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Late-Season Surge Lifts RCC Baseball Team into Playoffs

Late-Season Surge Lifts RCC Baseball Team into Playoffs

Coach John Greeley (right) and the RCC baseball team qualified for the Region XV playoffs.

DATE: May 11, 2017

Four Hawks named to all-Region second team

RAMAPO – Facing the prospect of missing out on the Region XV playoffs, the Rockland Community College baseball team ended its regular season with a bang. The Hawks won their final six conference games to claim the final spot in the postseason tournament.

Rockland finished off a four-game sweep of Orange on Monday with a 9-5 win, clinching the fourth seed in the region with a 10-10 record in conference play. “Every kid on this team works very hard,” said head coach John Greeley. “They’ve really come together down the stretch.”

The Hawks will face top seed Westchester in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. That game was shifted from Friday to Thursday due to the expected heavy rain this weekend.

Weather affecting the schedule is hardly anything new for RCC this spring. Snow and rain forced the cancellation of 19 scheduled games, and several others were postponed or moved.

When they have been able to take the field, the Hawks have been hitting the ball well, compiling an impressive .323 team batting average. Rockland’s hottest hitter has been second baseman Patrick Bateman, a Pearl River HS graduate, who has a .416 average and also leads the team in RBI with 30 and stolen bases with 13. For his performance, Bateman was one of four Hawks named this week to the all-Region second team.

Also receiving all-Region recognition: Brandon Respress, a grad of North Rockland HS, who is hitting .333 while playing tremendous defense in center field; outfielder Jared Campione, from Moore Catholic HS in Staten Island, who has a team-leading .513 on-base percentage; and pitcher Vincent Lea, a Spring Valley HS alumnus, who has a 4-2 record, with three complete game victories in conference play.

Greeley cited defense as a team strength, and four Rockland players also received Gold Gloves from Region XV: Respress; catcher Austin Preisel, from Clarkstown North HS; first baseman Bryan Borruso, a Tappan Zee HS graduate; and shortstop Brian Rotella, from North Rockland HS.

Even the RCC players singled out for their fielding prowess have performed well at the plate. Rotella is hitting .366 with 27 RBI and leads the team in doubles, triples and home runs. Borruso has posted a .374 average with 21 RBI, while Priesel is hitting .333 with 19 RBI. Greeley also praised the contributions of third baseman/pitcher Ivan Rodriguez, from North Rockland HS, who has a .359 average and 19 RBI while posting a 2-1 record on the mound.

“We’re getting good pitches to hit, we’re more patient at the plate,” Greeley said. “After all the weather problems, guys are really getting their rhythm.”

Greeley knows his Rockland squad is an underdog entering the Region XV tournament, but said his team comes in playing its best ball. “Our pitching’s rested and our kids are ready to play,” he stated. The second set of games in the tournament will be played Friday at Sullivan County College, with the champion likely to be crowned either Sunday or Monday once the weather clears.