Posted: May 20, 2012
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Western New England’s sensational post-season run came to an end with a 2-0 loss against Wheaton in the title game of the New England Division III Baseball Regional Championship Sunday afternoon (May 20) at Eastern Stadium.
Junior right hander Frank Holbrook (Middletown, RI) allowed only two hits in seven innings with two walks and five strikeouts in keeping his perfect mark intact at 9-0. Holbrook, who compiled two wins in the tournament without giving up an earned run in 12 innings, was named the Regional Most Outstanding Player.
Sophomore Ryan Grant (Easton, MA) pitched the last two innings and struck out a batter in earning his 12th save of the season.
WNE senior right hander Mark DiTommaso (Hebron, CT) also had a strong performance despite losing for the first time in seven decisions. He allowed two runs in the first inning and then kept the Lyons off the board until leaving in the seventh. DiTommaso went six-and-a-third innings giving up seven hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout.
Wheaton jumped to a quick lead when senior third baseman Dan Haugh (Andover, MA) had a RBI single on a 3-and-2 count and freshman first baseman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, RI) followed with another run-scoring single.
DiTommaso kept Western New England in the game by retiring 16 of the next 19 batters.
Senior reliever Mike Lawlor (Windsor, CT) came in with runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth, and put out the threat with another top effort.
Junior second baseman Tim Clark (West Springfield, MA) had both hits for the Golden Bears. He singled to left center leading off the second and had an infield hit with two outs in the fourth. Clark hit .429 in seven regional games and finished the season with a team best .428 average. He also collected 80 hits this spring to tie the school record set by junior third baseman Mike Rubino (Northford, CT) last year.
Western New England did bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth after junior shortstop Eric Jensen (Gorham, NH) booted a grounder with two hits. Junior left fielder Taylor Perun (Plainville, CT) hit a high chopper on the next pitch to senior second baseman Dan DeMeo (Glastonbury, CT) who stepped on second for the final out.
Wheaton (38-9) advances to the NCAA Division III World Series, which begins next Friday (May 25) in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Western New England, the defending regional champion, completes a highly-successful season with a 38-13 record.
Inside the Infield – Western New England won nine of 12 contests in post-season competition after going 5-2 in the NCAA Regional and 4-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship … The Golden Bears also captured seven elimination games in the two tournaments (including four in the NCAA Regional) … Clark made the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team along with junior right fielder Matt Anthonis (Guilford, CT) and sophomore pitcher Brendan Nugent (Milford, CT) … Anthonis hit .346 in the tournament while Nugent picked-up two complete game wins while compiling a 1.00 ERA.
Contact: Ken Cerino, Western New England athletic communications director (413) 782-1227