EXTRA SPECIAL: Oakton wins first NJCAA national title in extra innings

Photo courtesy of NJCAA.org
Photo courtesy of NJCAA.org

GREENEVILLE, TENN. - In their first ever appearance on the national stage, the Oakton Community College baseball team put together an impressive run that was capped by a 14-11 win in 13 innings to claim the programs first national championship at the 2018 NJCAA Division III World Series. The #4-seeded Owls dethroned four-time defending national champ and #3-seeded Tyler Junior College despite a numerous weather delays and a day off between games one and two of the championship series.

Oakton's only deficit of the game was a 1-0 tally in the second, but two runs in the third and three in the fourth put the Owls on top until Apaches tied the game with two runs in the ninth to force extra innings. Both teams scored two runs in the tenth and 11th innings before Oakton put the game away with a three spot in the 13th. Marco Romero scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch and Alexander Crinigan picked up the win with a scoreless inning in the bottom half.

The Owls averaged 8.6 runs in their five games at the tournament. They join Joliet Junior College ('94, '08, '12) as the only programs from Illinois and Region IV to win the DIII championship.

Freshman pitcher Tommy Gertner was named World Series Tournament Most Valuable Player after striking out a dozen batters over 14-plus innings in a pair of wins. Joining Gertner on the All-Tournament Team for the Owls is sophomore infielder Christopher Broccolino, sophomore catcher Pablo Custodio, freshman outfielder Marco Romero, and freshman infielder Dan Sullivan. Bill Fratto was named the Coach of the Tournament.

The Owls closed the season with a record of 44-17.