(Courtesy Doug DeBiase, CACC Assistant Commissioner)
(The following is the third part of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) 10th Anniversary Retrospective Series on Felician College Athletics. Part three looks back at one of the school's most treasured moments – baseball winning the 2014 CACC Championship – over the past 10 years since the CACC became an active NCAA Division II conference. Part one detailed the amazing career of men's basketball great Devon Young, while part two remembered one of the greatest teams in conference history, 2007 men's cross country.)
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (February 17, 2015) – Head Coach Chris Langan and the Felician College baseball program had become familiar with this day before.
The final day of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Baseball Championship Tournament represents a collection of the conference's best teams in the sport.
It is a day the program had been honored to be a part of in the past, but at the same time there was a feeling of disappointment. While the Golden Falcons were considered one of the better programs in the CACC for the last several years; they at no time could claim the designation as being the best, as they had come up just short in previous tournament finals – especially in 2006 and 2012.
The 2014 Felician baseball team awoke on the morning of Championship Saturday in last year's CACC Tournament knowing what had happened in the past. It would have been easy to let doubt creep in on that day, especially considering the Golden Falcons were facing Wilmington University in the afternoon's final, as the Wildcats were the three-time defending league champions.
The 2014 Golden Falcons, however, were determined on writing their own history. And instead of just standing at the doorstep as it had in year's past, Felician smashed the door down and defeated the Wildcats, 8-3, to claim the CACC Championship for the first time in program history.
Felician went 3-0 in the conference tournament to claim the title, including a 3-2 win over Post University in the double-elimination tournament's first day (May 8), followed by a thrilling come-from-behind 10-9 triumph over Dominican College in 10 innings on day two (May 9). The win over Dominican set up the championship showdown with WilmU a day later.
The championship final was scoreless through the first three innings, but then the fireworks began in the top of the fourth when Brennan Price ripped a two-run double down the right-field line scoring Jay Collazo and Joe Petosa. The run scored by Petosa was one of his many highlights on the day, as during the contest he became the program's all-time hits leader while eventually being named the most valuable player of the championship.
Wilmington battled back by scratching out a run in both the fourth and fifth innings to knot the game at 2-2. However, the Golden Falcons exploded with four runs in the sixth, beginning with Petosa roping a run-scoring double to right and capped with a two-run single by Korey McGuiness.
Felician went up 7-2 an inning later following Petosa's RBI double to left-center, and the Wildcats could never recover. John Holland tossed the final four innings to nail down the save while scattering a run and five hits over that time including striking out six without yielding a walk. Jack Fowler picked up the win in relief for his second victory of the tournament.
When the final out was recorded, a huge celebration erupted from the Felician dugout spilling onto the field as finally the Golden Falcons were now at the summit of the CACC in the sport of baseball. The victory came in Felician's seventh trip to the CACC Tournament under Langan, who was in his 11th year guiding the program.
Felician's win also locked up the CACC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament. The Golden Falcons turned in a solid showing at the regional by eliminating defending regional champion Franklin Pierce University, 5-0, on the second day of competition, and ultimately finished in fourth place out of six teams.
In addition to winning the CACC Championship, Felician was not just the top team in the CACC, but could now rightfully take its place as being considered one of the top teams throughout the East Region.
The struggles of coming up just short in the CACC Championship were now a thing of the past, as the entire program (coaches, administrators, current and former players) could bask in championship glory. Even more important, the title helped illustrate the bright future that lies ahead for Felician College Baseball.
ABOUT THE CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician College, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
ABOUT THE CACC 10th ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE SERIES
During the 2014-15 athletic season, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary as an active NCAA Division II conference. As part of this year-long celebration, CACCAthletics.org is conducting a Retrospective Series featuring each of the league's 14 member schools. During the months of February and March, each school will have its own day on the CACC website, as a student-athlete, team, and top moment from the last 10 years will be recognized by the conference. Each school's athletic administration determined the top student-athlete, team, and moment for the retrospective.