By: Caden Charpentier – Media Operations Coordinator

A seven-run bottom of the sixth inning was the catalyst for the Newport Gulls (27-13), finishing Vermont Mountaineers, who sit first in the NECBL containing a 30-10 record, with a 9-2 victory. Newport has won nine of its last 11 contests with four left to play in the regular season. 

In his second straight start with Newport, Chase Renner shut down the second-best offense in the NECBL, throwing four shutout innings while allowing just three hits and striking out four. Renner has now not allowed a run in three out of his last four outings. 

Neither team put across a run until Alec Makarewicz and Spenser Smith combined for back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning, opening up the scoring, and giving the Gulls a 1-0 lead. In the following inning, Kolton Freeman led off with a double into deep center field and eventually scored on a Colton Ledbetter sacrifice fly to double the Newport lead. It is Ledbetter’s fourth sacrifice fly this summer which is the most on the team, and second in the entire league. 

In the sixth inning, the Gulls broke the game wide open. The Gulls pitching staff gave the Newport offense an opportunity to extend the lead even more. With two outs, the Gulls scored seven runs, and all of it was ignited by Smith scoring on a passed ball. A Jake Burley single, and Freeman getting hit by a pitch led to Joshua Kuroda-Grauer connecting on his fourth double in the last two games to extend the Gulls’ lead to four.

From then on, Newport put the gas pedal to the floor, and with its three All-Stars up at bat, Ledbetter, Slate Alford, and Noah Martinez combined for back to back to back home runs to blow out the top team in the league on Saturday afternoon. It is the second time in the last three games, and the fifth time all season that Newport has combined for three or more home runs in a single game. Ledbetter now takes sole position of first in the home run race with 11, and in the RBI category with 45. 

On the mound, Cole Stasio pitched three quality innings out of the bullpen, striking out five while giving up just three hits. Liam LeVangie shut the door in the ninth to take down the 30-win Mountaineers.

The Gulls offense has combined for 43 runs in the last four matchups, collecting eight extra-base hits on the first and only Cardines Saturday game of the summer. Newport extends its lead in the Coastal Division to 1.5 games over Martha’s Vineyard, setting up a crucial showdown next Tuesday. 

After the All-Star Game on Sunday, and a day off, the Gulls will travel to the Shark Tank to take on the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks (25-13) for the last time in the regular season. First pitch is at 7:05 pm. Newport heads back to Cardines Field for Mark Weed Scholarship Fund Legacy Night against the Navigators on Wednesday with a 6:35 pm start.