four in a row.  Clark State’s third and final hit was a single leading off the seventh inning.  He then retired the next three hitters to end the game. Bonacuse struck out five and walked just two, facing just 25 batters in the seven innings to earn his first victory of the season.
 
LCCC took a 2-1 lead in the second inning on an RBI triple by sophomore left fielder Nick Bene, driving in sophomore first baseman Nate Colbert who had led off the inning with a double.  Bene then scored on a wild pitch. 
 
 The Commodores exploded for four more runs on five hits in the fifth inning.  Bene blistered an RBI single, sophomore DH Ryan Danszczak smashed a two-run double and sophomore third baseman Dalton Welty added a sacrifice fly for the final run.
 
In the second game, the Eagles scored in each of the last four innings to open an 8-0 lead before LCCC scored twice in the sixth inning on four hits.  Colbert singled home freshman shortstop Jesse Barrios who had doubled.  Danszczak’s RBI double then drove in Colbert.  Clark St. added a run in the seventh inning to win by a final score of 9-2.
 
The Commodores ended the regular season with a record of 16-19, establishing a new season mark for wins since joining the NJCAA in 2013.
 
“It was a good regular season,” Head Coach Bill Frawley said.  “Now we have our sights set on the Region 12 Tournament next weekend,” Frawley added.
 
LCCC will play Delta College in the tournament opener on Friday, May 11, at noon, at Sprenger Stadium.
 
 

LCCC Pitchers Simon and Bene Form Top One-Two Punch in NJCAA, D-III; Commodores’ Bats Booming at .349 Average, 11th in NJCAA, D-III

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by Ken Hoffman

Lorain County Community College is the home of the top “one-two punch” in the nation among the 97 pitching staffs in the National Junior College Athletic Association, Division III.  Sophomore pitchers Kevin Simon and Nick Bene have combined for nine complete games, more than any two pitchers on the same team in NJCAA, D-III.  Simon has tossed five complete games and Bene has pitched four.

Simon (6-0; pictured above, left) and Bene (4-2; pictured above, right) have combined for a record of 10 wins and only two losses.  Simon is #8 in D-III with an Earned-Run-Average of 1.44 (seven earned runs in 43.2 innings) while Bene ranks #22 with a 2.21 ERA (nine earned runs in 36.2 innings).  
 
The Commodores’ dynamic duo also rank high in strikeouts per nine innings.  Simon is #14 with 12.78 strikeouts per nine innings; Bene is 37th with 10.80 K’s per nine.
 
Offensively, the Commodores’ bats have been hot, averaging .349 (through 33 games), the 11th-highest team batting average in D-III.  LCCC’s On-Base-Percentage (OBP) of .440 ranks 12th.  The team is tied for 8th in the nation with 17 triples.
 
LCCC boasts three players batting .400 or better:
Sophomore Nate Colbert owns a .422 mark; sophomore Ryan Danszczak is hitting .419; and freshman Jesse Barrios is batting .400.
 
The Commodores (15-18) host Clark State CC on Sunday (May 6) for a noon doubleheader at The Pipeyard in Lorain for the final regular season games before the NJCAA Region 12 Tournament at Sprenger Stadium on May 11-13.

Welty’s Grand Slam Paves the Way for an LCCC Sweep at CCAC-South, 11-10 and 7-5

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Dalton Welty
by Ken Hoffman
 
Sophomore third baseman Dalton Welty (pictured) smashed a grand slam, inside-the-park home run in the top of the seventh inning to propel Lorain County Community College to an 11-10 victory at the Community College of Allegheny County (PA) – South (CCAC-South) in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday, May 2.
 
Trailing, 9-7, going into the final inning, the Commodores loaded the bases on two singles and a walk.  With two outs, Welty’s line drive down the right field line gave LCCC an 11-9 lead.  CCAC-South scored a run in the bottom of the inning and had runners on second and third when freshman reliever Noah Henderson took over for LCCC ace Kevin Simon and recorded the final out to preserve the win for LCCC and Simon (6-0). It was Henderson’s third save of the season.
 
Welty was 3-for-4 at the plate with five RBI’s.  Sophomore first baseman Nate Colbert and sophomore DH Ryan Danszczak also collected three hits apiece in four at-bats to lead a 16-hit barrage.  Colbert drove in three runs and Danszczak plated two more.
 
The Commodores trailed, 9-5, after five innings, but scored twice in the sixth on a double by Colbert and a single by Danszczak, setting the table for Welty’s seventh inning heroics.
 
