Despite a number of injuries early on, the Tartan Pride closed out the 2017 season with an OCCAC championship and a second place finish in the Region XII tournament. Now, the players and coaches look to go on to the next step in their baseball careers.
The Pride swept a four-game series against Clark State to end April with their record at 37-11.
Next, the team faced Cuyahoga Community College in a four game series to determine the conference champion. In the six team conference, Sinclair and Cuyahoga dominated, with the Pride having a conference record of 14-2 and Cuyahoga going 15-1.
It was a series that saw Sinclair win game one and two, Cuyahoga taking game three and ended with Sinclair clinching the OCCAC championship for the seventh time in nine years.
“I’m very happy that we got back on top of the conference,” Head Coach Steve Dintaman said. “That was one of the goals for this year’s team. This one was an absolute battle and we won it on the final conference game of the season in dramatic fashion. To do it at home, against our rival, it was very special.”
After winning, eleven of the team’s seniors rushed to the University of Dayton arena to participate in their commencement ceremony, some even accepting their diploma in uniform, which Dintaman calls “Icing on the cake.”
This victory earned the Tartans a spot in the Regional XII tournament. They made it to the final round, but fell to Lansing Community College, ending the season with a record of 47-15.
While the team didn’t accomplish all of the goals set at the beginning of the season, Dintaman is more than happy with the success the team had.
“Our goal was to win another regional and compete to win a National Championship this year and I felt like we had the pieces to do that but with all of the adversity we faced, I was very proud of what this group accomplished,” Dintaman said.
“We lost 5 of our top 8 pitchers this year due to injuries and four of those pitchers signed at Division I programs, so they were pretty special arms. There were times when we were very short-handed off the mound. Still, players stepped up and we were able to put together 47 wins and be in the regional final, one win away from the World Series.”
In addition to the conference title, Dintaman earned his 400th win in his 10 year career at Sinclair, as well as winning the OCCAC Coach of the Year award.
Dintaman and his staff aren’t resting on their laurels, as they already have goals in mind for next season and are deep in the recruiting process.
“Our goals are to win the conference, regional and compete to win a National Championship,” Dintaman said. “Those expectations are now set in stone here based on what the program has accomplished. In the last four years, we have won more games than any other NJCAA DII program.” (196)