Morris Wins, Nova Saves as Endicott Forces Sunday Showdown for New England Regional
HARWICH, Mass. – For the second straight season, Endicott and Southern Maine will play on the final day of the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament as the Gulls, with a loss against them, grinded out a 7-6 victory over the Huskies to force a deciding game on Sunday, May 18th at 12:00 pm. The winner of tomorrow's game at Whitehouse Field in Harwich will determine the New England representative in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Junior second baseman Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) went 2-for-5 with a three run homerun, senior catcher EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) drove in what was the game-winning run in the top of the ninth, freshman reliever Colby Morris (Newburyport, Mass.) pitched 4 1/3 innings of stellar relief for the win, and sophomore closer Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) closed to the door with two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth to secure his fourth save of the season and the Endicott win.
The Gulls will be playing Southern Maine for the fifth time this season on Sunday with the previous four games being split between the two squads. Both teams have recorded a win over the other in this New England regional.
In the bottom of the second, Southern Maine scored the first runs of the game on a towering shot over the left field wall off the bat of junior centerfielder Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H.). Glauser's blast scored senior third baseman Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass.) who had singled with one out to get on base.
Facing a two-run deficit early in the game, Endicott fired right back in the top of the third to take a 3-2 lead. With one out, sophomore shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) and freshman left fielder Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) hit back-to-back singles off Huskies starter Zack Bean (Westbrook, Maine). The next batter, junior second baseman Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) crushed 1-2 offering deep to left for a three-run homerun. It was Oringer's second homerun of the season and fifth, sixth, and seventh RBIs of the regional.
With the bases clear, Gulls senior first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.) doubled to the gap in right center as Southern Maine head coach Ed Flaherty pulled his starter after 2 1/3 innings of work for submarine righty Ryan Browner (Georgetown, Mass.). Browner's first batter, senior Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.), singled through the right side of the infield to extend the Endicott lead to 4-2.
Endicott produced another run in the top of the fifth after a two-out, hit-and-run play with senior EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) at the plate put runners on first and third. Gulls sophomore right fielder Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) singled to left to score sophomore Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.), pushing the Endicott lead up to three runs at 5-2. In the bottom half of the inning, however, Southern Maine got the right back on a solo homerun by freshman infielder Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) to make it 5-3 going into the sixth inning.
Southern Maine held Endicott off the scoreboard in the top of the sixth and got their bats going again in the bottom half of the inning as Thibodeau singled with one out and advanced to second on a groundout to get into scoring position. Pinch-hitter, senior Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine), delivered a two-out single up the middle as Thibodeau raced around third to score Southern Maine's fourth run.
In the top of the seventh, Morganelli provided a two-out RBI single of his own to return Endicott's lead back up to two at 6-4 as he roped a line drive into left with runners on the corners, scoring Gold. Earlier in the inning with runners and first and second, the Huskies looked like they were going to squash Endicott's rally as they recorded two outs on a fly out to center with a thrown to third to catch the runner trying to tag up.
Some solid defense by the Gulls in the bottom of the eighth on a 5-4-3 double-play to keep the scoreboard unchanged fueled another insurance run for Endicott in the top of the ninth. Gold singled to lead off the ninth and with one out, the Gulls put on another hit-and-run with Martinez at the plate and he delivered with a single down the left field line. Gold raced around the bases and scored all the way from first for Endicott's seventh and final run.
Haley stayed with freshman reliever Colby Morris (Newburyport, Mass.) in the bottom of the ninth, who had pitched effectively for four innings for his longest outing of the season, and got the first batter to groundout to first base. Southern Maine rattled off back-to-back hits by Chadwick and sophomore Nick DiBiase (Portland, Maine) then a walk by McDonough loaded the bases. Sophomore righty Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.), who had already pitched 8 2/3 innings with a win and six strikeouts, allowed a RBI single to center by senior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) and hit a batter to bring two runners home. Southern Maine trailed by just one run, 7-6, with one out and the bases loaded but Nova reached back and struck out Chris Bernard (Scarborough, Maine) and Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine) to end the game and force a Sunday finale.
Southern Maine freshman Zack Bean (Westbrook, Maine) took the loss (3-1) after going 2 1/3 innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits and one walk with one strikeout. Huskies sophomore Ryan Browner (Georgetown, Mass.) pitched 4 1/3 innings of effective relief but surrendered two earned runs before handing the ball over to three other Southern Maine pitchers.
Gulls sophomore Zac Poland (Essex Junction, Vt.) took the ball to start the game for Endicott and did not factor into the decision as he hurled three innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Freshman Eric Nagle (Manchester, Conn.) pitched an inning and gave up a solo homerun in his first appearance of the regional.