While it was not the ending the Red Dragons had hoped for, they did not go down without making a splash in this years National Club Baseball Association DII Playoffs.
Cortland made the playoffs as the four seed and faced off against one seed (#3 in the nation) University of New Hampshire. The Wildcats jumped on the board first by pushing across two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
The Red Dragons struggled to find their rhythm offensively until a leadoff walk by Ethan Juarez in the fourth inning was followed by a single from Sam Maxwell to put runners on first and second for the top of the order. Matt Czeczotka came up big with a triple to score both runners, tying the game at two. Richie Capria then hit a double to bring in Czeczotka. Ali Ghriaz kept the offensive outburst going with a single to score Capria from second base.
Cortland cruised to a 4-2 win to place themselves in the winner’s bracket and face off against division rival, SUNY Binghamton.
Binghamton once again proved to be Cortland’s kryptonite as the Bearcats cruised to a 7-1 victory. Demetri Sanchez had his way with the Cortland offense again and allowed no hits through six innings of play. Cortland was once again down starters Sam Maxwell and Ryan Faro due to injuries. The Red Dragons never found their rhythm at the plate and committed costly errors in the field that led to four unearned runs.
This loss put Cortland in an elimination game in a rematch against New Hampshire.
In this heated rematch, Cortland came out flat only producing two hits through four innings. The game was a pitchers duel until the fourth inning when UNH exploded for five runs. Cortland finally found life in the top of the fifth inning and pushed three runs across to keep the game interesting. However, they failed to produce another hit after that and lost by the score of 6-3.
While the season did not end with the championship hopes of traveling to Kansas, the Red Dragons made playoffs for the first time in club history. What was once a laughable program has turned into an elite contender with plans of only getting better. While the team loses a few starters, they are bringing more returners back than previous and look to build off this highly successful season.