Engineers win second-straight NEWMAC championship
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – First-seeded MIT withstood a late rally by third-seeded Wheaton College to claim a 5-4 victory over the Lyons in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship title game on Sunday afternoon at Briggs Field.
With the win, MIT (24-11) earns the NEWMAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III New England Regional later this month. The Engineers will make their third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, which will be played in Harwich, Mass. at Whitehouse Field from May 13-17.
Wheaton (25-15), who reached the NEWMAC Championship game for the 15th time in the 17-year history of the league, will now await a potential at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Lyons currently are positioned sixth overall in the NCAA Division III New England Regional rankings.
Engineers' senior Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) had three hits and also drove in a run in the final game to earn NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.
MIT junior starter Alan Wang (Paoli, Pa./Conestoga) earned the win (6-1) on five innings pitched, five hits, two runs (all earned), four walks and four strikeouts. Senior K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn./Web School) tossed the next two innings yielding one earned run, while junior closer Michael Wymer (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound) finished off the last two frames for his fifth save of the season. Wymer allowed two hits, an unearned run, and one walk in addition to four strikeouts.
Lyons' first-year starter Dan Southerland (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) shouldered the loss over 3 1/3 innings pitched, alongside four hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and three punchouts.
After a pair of scoreless innings, MIT took advantage of a Wheaton miscue to score the game's first run. With two down, Tew followed a walk to first-year Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) with a double to put runners on second and third. Senior Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif./Jserra Catholic) hit a ground ball to third that was misplayed, allowing Filiere to score.
Wheaton immediately answered in the top of the fourth, getting a pair of walks that led to runners on second and third with two outs. Senior Justin Peluso (North Reading, Mass./Saint John's Prep) then beat out an infield hit that scored junior Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High) from third to tie the game.
Senior Reid Bishop (Cypress, Texas/Houston Christian) started a two-run rally in the bottom half of the inning that put MIT on top for good. Bishop led off with a double, and later moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt. With the infield drawn in, junior Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo./Lindbergh) got a ground ball just past the reach of the Lyons' shortstop and into left field for an RBI single. Another hit moved Helbert to third and a sac fly by Filiere moments later made it 3-1.
In the fifth a pair of base hits put a pair of runners on for senior Phil Reiser (Alpharetta, Ga./Chattahoochee), whose base hit to right field put the Engineers up 4-1.
Wheaton got one of the runs back in the sixth when Silvestro led off with a single, moved up on a walk and then scored on a double down the right field line off the bat of senior Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, Conn./Montville).
MIT went back up by three runs in the bottom of the sixth when Tew doubled in first-year Garrett Greenwood (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe), who had led off the inning with an infield single.
It went right back to a two-run game in the top of the seventh as junior Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) drove a pitch over the right field fence in right to cut the deficit to 5-3.
MIT called on its bullpen to close things out, with Parent limiting the damage in the sixth inning to just a run when he came in with runners on second and third and no outs, and got out of the jam. Parent gave up just the home run to Lavanchy in the seventh Wymer came on in the eighth to close it out.
Wymer gave up a walk in the eighth, but held the Lyons at bay with a pair of strikeouts. In the ninth, Wymer ran into a jam when an error and a single put two aboard with two down for senior Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical), who laced a run-scoring single up the middle to make it 5-4.
Wymer ended it there, however, getting the final out on a fielder's choice to third to give MIT its second title in as many years.
Tew finished his day 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for MIT. Silvestro had three hits for Wheaton, including a double, and scored twice to lead the Lyons.
For the latest on Wheaton College Athletics, follow the Lyons via social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.