The TJC athletic program had been looking all school year for its 50th national championship.
The volleyball, men’s soccer teams and both tennis teams all finished as the national runner-up.
So down to one last strike, so to speak, it was only fitting that the baseball team made the history that every TJC team desired to achieve.
Playing the No. 1 team in the country for the second time in three days, the Apaches weathered a two and a half-hour rain delay and defeated Cumberland (N.J.) 6-3 Wednesday night at Mike Carter Field.
When the last out was recorded, the team rushed the pitcher’s mound and celebrated its first national title since 2007 and the school’s 50th championship.
“It is hard to put into words,” TJC Head Coach Doug Wren said.
Cumberland took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Apaches looked ready to respond in the bottom of the inning when Zane Otten tripled with one out.
But with the next batter at the plate, the rain began to fall. The teams waited almost two and a half hours before removing the tarp and beginning play again.
When play resumed, tournament MVP Anthony Soriano singled home Otten to tie the game at 1-1.
The Dukes retook the lead with a run in the top of the third, but the Apaches again answered in the bottom of the frame.
Tim Hunter walked with one out and scored on a triple by Cody Broussard to tie the game at 2-2. Broussard scored on an error to give TJC a 3-2 lead and one the Apaches would not relinquish.
TJC took a 4-2 lead in the fourth when Hunter doubled home Connor Wyre and then made it 6-2 in the sixth when both Hunter and Gunnar Quick had RBI singles.
Cumberland added one more run in the top of the ninth but the Apaches closed the door, and let the celebration begin.
“This has got to be the best experience I have been a part of in my life,” Soriano said. “I am speechless. I am still in shock.”
TJC finished the season with a 42-7 record and never lost in the postseason, sweeping its way through both the District C Tournament and the NJCAA Division III World Series.
It was only fitting that the Apaches won this year’s World Series. The team won it in 2007, the first of eight years it was held at Mike Carter Field. And now the last, as the tournament is moving to North Carolina next season.