2016 NECBL Champions
Mystic Schooners are 2016 NECBL Champions!
Schooners cap off historic season with 8-2 win over Sanford
Portions of this recap provided by the Mystic Schooners media relations team
SANFORD, Maine – The Mystic Schooners came as close as a team could to winning a championship a summer ago without actually doing so in 2015.
Fast-forward a year later: it was worth the wait. The Mystic Schooners are champions of the New England Collegiate Baseball League for the first time since the franchise’s arrival in 2011 after dispatching the Sanford Mainers, 8-2, on Thursday night at Goodall Mark in Maine.
The Schooners – the only remaining charter franchise from the league’s inception in 1994 when they were born as the Eastern Tides – cap off a historic summer that saw them win the Southern Division title by four games after going 19-7 in the month of July and finished with a league-best 29 wins overall in the regular season.
The win gave the Schooners the Fay Vincent Sr. Cup, awarded annually to the league’s postseason champion, one that they so narrowly claimed last summer when they fell to Vermont in a stellar three-game series. The franchise also won the league’s very first NECBL title back in 1994 when they played in Willimantic, Connecticut, as the Tides.
Mystic is the first team situated in the state of Connecticut to win a league title since the former Middletown Giants did so in 1999.
Nick Mascelli (Wagner) got things started by leading off the game with a base hit and was eventually brought in on a Richard Slenker (Yale) sacrifice fly to give the Schooners a one-run lead that they would never relinquish.
Mystic loaded the bases in the second and tacked on two more runs to give them a 3-0 lead at the end of two innings.
That score would remain the same until the middle of the game when the Mainers scored their only two runs in the fifth and sixth. Mike Landestoy (TCU) picked up an RBI single in the fifth and Tristan Chari (Vanderbilt) drove in another by means of a sacrifice fly to center to make it a one-run game (3-2).
That, however, was the closest the game would get, as the Schooners, as they have done all postseason, broke the game wide open in the later innings.
Four runs came across in the seventh. Mascelli worked a leadoff walk and two outs later, Slenker drove him in with a double to the wall in left center. One batter later, Chase Lunceford (Louisiana Tech) hit a ball deep to the same spot that flew over the fence for a two-run homer.
The Schooners were not done yet; Aaron Hill (Connecticut) singled and was followed by a line drive off the bat of Brett Bond (Missouri). On that same play, Hill raced around second and forced a bad throw to third that allowed him to score all the way from first, giving the Schooners a 7-2 lead going into the eighth.
Toby Handley (Stony Brook) made his return and led off the inning with a double and was later brought in with another double off the bat of Ryan Ramiz (Seton Hall) to give the Schooners their final margin of victory.
On the pound, southpaw Kevin Magee (St. John’s) got the start and the win. He threw five strong innings, allowing just one earned on six hits. Righty Ryan Thomas (Marist) threw the final 3-1/3 innings, shutting down the Sanford bats while picking up four strikeouts.
The Schooners finished the season with a franchise best 35-16 record. Sanford, the North Division champions, finished 30-21 after advancing to the NECBL Championship Series for the first time since 2008.