Roadrunners’ baseball again takes national NJCAA title

Courtesy of the National Junior College Athletic Association
Celebrating their NJCAA Division III World Series win on May 29 were players on the Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester Roadrunners baseball team, with head coach Rob Valli and assistant coaches Greg Chew and Austin Darrow.

Great baseball is a tradition for the Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester Roadrunners, and it continued this year with the school’s ninth national title.

The team’s hitters crushed the ball, its pitchers shut down quality teams and its defense was nearly flawless during four World Series games. In the final matchup on May 29 in Auburn, New York, the Roadrunners crushed Dallas College-Eastfield, 18-3, to take the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Championship for the second straight year.

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Leading the offense were Ernesto Polanco, with five hits and five RBIs, and Caden Dulin of Williamstown, who had three hits and three runs scored and was named the World Series’ most valuable player. Also contributing were Juan Peralta, who banged out three hits, and Gavin Degnan, who knocked in three runs on three hits.

On the mound for the Roadrunners were Patrick Taney of Cherry Hill and Mason Dobbs of Haddon Heights, who combined for 10 strikeouts and allowed just two hits.

“Congratulations to the team on their remarkable achievement,” school officials said. “RCSJ baseball coach Rob Valli, who was named national coach of the year this week, guided his Roadrunners to a second straight national title and the third overall in his illustrious career.”

The team finished the season with a record of 51-8, and outscored their four World Series’ opponents 40-5. In the semifinal game, the Roadrunners defeated Dallas College-Richland, 8-2, with great pitching and defense. Thomas Goldberg struck out 14 hitters and allowed just three hits for the victory.

Pacing the offense was Max D’Alessandro, a Lenape High School alumnus, who hit his 19th home run this season. Dulin and Peralta had three hits each, and Degnan and Wyatt Hoffman both had two.

The 2024 team roster included Polanco, Dulin, Peralta, Degnan, Dobbs, Taney, Goldberg, D’Alessandro, Hoffman, Andrew Marx, Andrew Lombardi, Ethan Evans, Edwin Hernandez, Gabriel Reyes, Ethan Price, Patrick Karbach, Angel Martinez, Doug King, Peter Dempster, Lucas Hampel, Joey Ruffino, Giancarlo Lamberti, RJ Mustaro, Anthony Magliozzi and Enzo Descalzi.

Valli was joined by assistant coaches Greg Chew and Gloucester City High School alumnus Austin Darrow, a pitcher who played for the Lions.

When the team returned to the Rowan campus in Deptford on May 30, the players received a resounding “welcome home” from County Commissioner Jim Jefferson and Rowan employees, staff, administrators and students.

The Roadrunners have now won national championships in 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2023 and 2024. They have also won 27 NJCAA Region 19 District Team Championships, including 17 this century. Since the 1970s through 2022, 53 players were named NJCAA All-Americans.

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