SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - After going 5-0 last week including 4-0 in the CCC Tournament en route to winning their second straight conference championship, three members of the Endicott baseball team swept the CCC Athlete of the Week awards. Senior centerfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.), sophomore pitcher JJ Branch (Milford, Mass.), and freshman pitcher Luke Morse (Westford, Mass.) were named Player, Pitcher, and Rookie of the Week, respectively, by the league.
Gold extended his hitting streak to 14 games dating back to April 9th with hits in five games this past week, as the Gulls went 5-0 and claimed the 2014 CCC Baseball Championship title. Gold hit .444 (8-for-18) throughout the CCC tournament, with seven RBI, five runs scored, three doubles, two stolen bases, and one triple. In the 5-3 championship win over Western New England, Gold came up big for the Gulls as he recorded an RBI and scored a run. In the bottom of the fifth, with the game tied at 2-2, Gold singled through the right side to score teammate Harry Oringer to give the Gulls the lead. In that same inning, after a sacrifice fly out to center by Matthew Paola and another EC run scored by Brett Holmgren, Gold stole second and then legged out two more bases for a run off of a single to right field by EJ Martinez to give the Gulls all of the runs they would need to claim the 2014 title. With the victory over Western New England in the CCC Baseball Championship, Endicott earned an automatic bid to the NCAA New England Division III Regional tournament and recorded its sixth program title. As the senior earned his second conference championship in his four-year career in the Blue and Green, he also pushed his season totals to a .432 batting average, 67 hits (23 for extra-bases), 55 runs, 40 RBI, and 24 stolen bases (one shy of tying career-high from 2011).
Branch earned the win in two of the four CCC tournament games for Endicott, including a 5-3 championship win over Western New England. The sophomore threw seven innings in a 7-5 win over Wentworth, as he struck out six batters and allowed only two earned runs on seven hits and a walk. After a two-day rest, the right hander scattered seven hits, allowed only two earned runs, while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings of work in the championship game. Branch, the CCC Pitcher of the Year, improved to 8-1 heading into NCAA postseason play.
Morse ade two starts last week and earned two wins, including a 10-4 CCC tournament win over Salve Regina. Against the Seahawks, Morse pitched a nine-inning complete-game, throwing 101 pitches (68 for strikes) and allowing only one earned run on nine hits, while striking out three. Earlier in the week, the rookie earned an 8-7 victory over UMass.-Boston, as he scattered four hits, struck out two, and allowed no earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. Morse earned back-to-back victories for the first time since his first two starts this season back in March.
Gold, Branch, and Morse are in action this week against NEWMAC champions MIT on Tuesday and GNAC winners Saint Joseph's (Maine) on Thursday before learning who will join them in the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament.
Portions of this release courtesy of CCC Assistant Commissioner Shannon O'Brien.