The GCC baseball team traveled to Cocoa Beach, FL to kick off their 2008 spring season. The team played a total of 12 games in eight days.
During the first day of the trip, the team lost their first game to a club team, Ontario Blue Jays, but bounced back and beat DI Hagerstown CC 3-1. The team was led by pitcher Andre Kinder (Albion, NY) who pitched six strong innings allowing one unearned run on three hits and three walks, while striking out ten batters.
The following day the Cougars knocked off both opponents, Northland CC and Thornhill Academy. Playing well against Northland CC was Alejandro Gonzalez (Valencia, VEN) with a grand slam in the fifth, Chris Page (Batavia, NY) allowed one hit and struck out five in four innings pitched, and Nate Parrino (Brockport, NY) went two for four with a double. The team came up big against Thornhill Academy with 13 hits and nine runs scored. Individually, Paul Maza (Valencia, VEN) went three four and Parrino was one for one with a triple and three RBI’s.
On the third day of the trip, the team knocked off North Iowa, who went into the game 10-1, but due to errors were defeated by Prairie State CC the next game. Leading the way for GCC during the North Iowa game was Mike McGuillivray (Mississigua, ON) with a strong pitching performance. He allowed four hits, one run, while striking out six batters, in seven innings. Hitting well for the Cougars was Taylor Castrillo (Sarnia, ON) (two for two) and Kinder (two for three).
After a day off, the team came back on March 17, 2008 and dropped two games to Chesapeake CC and Camden County CC. Getting two hits for the team vs. Chesapeake were Dominic Garcia (Buffalo, NY), Felix Hernandez (Guatire, VEN), and Parrino. Chad Blackmon (Rochester, NY) hit his first homerun during this game. Against Camden County CC, Blackmon went three for four with a double and Page had a pinch hit double scoring two runs.
The team split with a win and loss the following day. Page got his second win of the season against Illinois Valley CC. He pitched five innings allowing three hits, no walks, while striking out seven batters. Page also stepped up at the plate hitting two homeruns with four RBI’s. In the loss to Miami Hamilton College, Page once again hit well, hitting his third homerun in just two games. Maza and Fedor Herrera (Caracas, VEN) added a homerun each while Matt Laporte (Westfield, NY) had two hits.
On the last day of their spring trip, the GCC Cougars lost their first to an elite Canadian club team, Academie Baseball Canada, and ended their trip with a victory over No. 6 Massasoit CC. Bryan Griswold (Woodstock, ON) took the loss, but had six strike-outs and only allowed two walks. McGuillivray led the team in their win that day. He gave up five hits and two walks while striking out ten batters. Kinder hit a triple in the first inning and scored the first run to start the game and Parrino finished the game with the winning RBI double.
After a successful spring trip, the team looks forward to beginning regional play back in NY. The team will play about 45 games before competing in the NJCAA Region III tournament, which they will host again at Dwyer Stadium, beginning on May 9, 2008.