By Nick Bello – Media Operations Assistant
NEWPORT, R.I. – Newport saw its 2019 season come to an end just one game shy of playing in the NECBL championship after falling to the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks in game three of the Southern Division Championship Series. The Gulls ended the season winning seven of its last nine regular season games, including a three-game win streak to head into the playoffs to finish with a 27-17 record, good enough for the second best regular season record in the NECBL. Newport’s playoff birth was its first since 2016.
Newport was a well-rounded team offensively, boasting the league’s best batting average, hitting .293 as a team while also leading the league in hits and doubles. Newport’s lineup featured five All-Stars that represented the Gulls in the 2019 NECBL All-Star Game in Montpelier, Vermont. Second Baseman Scott Holzwasser (Northeastern) and Third Baseman Justyn-Henry Malloy (Vanderbilt) earned starting spots for the Southern Division Team while First Baseman Chris Hamilton (Stony Brook), OF Isaiah Thomas (Vanderbilt), and OF Hudson Haskin (Tulane) all were reserves.
The Gulls had four players selected as All- League performers, including the All- NECBL First Team Catcher, Colton Bender (Quinnipiac). Bender completed the summer season hitting .339 that included 13 doubles and just 13 strikeouts in 109 at-bats. His performance behind the dish was equally impressive, guiding a Gulls pitching staff to the second-most strikeouts in the league (414), throwing out nearly 60% of baserunners that attempted to steal during the regular season (33 attempts). Scott Holzwasser was named the 2nd Team All- NECBL Second Basemen,Greg Cavaliere (University of Rhode Island) was named a 2nd Team All- NECBL Outfielder, and Sam Jacobsak(Northeastern), garnered 2nd Team All- NECBL Relief Pitcher honors.
Holzwasser finished the season eighth in the NECBL in batting average (.346) and ended the season tied for second on the team in doubles (10) and home runs (5). Malloy posted a .324 average while pacing the team in home runs with six, and drawing the second most walks in the NECBL with 37. Hamilton ended the season on a 33 game on-base streak while Haskin led the league in triples (4), led Newport in stolen bases (17), and finished tied for second in home runs for the Gulls with five. Outfielder Brett Vosik (Kansas) collected the team’s most hits (46) and posted a .338 average. Overall, Newport had eight players hit above .300-the most in the league.
On the mound, the Gulls had two more All-Stars in LHP Mike Sansone (Fairfield) and RHP Carson Rudd (Stanford). Sansone finished his campaign with a 2.78 ERA, striking out 31 batters while walking just five and was named NECBL Pitcher of the Week for Week Two. Rudd posted a team-best 0.73 ERA, giving up his only earned run of the season in his final outing. The Stanford righty had 23 strikeouts in just 12.1 innings pitched. Mike Townsend (UCLA) recorded a 1.83 ERA and struck out 25 while walking just six in 19.2 innings pitched. Sam Jacobsak was the third Gull to finish with a sub 2.00 ERA, finishing the season with a 1.66 ERA in 21.2 innings to go along with 30 strikeouts to just two walks-the best K/BB ratio on the team. Newport was the only team to have at least three pitchers with a sub 2.00 ERA with at least ten innings pitched.
On top of the on-field success, the Gulls finished on top in attendance once again, averaging 2,409 fans per game. They were the only team to average over 2,000 per game and averaged over 200 more fans than they did last season.
Since 2001, the Newport Gulls have strived to benefit the community of Newport County while preparing collegiate student-athletes for the next step in their personal and professional lives. The Newport Gulls would like to thank its sponsors, volunteers, host families, fans, and the City of Newport for continuing to support the organization and allowing the Gulls to achieve this mission once again in 2019. With this year in the books, the team looks forward to capturing its league-leading seventh Fay Vincent Cup in 2020. Make sure to stay tuned to the Newport Gulls Social Media Accounts – @NewportGulls and the team’s website, www.newportgulls.com, to keep up to date with all things Newport Gulls.