In the second game, LCCC scored three times in the fifth inning to come back from a 4-2 deficit.  An add-on run in the sixth made it 6-4 and an insurance run scored in the seventh on a triple by Danszczak and a sacrifice fly to center field by sophomore pitcher Nick Bene.   Bene (4-2) tossed a complete game, giving up nine hits, just two earned runs and struck out five while walking two. He faced only 11 batters in the final three innings.
 
Danszczak led the offense with a 4-for-4 performance, including a double and a triple with two RBI’s.  He collected seven hits in eight appearances during the twin bill.  Henderson accounted for three hits in four at-bats, including a double and an RBI.  The Commodores abused South pitching for 27 hits in 14 innings (.422), raising the team’s batting average to a lofty .351, ranking 11th in nation (NJCAA, D-III). Danszczak’s hitting display raised his average to .419, good for second on the team behind Colbert (.422) and ahead of freshman shortstop Jesse Barrios (Wooster/OH) (.400).  Welty is close to joining the “.400 club” at .392.
 
LCCC — now 15-18 — will host Clark State CC on Sunday, May 6, for a noon doubleheader at The Pipeyard in Lorain.   It will be the final regular season action before the NJCAA Region 12 tournament at Sprenger Stadium on May 11-13.
 
 

Danszczak Pitches LCCC to  Another Split With Delta College With a 4-2 Victory Following a 7-4 Loss in the Opener

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Ryan Danszczak

by Ken Hoffman

Sophomore pitcher Ryan Danszczak (pictured) limited Delta College (MI) to three hits over the final five innings and LCCC’s excellent defense led the Commodores to a 4-2 triumph in the second game of a doubleheader at Delta College (MI) on Sunday, April 29.  Danszczak notched his first win of the season with a complete game, six hitter and allowed just one earned run.

Delta led 2-1 after two innings, but LCCC countered with RBI singles from sophomore first baseman Nate Colbert in the first,  freshman center fielder Noah Henderson and freshman shortstop Jess Barrios in the two-run fourth and Danszczak in the seventh for the final 4-2 margin.  Danszczak helped his cause with two hits in four at-bats and freshman right fielder Justin Ciccone added two hits in three trips to the plate to pace LCCC’s nine-hit game.
 
Defense may have saved the day in the fourth inning when the Pioneers led off with a double and a walk.  Then a fly ball to left was caught by sophomore Nick Bene who proceeded to throw out the runner attempting to advance to third base.  Barrios robbed the next batter with a diving stop at shortstop and threw out the runner at first, ending the threat.
 
The Commodores’ infield then turned a double play after a lead-off single in the bottom of the fifth inning.

 
In the first game, LCCC designated hitter Colbert knocked in three runs with a a pair of singles in three official trips to the plate.  Sophomore third baseman Dalton Welty was a perfect 4-for-4 with four singles and an RBI.  Barrios added a double and two singles in four at-bats as part of a 13-hit attack.  Barrios went 4-for-6 plus two walks during the twin-bill.
 
But in the third inning, Delta scored four runs on just two singles.  The Pioneers were aided by a walk, an error and three batters hit-by-pitch, turning a 2-1 Commodores’ lead into a 5-2 Pioneers’ advantage.  The Pioneers added two runs in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit.  A walk and two LCCC errors led to the pair of unearned runs accounting for the final score of 7-4.
 
The Commodores have now won two and lost two versus Delta during the season and will face the Pioneers again in the NJCAA Region 12 playoff on March 11-13 at Sprenger Stadium.
 
LCCC is 13-18 to date and will play at Community College of Allegheny County South on Wednesday, May 2, in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
 
 

Edison State CC Out-Slugs LCCC, 14-8 in the Opener; Slips Past the Commodores, 3-2, in Eight Innings in the Nightcap

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Nate Colbert

 

by Ken Hoffman
 
The Edison State Community College baseball team captured a well-played, hard-fought doubleheader from Lorain County Community College on Saturday, April 28, at The Pipeyard in Lorain, 14-8, and 3-2 in eight innings.  
 
The Commodores nearly earned a nightcap victory over the NJCAA, D-II Chargers as they held a 2-1 lead after five innings.  LCCC took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on RBI singles from sophomore left fielder Nick Bene and sophomore first baseman Nate Colbert (pictured).  It stayed that way until ESCC tied the game in the sixth, forcing an extra inning.  The Chargers scored on a suicide squeeze bunt in the eighth and Edison freshman Cooper Denney pitched a complete game, holding off LCCC in the bottom of the eighth with runners on first and second to secure the 3-2 win.
 
Colbert and sophomore catcher Tyler LaGuardia each led an eight-hit attack with a pair of singles.  Sophomore pitcher Nate Bonacuse gave LCCC a chance by pitching a strong, complete game against the heavy-hitting Chargers, spreading out 10 hits over eight innings while striking out a half dozen and walking just three.
 
Edison took charge early in the first game, scoring four runs on five hits in the opening inning.  LCCC rallied with four runs in the third frame to come within a 9-6 deficit.  The inning was highlighted by three walks and an RBI double by freshman shortstop Jesse Barrios.  The Commodores trailed 10-7 after four, but Edison tallied in each of the first six innings to pull away, 14-8.  
 
Colbert was 2-for-3 with two RBI’s, giving him four hits in seven at-bats for the day.  Bonacuse also had a pair of hits in three trips to the plate.  Barrios and sophomore second baseman Richard Vandervort each added two hits in four appearances.
 
 

Commodores Win the Nightcap, 4-3, to Earn Split With Delta College

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by Ken Hoffman

On Wednesday, April 25, the Lorain County Community College baseball squad earned a split in the doubleheader with Delta College by winning the nightcap, 4-3, in eight innings, when freshman shortstop Jesse Barrios opened the inning with a double, moved to third on sophomore left fielder Nick Bene’s bunt single and scored with one out when Bene was intentionally caught in a rundown between first and second.

The game was tied at 1-1 going into the sixth inning.  Delta scored two runs to take as 3-1 lead before LCCC rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runs.  Sophomore right fielder Nate Colbert and sophomore first baseman Ryan Danszczak started the comeback with back-to-back singles.  Sophomore third sacker Dalton Welty’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out.  Then sophomore center fielder Kevin Simon executed a suicide squeeze bunt, scoring Colbert.  The throw to first base, in an effort to retire Simon, was overthrown, allowing Danszczak to sprint home with the winning run.
 
Freshman pitcher Noah Henderson (pictured) pitched eight strong innings to record his first win of the season.  Colbert, Danszczak and Simon supported Henderson with two hits apiece in LCCC’s nine-hit attack.  It was LCCC’s first win over Delta in six games over the last two seasons.
 
“Henderson pitched an amazing game,” Head Coach Bill Frawley noted.  “He spread out nine hits over eight innings and struck out seven.  We also did a good job executing bunts and playing defense, with no errors in the field.” Frawley added.
 
Delta College claimed the first game, 10-4, The score was 2-2 after three innings, but Delta scored in every inning after that to open a 10-2 advantage.  The Commodores tallied twice on Bene’s two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh.
 
Bene was 3-for-6 at the plate, while Colbert and Danszczak were each 3-for-7.  Simon played only the second game and contributed a pair of hits in three at-bats.
 
The Commodores improve to 12-15 for the season and will host Edison CC on Saturday, April 28, at The Pipeyard in Lorain for a 1 pm doubleheader.
 
 

Schoolcraft Cools Off Commodores, 10-2 and 10-1

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Nate Colbert

by Ken Hoffman

Schoolcraft College scored in 10 of 12 innings to sweep the Lorain County Community College baseball squad, 10-2 and 10-1, in Livonia, MI, on Monday, April 23.  Each team collected 17 hits in the doubleheader, but the Commodores couldn’t take advantage of their scoring opportunities while the Ocelots made the most of their hits.

In the opener, Schoolcraft sprinted out to a 6-0 first inning bulge on three hits, three walks and two LCCC errors.  It was 8-0 before LCCC scored a run in the third and another in the fourth.  The Commodores’ nine hits were led by a pair of hits each from freshman right fielder Noah Henderson, sophomore first baseman Nate Colbert (pictured) and sophomore second baseman Nate Bonacuse. Sophomore pitcher Ryan Danszczak took the loss (0-5).
 
In the second game, Schoolcraft scored in every inning and opened a 5-0 lead before LCCC managed its lone run of the game in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Colbert, scoring freshman shortstop Jesse Barrios who doubled to start the inning. Colbert provided three singles in three plate appearances, giving him him a five-hit day in six at-bats. He raised his batting average by 35 points to .390. Sophomore center fielder Gavin Taulbee added two singles in two plate appearances.  Sophomore pitcher Dalton Welty was the losing pitcher, evening his record at 2-2.
 
The Commodores, now 11-14 for the season, will host D-III Region 12 opponent Delta College on Wednesday, April 25, in a 2 pm doubleheader at Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH