Panthers fall short of postseason play


The Tompkins Cortland Community College Panthers baseball team received the unfortunate news that it would not be qualifying for postseason play, despite a late push to end the regular season.

The heartbreaking news came late last week for the Panthers, who were one of the hottest team in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III West Division in the final weeks of the season. The team had picked up eight wins in its final 10 games and ending the campaign on a three-game winning streak.

The season did not start out the way the Panthers would have liked, as the team found itself searching for runs of its own while fighting off the powerful offense of CCBC (Community College of Baltimore County) Catonsville. The Panthers dropped all four games of the two-day series by a combined score of 63-7.

The 0-4 start shocked the Panthers into attack mode, as they rattled off a pair of wins over Kingsborough Community College to get themselves into a positive mindset. Over the span of the next six games, the Panthers notched four consecutive wins, giving early season hopes of making the postseason.
The weather in early April proved pesky for the Panthers’ hopes of getting games played as scheduled, but when the schedule finally got underway they weren’t able to string more than a win or two together.

Then, a three-game stretch that saw the Panthers dominate SUNY Broome Community College 26-3 and 15-1 and outlast Onondaga Community College 5-4, showed promising signs. The success would be short-lived, as the Panthers fell into a slump, winning just one game, a 4-2 win over Finger Lakes Community College, out of their next six contests.

The final few weeks of the season rolled around and brought a hit-or-miss type of schedule, filled with more postponements and cancellations. The rainy skies did little to phase the Panthers, who entered the home stretch with an 11-16 record.

TC3 opened up its final 10 game stretch with a series split against Genesee Community College.

After a four games series with Erie Community College was canceled, freeing the Panthers to rest over the long weekend, the team stormed by Corning Community College in a four-game home-and-home series, capturing victories in all four contests.

A split of the two-game road series with Onondaga Community College set the Panthers on a course to finish the season with a road series against Jamestown Community College. In both games, the Panthers captured 8-7 victories, moving their record to a strong 19-15.

The final stretch was good enough to raise the Panthers to a fourth-place finish in the West Division standings, lifting the team’s divisional record to 15-10.

In the lineup this season was former Groton Indians standout Austin Skinner. The first-year catcher made a number of impactful appearances for his local team, racking up seven appearances in 2019. In those seven contests, Skinner came to the plate 12 times, recording an at-bat in 10 of those. The Freshman picked up four hits and brought about three RBI to go along with the three runs that he, himself, would score, showing signs of a promising future for the former Groton star.

The Panthers’ program has come a long way from the humbling days of a 6-26 season in 2014. With 2019 being the latest in back-to-back winning seasons, the future success of the program lies in the hands of the next round of Panthers players to fill vacated positions and take the program to postseason play that eluded them this season.


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