BEVERLY, Mass. – The 2014 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Baseball Championship will be decided on Monday, May 5th between #1 Endicott (29-12) and #3 Western New England (19-19-1) after the Gulls handed the Golden Bears a 9-3 loss to remain unbeaten in the double-elimination, conference tournament while Western New England staved off elimination by beating #2 Roger Williams 12-10 to reach the title game.
Endicott will be making their eighth appearance in the CCC Championship, winning five titles including last year's crown, while Western New England looks to win their sixth title in seven appearances. The Gulls and Golden Bears have met two of the previous three CCC Championship games with both teams coming out with a title and automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament. Western New England won back in 2011, winning back-to-back games 5-4 on the final day of competition as the top seed, while Endicott is the defending CCC champions, taking the 2013 title with a convincing 12-3 victory on the road.
In today's game against Western New England, the Gulls quickly turned to sophomore right-hander Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) in the top of the second to relieve starter Eric Nagle (Manchester, Conn.) who had allowed the game's first run on a wild pitch with one out. Nova got the final two outs of the second and proceeded the pitch the final seven innings to improve to 3-2 on the year. Nova did not allow a hit in his first four innings of work as he ended up surrendering two runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts to the standout effort on the hill.
Endicott got seven earned runs on 13 hits off Golden Bears senior starter Mike Lospinuso (West Islip, N.Y.) including five in a critical bottom of the fifth that saw senior centerfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) hit a two-RBI double, sophomore third baseman Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) get a sacrifice fly, senior designated hitter EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) drive a run on one of his three doubles, and junior catcher Chase Sullivan (Cumberland, R.I.) cap off the scoring with a RBI single down the left field line.
Martinez's three doubles helped him set a career-high for doubles in a single season with 12. Martinez was one of three players with three hits in the game as both Gold and Paola also reached base with three base knocks. Martinez added a walk to get on four times in the win.
Gold, Paola, Martinez, and Sullivan all had two RBI with sophomore shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) adding a single through the right side of the infield to score Paola for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the second to give Endicott a lead they would not relinquish.
Western New England trailed 7-1 in the sixth inning before scoring an unearned run to make it a five-run game. After Paola got the run back in the bottom of the sixth on Paola's RBI double to deep left center to score junior second baseman Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.), the Golden Bears would strike again in the top of the seventh on a blast over the left field wall by senior first baseman Steve Ambrosino (Laurel Hollow, N.Y.).
With a 9-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, Martinez roped his final double of the game as Paola scored his second run.
On the base paths, Paola, Sullivan, and sophomore right fielder Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) all recorded stolen bases.