Confident Challengers Prepare for Season Finale Showdown with Sinclair

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John Izquierdo delivers a pitch during a game. Photo by Emily Rohm

By: Robby Fenbers

Of all the uncertainty going into this season, there was one thing the Challengers knew wouldn’t change, their toughest opponent would be Sinclair.

The Challengers have held their own all season in the OCCAC conference (11-9) and sit in 2nd place behind Sinclair Community College. Having already shattered their 12 win total from last year with 32 wins and currently on a 7 game winning streak, Coach Agona has the boys believing. “We have the right guys that we feel like can compete with anybody we play against,” says Agona. He has watched his players make tremendous strides this season, especially with the team’s chemistry, which doomed them last year.

The Challengers will need all of their firepower including Ben Szymczak, who has 5 Home Runs, 11 Doubles and 29 RBI’S, if they are going to keep up with Sinclair. The Tartan Pride as they are known, have won 6 of the last 7 OCCAC championships, including last year’s title. They have continued their championship play into this season as they sit with a 41-17 record (18-2) in conference.

Having already faced Sinclair this season, Coach Agona observed the teams play in the four game series in early April. “The first game they took it to us pretty good, the second and third game was competitive but we made a lot of mistakes that allowed them to pull away and win those games,” said Agona, mistakes that the Challengers will surely have to avoid come May 1st and 2nd. In their final game of the series the Challengers came out on a mission and took down Sinclair; perhaps sending a message that they would be ready next time they meet. “We played our game, we executed and got a good pitching performance and were able to beat those guys,” said Agona.

The games will take place Friday at 3pm followed by a second game at 5:30pm. Saturday at 1:00pm followed by a second game at 3:30pm. Come down to Mottl Field and watch as the Challengers wrap up their impressive regular season in this conference showdown.

The Challengers have an impressive 20-4 record at home, where they will gladly welcome the Tartan Pride.

Postseason notes: Since Sinclair has already clinched the regular season title; they automatically advance to the NJCAA Region 12 District Tournament in Battle Creek, MI. The tournament will take place Wed. 5/13/15- Sun. 5/17/15

The rest of the OCCAC conference in addition to Vincennes University in Indiana will play in NJCAA Sub-District Tournament hosted by Tri-C. This tournament will take place Fri. 5/8/15- Sun. 5/10/15.         

All stats courtesy of OCCAC.ORG

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