Take First JuCo Title
Photos: Above and below, DelTech players celebrate the school's first national baseball championship, while DelTech's Matt Albano (24) holds a Phoenix runner on first base.
Special to Sussex County Online
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MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- The DelTech-Owens baseball team brought a national championship home to Sussex County when it defeated Phoenix (Ariz.) College 3-1 on Thursday, May 31, 2001, to sweep the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series.
The Roadrunners went 4-0 in capturing the program's first national title. DelTech had been to the Series two times before.
The four victories at Millington USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn., completed DelTech's dream season at 40-5. The Roadrunners outscored their Series opponents 23-3. The championship win was their 10th straight in the playoffs and their 27th win in their last 28 games.
Against Phoenix, which DelTech beat 2-0 in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament, Indian River High School graduate Mark Comolli pitched a four-hitter while striking out nine. He also beat Phoenix in the opening game of the Series.
Comolli was named the tournament's most valuable player. Also a pitcher on DelTech's 1998 World Series team, Comolli gave up just one run in 17 1/3 innings in this year's tourney. Against Phoenix, he struck out nine and allowed only four hits in 8 1/3 innings.
In two games against Phoenix, Comolli allowed only six hits and one run and struck out 20 batters.
On Thursday, he needed to quell a ninth inning Phoenix rally. After scoring their only run, the Bears still had the bases loaded with one out, but Brian Elder came in to relive Comolli and induced a ground ball for a game-ending double play from shortstop Tyler Brock to second baseman Derek Haley to first baseman Matt Albano.
The Roadrunners scored their first run in the fifth inning. Brock doubled and scored on a ground out by Nate Husser. Catcher David Engle later singled home Darrell Cheever and Husser with DelTech's final runs.
DelTech reached the championship game with an 11-1 victory over Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College in the winner's bracket final on Tuesday, May 29.
In rising to 39-5, DelTech disposed of Grand Rapids in five innings under the slaughter rule. The Roadrunners actually trailed 1-0 but batted around in the second and third innings to take command with an 11-1 lead.
Jay Balback delivered a three-run double to spark the third inning rally and back the four-hit pitching of Sussex Central High School graduate Travis Timmons. DelTech pitchers have allowed only two runs in the team's three Series wins as the Roadrunners have outscored their opponents 20-2.
Nate Husser went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI while Derek Haley contributed a double and single. DelTech also took advantage of six walks.
DelTech reached the winner's bracket final with a 7-1 victory over Parkland (Ill.) on Sunday, May 27.
Against Parkland, the Roadrunners rode the six-hit pitching of Brian Elder and a two-run home run by Justin Clark to the win.
The Roadrunners trailed 1-0 after a home run by Parkland's Mike Hamby, but they took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with three runs.
A sacrifice fly by Derek Haley scored Jay Balback with DelTech's first run. Clark then belted his two-run blast, which scored Brian Engle, who reached on a single.
The Roadrunners' lead rose to 6-1 on a two-run single by Tyler Brock and another sacrifice fly by Haley. Balback singled in the Roadrunners' final run in the sixth inning.
Elder, meanwhile, struck out five to keep Parkland at bay. He allowed only one hit after the sixth inning in a complete-game performance.
In their Series opener on Saturday, May 26, the Roadrunners, behind the three-hit pitching of Mark Comolli, beat Phoenix (Ariz.) College 2-0.
Comolli, an Indian River High School graduate, struck out 11 of his Arizona opponents in the opening victory Saturday. Now 9-2, Comolli went the distance and struck out the side in the ninth inning.
At the plate, the Roadrunners collected 10 hits but stranded 7 runners. DelTech scored its first run in the third inning when Tyler Brock's single scored Matt Albano.
They scored their other run in the eighth inning when Nate Husser reached base on an infield single, moved to second on a throwing error, and scored on a single by David Engle.
Engle led the Roadrunners with a 3-for-4 effort. Keith Brock went 3-for-3 and Husser delivered two singles.
Other teams in the tournament are Frederick (Md.) Community College, St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, Bevill State Community College of Fayette, Ala., and Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College.
The championship finals begin Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with a second game, if necessary, played Friday at 7:30 p.m.
DelTech reached the series by going undefeated in the Northeast District Tournament the weekend of May 12-13.
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