OLD ORCHARD BEACH—The Nor’easters put up a five-run fifth in game two of the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League’s championship series at The Ballpark on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 11.

That’s five runs of 11 in an 11-2 rout of the second-seeded Patriots, a result that earned the Nor’easters this summer’s GNCBL crown.

Game one, held at St. Joe’s in Standish on Thursday the 8th, also went the Nor’easters’ way – but by a much slimmer margin, 5-4. And Nick Liston had to blow a three-RBI homer outta the park to make that happen.

In other words, the Nor’easters found a real groove on Sunday.

“Ultimately, what it came down to, is we’ve hit the ball well all year,” Nor’easters head coach Tony Miner said. “We even had a couple guys who came off the bench today and got a couple hits.”

The Patriots struck first in the contest, just like they’d done in game one: Chris Romano took a Gavin Arsenault pitch in the body to reach base, shuffled 90 feet forward on a TJ Carney-DeBord line single into right and rounded to score on an Arlo Pike first-pitch single (also into right).

The Nor’easters threatened in the top of the second, but couldn’t convert – Max Salevsky found himself stranded on third. Nope, not until the top of the third did the eventual Champs finally get on the board.

When they did, they surged out front 3-1. Drew Healey, batting second, grounded a single past diving Patriots second-baseman Justin Coppeta for the spark. Kolby Lambert followed him up with a first-pitch single into the center-right gap. Healey then scored from third and Lambert all the way from first on a Tim Brigham double to the left-center wall.

For his part, Brigham moved to third when Alex George – a young talent, just out of high school this past spring – singled to short. Brigham popped home thanks to Ben Gravel, who singled into right: 3-1.

“It’s never one guy. It’s always a group of guys,” Miner said. “Our lineup is very hard to pitch to. They’re relentless. They’re tough outs. Most of the time, they make the most of their at-bats. Pitchers have a hard time throwing to those guys, because the next guy’s going to be a tough out, too.”

The Patriots looked determined in the next couple innings to flip the advantage in their favor. The team loaded the bases with Romano, Jack Lynch and Dan White in the bottom of the third. They couldn’t, though, get a man around. Salevsky, on first for the Nor’easters, turned in one Patriots out with a galloping tag, while George (at catcher) turned in another when he caught a Pike foul tip. Arsenault capped the defensive stand with a K vs. Jake Plikus.

Still, the Patriots remained determined. Lambert doubled into right for the Nor’easters in the top of the fourth, but Ben Nelson, Healey and Gravel – fiery hitters themselves – all flied out or grounded out or otherwise ended up out. Four batters made for a quick inning. The Patriots might’ve been down, but they still wanted it.

They loaded the diamond again in the bottom of the fourth, when Cam King, Ian Westphal and Romano all reached base, the latter two on walks. Alas, Lynch grounded into a double-play: Nelson at short grabbed Lynch’s hit and flipped it to Healey at second; Healey relayed it over to Salevsky at first.

“It’s a combination of Gavin and the guys behind him,” Miner said, asked what kept the Patriots from getting the timely hit they needed to retake the upper-hand. “I thought [the Patriots] put some pretty good swings on the ball. They got unlucky a little bit – hard balls, right at guys.”

In the top of the fifth, the Nor’easters exploded for five. George doubled into the left-center gap, Salevsky doubled into wide left, Nick Liston walked. Gravel clubbed a bouncy, two-RBI grounder into left, Will Snyder laid down an RBI bunt, Nelson singled (another RBI) into left and Healey and Lambert both sacrificed – the latter driving in Snyder, the eighth run of an 8-1 lead.

Lynch smacked a homer in the top of the seventh, but it was a solo homer, and not nearly enough to bring his boys within striking distance. In fact, the Nor’easters pulled even further ahead in the top of the eighth, leading to the 11-2 result.

Sure, it’s just summer ball – but summer ball is still meaningful to the guys on the diamond. “It’s a little bit more of a laid-back atmosphere, but every one of the guys is a competitor,” Miner said. “They want to win at the end of the day. You’ve gone through 26 games, you’ve played all summer. You work all day, and you play three, four games a week, sometimes five. At the end of the season, you feel good walking out of here knowing you won the Championship.”

The Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League offers affordable, high-quality summer play for college athletes from across New England and beyond. The League, now in its third year, is on the web at www.gncbl.com, and on Twitter and Instagram both at @GNCBLBaseball. It’s also easily searchable on Facebook.

Nor’easters
Gavin Arsenault–Dixfield/University of Maine Farmington
Tim Brigham–Cape Elizabeth/Suffolk
Nolan Brown–Gorham/Husson
Alex George–Hollis, New Hampshire/Southern New Hampshire University
Ben Gravel–Rochester, New Hampshire/St. Joseph’s
Drew Healey–Rochester, New Hampshire/St. Joe’s
Kolby Lambert–Naples/USM
Nick Liston–Springvale/Plymouth State
Ben Nelson–Gorham/Merrimack
Max Salevsky–Hollis/Plymouth State
Cam Smith–Gorham/USM
Will Snyder–Portland/Skidmore

Patriots
TJ Carney-DeBord–Granville, Ohio/DePauw
Justin Coppeta–Westbrook/Assumption
Cam King–Portland/USM
Jack Lynch–Deering/Merrimack
Arlo Pike–Buxton/USM
Jake Plikus–Oakdale, Connecticut/Nichols
Chris Romano–Yarmouth/Colby
Garrett Tracy–Falmouth/Nichols
Ian Westphal–Portland/Southern Maine Community College
Dan White–Augusta/Rivier

Justin Coppeta attacks the ball for the Patriots. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Arlo Pike mans first base. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Cam King takes a cut for the Patriots. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Kolby Lambert battles at the plate. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Patriots pitcher Jack Bean hurls a ball towards home. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Nolan Brown takes a turn at the plate for the Nor’easters. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Cam Smith is an ace closer. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Nor’easters catcher Alex George grabs an infield flyball. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Clever readers will note: This picture looks like a lot of Ben Nelson pictures. But that’s just because Ben Nelson turns in great plays most every game. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Max Salevsky leaps off second for the Nor’easters, early-game. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

The Nor’easters Sunday bench watches as their teammates work the diamond. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Nor’easters leftfielder Ben Gravel gets beneath a flyball. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly


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