Newport Gulls win NECBL Championship
Newport completes sweep of Danbury, wins fifth NECBL title.
The Newport Gulls are the champions of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Gulls defeated the Danbury Westerners 8-1 in Game Two of the NECBL Championship Series to complete the series sweep and capture the Fay Vincent Sr. Cup for the first time since 2009 and the fifth time in franchise history.
Newport has won a league-record five NECBL Championships (2001, 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2012). The Gulls finish the season with a 37-11 overall record including a 22-2 record at Cardines Field this season.
Danbury has never won an NECBL title in their 18-year history and have been defeated in the Championship Series twice in the last three years. Danbury finishes the season with a 27-21 overall record.
Newport Gulls starter Peter Kelich dominated the Westerners lineup over seven solid innings, allowing just one run on four hits with three walks and a season-high 13 strikeouts. Reliever David Schmidt worked a scoreless eighth inning before closer Caleb Kellogg slammed the door in the ninth inning.
Danbury starter Stephen Catalina, who took the loss, lasted just five and one third innings, surrendering six runs, all earned on seven hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts.
Newport racked up eight runs on 12 hits in the contest, as every Gull in the starting lineup with the exception of first baseman Brett Winger and third baseman Austin Slater recorded a hit. Danbury managed just one run on seven hits in the loss.
Catcher Jeff Melillo set the tone in the first inning with a towering two-run blast to dead center to give the Gulls an early lead. Melillo, who finished the night 2-for-5 with a homer and a pair of RBI and runs scored, left the game in the eighth inning with an apparent leg injury running out a groundball.
Outfielder Kasey Coffman hit a three-run home run to left centerfield to extend the Gulls lead to 5-0 in the fifth inning. Newport added to their lead in the sixth inning when shortstop Joel McKeithan double off the fence in centerfield before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Second baseman Conor Keniry delivered a sacrifice fly to shallow left to give the Gulls a 6-0 lead.
The Gulls tacked on another run later in the frame off Danbury reliever Tom Coughlin when outfielder Charlie White delivered an RBI single to right. Newport closed out the scoring when designated hitter Steve Anderson off Danbury reliever David Gibson to deep right field in the seventh inning.
A two-out RBI single by outfielder Tom Zengel finally got the Westerners on the board in the eighth inning before Kelich struck out second baseman Jake Gronsky to avoid any further damage.