STANDISH, Maine – The top-seeded Suffolk baseball team built an early lead and held off each comeback by second-seed Saint Joseph's (Maine) to defeat the Monks, 6-5, Sunday afternoon at Larry Mahaney Diamond and hoist the GNAC Championship trophy for the fourth consecutive season.
SCORE: Suffolk 6, Saint Joseph's (Maine) 5
RECORDS: Suffolk (24-16) | Saint Joseph's (Maine) (29-13)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After three scoreless innings, Suffolk used two two-RBI singles to gain a 4-0 advantage. Seth Coiley, Greg Speliotis, and Will Hopkins juiced the walks with a walk and back-to-back singles. Blasé Cormier's base hit to center field scored Coiley and Speliotis before the Monks made a change on the hill. After a fielder's choice got the Rams' runner on second, Shane Lake drew a walk to put all the ducks in the pond for the second time in the inning. Brady Chant did not feel the pressure of the two-out, two-strikeout count as the senior centerfielder matched Cormier's two-RBI single with one of his own to give the Rams a four-run lead.
St. Joe's used a trio of singles to bring in three runs in the top of the fifth to cut the Rams' edge to one, 4-3. The score held there until Suffolk added to its advantage. Trevor Leeled off with a single up the middle and moved to third on Speliotis single to right center. Hopkins brought in Lee with a double down the right field line, before the freshman left field scored on a fielder's choice two batters later, stretch Suffolk's lead to 6-3.
Rich Giandreacame in to deal for Mark Fusco. The freshman RHP secured two quick outs before walking Drew Healey and letting up a bomb to Chris Gerossie, allowing the Monks to keep things interesting and trim the margin back to one, 6-5.
The Monks held the Rams in the home half of the eighth before Jake Flax came in to lock up the victory. The junior closer sat down the first two batters before Coiley grabbed a fly out in right field to clinch the championship for the blue-and-gold.
- Fusco worked the hill for 7.0 innings, giving up three runs, one earned, on eight hits, two walks and three strikeouts for the victory.
- Flax picked up his fourth save of the season, three of which have come in the GNAC tournament this weekend, with a scoreless inning of relief with a pair of punchouts.
- Giandrea dealt for 1.0 innings for the Rams and let up two runs on one hit and one walk, while sitting down one.
- Aaron Hall suffered the setback after allowing four runs on four hits and two walks with two Ks.
- Jonathan Marchia (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) and Josh Partridge (4.1 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 Ks) each came out of the pen for the Monks.
- Hopkins led the way at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort, which included one double, for one RBI and one run scored.
- Cormier collected two RBI on one hit to go along with one run scored.
- Lee (2-5) and Speliotis (2-4) each had two-hit days with one run apiece.
- Chant produced two RBI on one hit.
- Suffolk captured its fourth consecutive conference crown, marking the first time a school grabbed four straight titles since St. Joseph's (Maine) raised five consecutive banners from 2010-14.
- Anthony Del Prete has led the Rams to the GNAC title in each of his seasons at the helm of the program (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).
- The title marks Suffolk's eighth overall (2002, 2005, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).
- Flax earned Tournament MVP honors with his closing pitching efforts, while Chant, Cormier and Ryan Pordes were named to the all-tournament team.
With a spot in the NCAA DIII Regionals secured, Suffolk awaits the official seeding of the national tournament, which will be released next week.