Outfielder Yale Rosen moved into a tie with Chris Dominguez (2006) for the Newport Gulls single-season home run record, with his 11th homer of the season, a three-run blast in the third inning, but it was not enough as the Gulls suffered the worst loss in franchise history, falling 20-8 against the Keene Swamp Bats at Cardines Field on Monday, July 16.
“It was a pretty tough loss for the Gulls tonight, but it’s just one game and I don’t worry about this kind of stuff,” said Gulls general manager Chuck Paiva. “I know what this team is capable of doing and maybe this is good for us… Coming into this game we were ranked number one in the country and they were ranked number two, and maybe we’ll put it on them tomorrow…it’s not the end…They’re playing great baseball, they’ve been awfully good offensively, and I think they’re going to be just fine.”
Both teams entered the day tied for the best record in the NECBL. With the victory, Keene improves to 23-6 overall this season, while Newport falls to 22-7 overall. The Gulls loss, combined with New Bedford’s 4-0 win over Sanford leaves Newport just three games ahead of the Bay Sox for first place in the Eastern Division. Newport suffered just their second loss of the season at Cardines Field.
On a day in which eight Newport Gulls were named to the Eastern Division All-Star team and the club took over the top spot in Perfect Game USA’s Top 30 summer college baseball rankings, the pitching just wasn’t there for the Gulls, who surrendered a franchise-record 20 runs on 23 hits.
The Swamp Bats exploded for twelve runs including five home runs in the first three innings. Outfielder Jared Walsh hit a pair of homers while designated hitter Fran Whitten, outfielder Dylan DelaCruz, and second baseman Grant Kay added home runs as well.
Walsh hit is first two-run homer of the night after Kay led off the game with a double. His second three-run homerun in the top of the second inning gave the Swamp Bats a 7-0 lead over Newport. Kay’s three-run homer in the third inning capped the Swamp Bats explosive start and gave them a 12-0 lead.
Keene did most of their damage against Newport starter Jon Prosinski, who fell to 1-1 overall this season after taking the loss. Prosinski surrendered a season-high eight runs on nine hits and did not make it out of the second inning.
Newport reliever Frank Holbrook replaced Prosinski in the second inning, but gave up six runs on seven hits with one strikeout, lasting just an inning and two thirds before being replaced by Tanner Chleborad. Chleborad, making his first relief appearance of the season, surrendered three runs, two earned, on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk over two innings of work. Ryan Pennell finished the final three and two thirds for the Gulls giving up just three un-earned runs on four hits with six strikeouts.
Keene starter Kyle McAvoy, a local product from in-state Bryant University, pitched five innings to pick up the win for the Swamp Bats, improving to 4-2 overall this season. McAvoy allowed six runs on eight hits, with a pair of walks and strikeouts, but got the run support necessary to pull out the win. Left-hander David Mahoney came on to toss a pair of scoreless innings in relief. Chad Rafferty finished off the final two innings, allowing two runs on three hits with one strikeout and zero walks over two innings of work.
Rosen put the Gulls on the board with a three-run homer in the bottom of the third inning and outfielder Rob Ort hit a two-run homer, his third homerun of the season, to close out the 20-8 loss in the ninth inning.
Newport will be back in action when they travel to Keene to take on their Western Division rivals for a second consecutive night on Tuesday, July 17. Newport will send their ace, Daniel Wright (5-0, 3.18 ERA) to the mound at Alumni Field.
The Gulls will return home to Cardines Field on Wednesday, July 18 as they take action against the Mystic Schooners at 6:35 p.m.