The Tigers, who entered the CUNYAC Community College Championship game at MCU Park as with an 18-12 record and the second seed, managed to overtake a Bronx Community College squad with late game heroics after trailing all game.
The Tigers entered the ninth inning down 4-3 after trailing since the first. Second baseman John Fitzgerald lifted his Tigers by scoring the game-tying run in the top of the ninth, thanks to an errant throw from the BCC infield.
Fitzgerald also brought home the tie-breaking run in the top of the 11th with a bloop single.
The big bat of catcher Louis Zollo tacked on one more run with a ground rule double, and the team held their ground for a 6-4 victory.
“Honestly, we stayed focused,” said Fitzgerald after the game. “We kind of broke a little bit, but we stuck together and we didn’t give up. We strung together hits and that’s how you win.”
The win marks QCC’s first CUNYAC title since 2013, which also comes after finishing as the runner up to Kingsborough Community College in each of the last two seasons.
The Tigers were also aided by a strong pitching performance from Ryan Sandberg, who completed nine innings and struck out 15 batters while allowing four unearned runs.
“Ryan in my eyes is an absolute gamer,” said QCC head coach Roger Mischel of Sandberg, who had a strong showing in front of Division I scouts. “He’s somebody that every time he goes out there he commands the mound. It’s something that was done very well today, even through the adversity of having to deal with some of the errors.
“That one time I went out there, I let him know what his pitch count was, and he told me that he got me,” he added. “He did get me.”
Sandberg also credited his team with a resilient showing.
“We visualized this game,” he said. “It wasn’t the exact score we thought. We thought it’d be a 5-1 victory, but we were prepared. They just battled and battled and they didn’t want to give up. It meant so much to my sophomores, I have a lot of sophomores, so it was a beautiful thing.”
QCC, who earned a top-25 Division III community college national ranking earlier this season, will now compete in the Regional XV Tournament on Thursday, May 10.