By Shaun Spicer
CCC Journalism Program
On a cold, windy day that felt more like winter than spring, the Camden County College Cougars beat the Cumberland County College Dukes 4-1.
The Dukes tried to bring the intimidation factor by loudly cheering and rooting for each player who went up to bat, but that didn’t bother CCC pitcher Fran DiRubbo.
DiRubbo, a sophomore from Voorhees majoring in business, picked up his second win of the year. DiRubbo pitched six innings, allowed three hits with one being a solo homerun, walked six and struck out one on the day.
As a whole, the pitching staff was only able to get three strikeouts, but that didn’t matter as the Cougars played sound defense throughout the afternoon in a full team effort.
Coach Ken Bouillon was pleased with his team’s performance. After the game, Bouillon said “Today we showed we can play with the best teams.”
Cumberland County College is ranked fourth in the nation for Division III of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).
Asked who was the player of the game, Bouillon struggled for an answer due to the total team effort, but eventually decided Brett Kuchera deserved the honors.
Kuchera, a freshmen from Collingswood majoring in criminal justice, went two for three, including a triple, with a run scored and a stolen base. Kuchera almost had to leave the game during the bottom of the fifth after he rolled his ankle while beating a throw to first.
Kuchera laid on the ground for a bit, but gingerly got up. After the game, Kuchera said his ankle felt terrible. Kuchera was effective despite the pain as an error in the seventh allowed him to turn a single into a triple.
During the top of the ninth, pitcher Tyler Fletcher allowed two Duke players to reach base. Bouillon, worried about preserving the three run lead, called in freshmen Kyle Harris to close the game.
Bouillon said that Harris was the leader of the pitching staff despite being a freshmen.
“As soon as Tyler let two runners get on base, Kyle motioned to me that he wanted in,” said Bouillon.
Harris, a freshmen computer science major, made quick work of the baserunners, getting the next batter to hit into a double play and the final batter to fly out for his first save of the season. Harris said he’s been improving all year thanks to the help of his coaches, who helped him with his game and in the weight room this past fall.
Kyle’s confidence has grown throughout the season as he’s gotten better, similar to his team as a whole, which he says is his inspiration.
The Cougars are still waiting for their positioning, but they’ve made the Region XIX Regional Tournament.