Left to right: Patrick Puentes (Holy Cross) and Tyler Decker (Jefferson CC) both hit for the cycle on Sunday, April 7. Photos courtesy HC athletics/JCC athletics
Larry Balkwill (Siena) of the Watertown Wizards was the first player in the history of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League to hit for the cycle of when he accomplished the feat on June 30, 2011 against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles at East Field. This past Sunday, April 7, two of Balkwill’s former 2011 Watertown teammates, Patrick Puentes (Holy Cross) and Tyler Decker (Jefferson C.C.), each hit for the cycle just hours apart on the same day.
Decker, a sophomore first baseman at NJCAA Division III Jefferson Community College, hit for the cycle in the opening game of an NJCAA Region III doubleheader against Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. Puentes, a senior outfielder with the College of the Holy Cross, recorded his cycle in the night cap of a Patriot League twin bill at Lafayette College. Both Puentes and Decker finished their cycle games with six RBI.
The offensive fireworks began at Monroe Community College’s Tribunes Field. Decker went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and six RBI to lead JCC to a 10-8 victory over MCC in eight innings. Decker collected four of his six overall RBI in his final two at-bats. The JCC sophomore launched a three-run home run in the sixth to erase a 5-3 MCC advantage. The home run was part of a five-run outburst in the frame. The Adams, N.Y., native returned to the plate in the eighth and provided a key insurance tally with an RBI double that pushed JCC to a 10-8 lead; the two-base hit also completed Decker’s cycle.
Through 18 games played, the Jefferson first baseman is batting .411 with a team high 24 RBI. He is tied for the team in doubles (five), second in batting average and hits (23) and third in triples (three).
Patrick Puentes began his super Sunday at the plate against Lafayette with a three-run home run in the first game of a doubleheader in Easton, Pa. The Crusaders defeated the Leopards 11-5. The East Greenbush, N.Y., native continued his assault on Lafayette pitching in the night cap. Puentes drilled an RBI double in the top of the first and then belted a solo home run in the third. The senior opened up a four-run fifth inning with a lead-off single; he eventually came around to score. Puentes returned to the plate in the sixth and slammed a two-run home run, his second of the game and third of the day. The Holy Cross leftfielder capped off his cycle in the seventh inning with a two-run triple into right field. He scored on a wild pitch momets later to give Holy Cross a 15-3 lead.
Puentes finished the second game of the Lafayette doubleheader 5-for-5 with two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored. For the twin bill, the senior went 7-for-8 with three home runs and nine RBI. The senior finished a six-game week for Holy Cross (Apr. 1-7) with a .455 batting average and 11 RBI. He was selected as one of three Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Puentes was also chosen as the Patriot League Player of the Week and the ECAC Division I Player of the Week. Heading into this weekend’s games, Puentes leads the Crusaders and the Patriot League overall with six home runs.