The Giants baseball team earned a bid to the NCAA Division III Regionals in Harwich, Massachusetts. The tournament begins Thursday, with the Championship game on Sunday.
Keystone finished the regular season with its tenth straight Colonial States Athletic Conference title Saturday afternoon.
They are ranked third in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic region.
Keystone will face Mitchell College in its first game, Thursday at 4:30.
Last Friday, on a team filled with talented and experienced seniors, it was a freshman who stole the show in leading Keystone College on Saturday.
After the Giants lost an 8-7 heartbreaker in the first of two championship games against Gwynedd Mercy, freshman Nathan Hinkley went the distance in the nightcap, striking out seven and limiting the Griffins to just five hits as Keystone wrapped up the title with a 4-2 victory.
Bray Curreri was named the tournament’s most valuable player after a great tourney with four hits and three runs scored in Saturday’s action. It was a key defense play, however, that sealed his MVP performance.
In the seventh with Keystone holding on to a 3-2 lead, Curreri made a diving stop on a ground ball and threw out a runner at third base after the Griffins’ Sachel Sciarretta tripled to open the inning.
Curreri’s defensive gem prevented Sciarretta from scoring and Hinkley followed it up with back-to-back strikeouts to swing the momentum back in Keystone’s favor.
Head Coach Jamie Shevchik is looking forward to the team’s trip to Massachusetts. Shevchik coaches the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League.
The Harwich Mariners also compete in the prestigious summer collegiate league, making this a sort of ‘homecoming’ for Shevchik.
“(Harwich) Mariners are in our division, my summer house is three miles from the field,” he said.
Keystone’s associate coach Ryan Smyth is also on staff in Brewster.
Shevchik continued, “We will have a good following at Regionals, and people not from the college will be there supporting our team.”
Though the Giants have not played their first round draw, Mitchell College (30-8) from New London, Connecticut, in recent memory, they are no strangers to each other.
“There are a lot of connections between the two teams,” explained Shevchik. “We have been in Regionals brackets with them two previous times. First was in the New York bracket in 2011, we went on to (win) the World Series that year. Also, we were in the 2016 Regionals bracket at the same time and we went to the collegiate World Series then too. So here we are. But this is our first time actually facing off with Mitchell.”
The Mitchell coach, Travis Beausoleil, has also coached in the Cape Cod League.
Another link between the programs is former Keystone Assistant Coach Scott Kingston went on to become the head coach of Mitchell in 2010.
“We are in a tough regional. We went to New England two years ago and won it to head to the World Series. Hopefully we will have the same luck this year,” said Shevchik.
Penn State-Berks also landed in the bracket. Coach Shevchik says that is a little bit of an advantage, but after being in college baseball for over 20 years, you are bound to make connections.
“The head coach for Penn State-Berks, Justin Konnick, played for me while he was here at Keystone, back when we were still a two-year school. Coach Collins was still here at that time too,” he reflected.
The Harwich Regional is comprised of top seeded Massachusetts Boston, Oswego State, third seeded Giants, Western New England, Ramapo, Mitchell, Suffolk, and Penn State-Berks.
The Giants will head north sometime Wednesday to begin their post season.