The Northern Essex Knights went to the NJCAA Division III for the third time ever, and second in as many years, but were unable to bring home a win, dropping their second game to Brookhaven Community College, 9-2.
The Knights threw freshman Zack Beckwith, who has been battling a back injury since the regional playoffs began. Beckwith lasted an inning before his back flared up, allowing four runs.
“With this injury, I was not sure how Iwould do but I wanted to know that I gave my team – and my sophomores -- my 100 percent effort on the field,” said Beckwith. “At the end of the day, I know I did it.
Derek Dolan came in to relieve Beckwith, and the sophomore did a good job of keeping the Knights in the contest. Dolan went 5.1 innings allowing just one earned run. Alex Mears and Daniel Peters each pitched in the game, as well.
Both of NECC’s runs were scored by Dario Medrano, one coming off of an errant pickoff throw and the other from an RBI single from third baseman Tyler Johnson.
Brookhaven’s starter Zack Freeman proved to be as tough matchup for the normally potent NECC lineup. Freeman threw 8.2 innings, allowing 6 hits, one earned run and striking out 6.
The 2012 and 2013 seasons mark the first time Northern Essex took back-to-back trips to the NJCAA World Series, the only other time being in 2006. Alex Mears, Chris Martin, David Cusack, Derek Dolan, Tyler Johnson, and Nick Goodin represented all Northern Essex nationally twice.
“(The two trips) mean everything to me,” said Mears. “I feel like I’ve grown up a lot since I’ve been here (at Northern Essex). It was my dream to play in a college world series, and I’ve been blessed to play in two of them.”