LARGO, Md. – Ryan Faircloth (Wade, N.C./Cape Fear) capped an incredible six-run rally in the last two innings with a walk-off single to propel top-seeded Prince George's Community College past No. 4 Butler County Community College 6-5 in 10 innings in the first round of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XX Baseball Tournament on Sunday.
After Bay To (Philadelphia, Pa./Neumann) trumped a five-run ninth with a cue shot ball that bounced to the right of the first baseman to score two runs and tie the game at 5, Kilian Bloat (Libery, N.Y./Liberty) reached on an error to start the bottom of the extra frame and moved to second on a balk. Faircloth, who had the bunt sign on for the first two pitches, was given the green light and knocked a shot down the left field line to bring home Bloat with the decisive run and send the Owls' (29-12-1) players onto the field for a walk-off celebration. With the win, Prince George's will play second-seed Montgomery on Monday at 11 a.m. for the chance to advance to the NJCAA Division III Region XX Championship Game with a victory.
Prince George's was held scoreless for 8.1 innings after the Pioneers' (4-7) Jeremy Moorhead held the Owls at bay for the first eight innings, allowing no runs on four hits with four strikeouts before the ninth inning.
Dakota McFadden (Largo, Md./Heide Trask [N.C.]) walked to open the ninth before Harold Marte (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) singled down the left field line. With one out, Faircloth singled to right center to load the bases and Quentin Rohrbaugh (Largo, Md./Sherando [Va.]) coaxed a bases loaded walk to bring home McFadden with the first run. Brandon Crosby (Richmond, Va./Atlee, Mechanicsville) then greeted the new pitcher with a line-drive single to center to plate Marte and Faircloth and cut the margin to 5-3. After Crosby stole second and Dwayne Coleman (Lothian, Md./Southern) walked, To hit a soft-liner cue shot that evaded the first baseman and went into right field to allow Rohrbaugh and Crosby come home to even the score at 5. Prince George had the bases loaded with one out, but a foul out and a fly out ended the threat to sent the game to extra innings where Faircloth sent the top seed into the next round with his clutch hit.
Crosby paced the Owls with three hits, two RBIs, two stolen bases and a run scored while Faircloth tallied two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Marte registered two hits and a run scored, and To had a hit and two RBIs in the winning effort.
Colten Cavalero paced Butler with two hits, an RBI and a run scored while Bryan Peterson added three hits and a run scored and Jeff Smolen had a hit and two RBIs in the loss.
Both teams were searching for runs in the first five innings of the game before the Pioneers broke through with three runs in the sixth and two more in the eighth.
Aaron Marterella started the scoring with an RBI single in the sixth before Smolen came through with a two-out two-run single to right field for a 3-0 lead.
Butler added two runs in the eighth on a throwing error and a two-out run scoring single to increase its advantage to five runs. The Pioneers then seemed destined to put Prince George's into the loser's bracket, but the Owls started to hoot it in the ninth and rally for the come-from-behind 6-5 victory in 10 innings.
Kevin Korneick (Largo, Md./Woodbridge [Va.]) pitched the final two innings, including a 1-2-3 final frame to earn his fourth win of the year.
Montgomery defeated No. 3 CCAC-South in the first game of the day 13-3 in five innings while CCAC-South came back to down Butler County 13-3 in six innings to advance to play on Monday.
Prince George's and Montgomery will kick off day two of the NJCAA Division III Region XX Baseball Tournament at 11 a.m. on Monday. CCAC-South awaits the loser of the Owls-Raptors game in an elimination game 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.