GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — If you were born the last time Surry Community College had earned a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III World Series, you would be old enough to vote now. From that point of view, the Knights’ trip was going to be a success no matter what happened.
Surry’s run at a national championship ended on Sunday afternoon at the hands of Northampton Community College from Pennsylvania. The Spartans broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning, benefiting from a Surry error to take a 3-2 lead. The Knights gave up five runs in the eighth inning and could get no closer, falling 8-2 in the elimination game held at Pioneer Park in Greeneville, Tennessee.
Surry starter Tyler Lundy (Grayson County HS/Galax) pitched seven innings allowing only three runs on ten hits. Lundy struck out four while walking only one. The Surry bullpen allowed five earned runs in one inning of relief. Offensively, Jordan Huntley (Butler HS/Matthews) paced the Knights with two hits including a double. The sophomore centerfielder also added a walk and collected the only RBI for Surry. Sawyer Davis (Starmount HS/Boonville) added two hits, including a triple, while Hunter Travis (South Rowan HS/Landis) and James Davis (Cape Fear HS/Fayetteville) notched the only other Surry hits.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, the experience that we had in the World Series was incredible,” said Surry coach Tim Collins. “From our host family to the banquet to playing live on television, this is an experience that our players and coaches will always remember.”
Surry opened World Series play against the nation’s No. 1-ranked and top-seeded team in the tournament, Cumberland County College from New Jersey. The Dukes entered with a record of 53-6 and defeated Sorry 14-5 in a game much closer than the final score indicated.
After trailing 3-0 after the first inning, the Knights chipped away at the lead and closed the gap to 3-2 after five innings. Cumberland scored four runs over the next three innings, but Surry countered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to get within 7-5 of the Dukes. The Knights would get no closer, however, as Cumberland added seven runs in the top of the ninth. Surry starter Matthew Lambert (North Stanly HS/Richfield) settled down after allowing three runs in the first. Lambert worked seven innings, allowing six earned runs off six hits. The sophomore right-hander walked two and notched five strikeouts. The Surry offense was led by Hunter Travis, who collected three hits in three at-bats while also drawing a walk. Travis also scored a run and collected an RBI. Huntley, Chase Snyder (Reagan HS/Pfafftown), A.J. Canine (Arundel HS/Crofton, MD), and Daniel Thompson (North Lincoln HS/Denver, NC) each added a hit. Huntley, Snyder, and Canine each scored a run while Thompson drove in two runs.
“Being on the national stage was great for our program,” added Collins. “Overall, we had a tremendous season and hopefully we can build on our success. The excitement that we created on campus and around the community is something in which our players should be proud. Finishing in the top eight in the country is nothing to be disappointed about.”
Surry finished the season 29-24-1 overall, making its first NJCAA World Series appearance since 1998. The Knights also captured the Region X regular-season championship, Region X Tournament championship, and finished as District runner-up before grabbing an at-large berth to the national championships.
Surry also garnered several individual awards, placing nine members on the All-Region teams. In addition, Huntley was named Region X Player of the Year while Lambert earned Region X Pitcher of the Year. Collins was named Region X Coach of the Year.