Lyons capture fourth-straight conference title
NORTON, Mass. – First-seeded Wheaton College, ranked no.14 overall in the latest D3baseball.com national poll, won its 13th conference title in the 15-year history of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) with a 6-3 victory in the championship game over second-seeded MIT on Saturday evening at Sidell Stadium.
The Lyons (30-10) have earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and will make their 12th appearance in program history at the New England Regionals on Wednesday, May 15 in Harwich, Mass. at Whitehouse Field. MIT (23-11) awaits a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The selection show for the tournament will occur on Sunday, May 12.
At the conclusion of the game, Wheaton senior outfielder Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) was named the NEWMAC Most Outstanding Player for the second-straight season. Ryan batted .500 (6-for-12) in the tournament with four runs scored, two doubles, three RBI, a .538 on-base percentage, a .667 slugging percentage and a perfect fielding percentage in 12 total chances (all put outs). Ryan scored the game-tying run against Coast Guard in a come-from-behind triumph over the Bears in the first game of the NEWMAC Tournament and knocked in a pair of insurance runs versus MIT in game three of the tournament to make the score 10-6 at the time. The Lyons went on to win the contest 11-8.
Senior Frank Holbrook (Middletown, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey School) scattered ten hits over six-and-one-thirds innings pitched, yielded two runs (both earned) one walk and one strikeout to bump his record to 8-1 overall on the season. Freshman Eric Dumas (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) allowed one hit in one-and-one-thirds scoreless innings of relief and junior Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Avon Old Farms School) closed out the ninth giving up one run (earned) on one hit, one free pass and one strikeout.
MIT senior Aric Dama (Winfield, Ill./Wheaton North) took the loss on seven-and-one-thirds innings, five hits, six runs (four earned), three walks and one strikeout.
In the bottom of the third, senior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) gave the Lyons a 2-0 lead with a run-producing double to right-center field after sophomore Tyler Contillo (Montville, Conn./Montville) scored on a throwing error earlier in the frame. Sophomore Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) plated a run in the sixth on a fielding error to increase the advantage to 3-0.
The Engineers got two runs back in the seventh as senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I./South Kingstown) lined an RBI double to left-center and sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif./Jserra Catholic) lifted a sacrifice fly to left field. McKinney paced the MIT offense going 4-for-4 with two RBI from the second spot in the lineup.
De la Cruz answered for the tournament hosts in the eighth with a run-scoring double down the left field line. Senior Paul O'Neill (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) drew a bases loaded walk and sophomore pinch hitter Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) laced an RBI single through the left side of the infield for some added insurance and a 6-2 lead.
McKinney drove in junior Jon Rea (Palo Alto, Calif./Henry M. Gunn) with a single to right-center in the ninth to cut into the deficit at 6-3. Grant halted any chance of a rally with runners on first and third with a strikeout looking and a ground out to first to capture the NEWMAC championship.
Wheaton freshman Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) went 1-for-3 with two runs scored from the leadoff spot in the lineup. MIT freshman Nate Rodman (Corvallis, Ore./Corvallis) collected the Engineers only other multi-hit game with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate.