By Stephen Hough – Team Publicist
Newport (15-11) picked up a much-needed two-game sweep over their Southern Division foe Danbury Westerners (12-12) on Tuesday. Both teams came into Tuesday’s doubleheader’s deadlocked for third place, looking for an edge over the other as the race for the playoffs heats up.
Newport’s day was off to a quick start when Isaiah Thomas broke the ice, belting a solo shot to center. Just two batters later, his Vanderbilt teammate Justyn-Henry Malloy hit a home run of his own, hitting a two-run home run to give the Gulls an early 3-0 lead.
Danbury would respond with a two-run home run of their own in the fourth to make Newport’s lead just one, but it wouldn’t last long asThomas would deliver his second home run of the day in the very next half inning, powering a two-run shot to extend the Gulls lead back to three.
The Westerners would promptly respond in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring four runs after the first five batters reached base safely. Danbury would have three hits and a walk while reaching on a Newport error to take their first lead of the day by a score of 6-5.
Down to their final three outs, Thomas led off the seventh inning with a single and later came around to score off an RBI single off the bat ofBrett Vosik to send the game into extras. With two outs in the eighth, Scott Holzwasser hit the Gulls fourth home run of the day, giving them a two run lead heading into the bottom of the frame. The Westerners would respond immediately however as the leadoff man Caleb Upshaw cranked a two-run shot of his own to tie things back up at eight and send the game into the ninth inning.
After the leadoff man popped out, Vosik joined the party with his own two-run home run, marking the seventh home run on the day between the two sides and fifth on the day for the Gulls. After Vosik’s home run, the wheels fell off for the Westerners as Newport hit around the lineup, scoring a total of ten runs in the inning to win the first game of the doubleheader 18-9. The Gulls had seven hits in the ninth inning alone, highlighted by Vosik’s home run and double in his second plate appearance, totaling four RBI in the inning.
Newport picked up right where they left off in the second game, scoring five runs in the first three innings. Thomas continued his great day at the plate, doubling in the first and singling and coming around to score in the third.
Garrett Schmeltz made his first start for the Gulls and the Louisville southpaw delivered four excellent innings of scoreless baseball.Schmeltz gave up just two hits while striking out six in four innings. He was relieved by Mike Townsend who pitched the next two innings, giving up one unearned run while striking out three batters.
The Gulls would tack on two more insurance runs in the seventh as Thomas would continue his spectacular day at the plate, adding another RBI single to his name as Newport sealed the 7-1 victory over the Westerners.
Isaiah Thomas finished Tuesday 7-9 at the plate with two home runs, five RBI and five runs scored between the two games.
With the sweep in the doubleheader, the Gulls are now 4-1 on the year against Danbury, with the Gulls taking each of the last four.
Newport will be back in action on Thursday, July 11th as they travel to Martha’s Vineyard to take on the Sharks (16-9). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm.