Having advanced to the championship through the losers' bracket, the Wildcats needed to defeat the Monks twice today to claim the title and were one out away from accomplishing the monumental task. Johnson & Wales toppled Saint Joseph's by a 15-2 margin in the first game to make the "if necessary" contest a reality and the Monks, trailing 7-5 with the bases loaded and two down in the bottom of the ninth, were down to their final out in the deciding tilt.
Having already scored a run in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single from junior Drew Healey (Rochester, N.H.), freshman third baseman Ronan Chisholm (North Chatham, Mass.) was able to complete the comeback when he capped an eight-pitch at-bat with a two-run single to left field.
The Wildcats were the first to produce a baserunning in extra innings when junior pinch hitter Vin Amalfitano (Massapequa, N.Y.) led off the 11th with a single to left field. The potential go-ahead run was quickly negated however, as freshman pitcher Jake Sickel (Hampton, N.H.) started a 1-6-3 double play and induced a groundout to second base off the bat of sophomore Anthony Roman (Vega Baja, P.R.), setting the stage for Emanuelson's walk-off two-bagger.
Senior center fielder Anthony DiPrizio (Rochester, N.H.) led off the bottom of the 11th with an eight-pitch walk and moved into scoring position when sophomore Justin Juliano (Lynnfield, Mass.) dropped down a sacrifice bunt. DiPrizio was then lifted in favor of sophomore pinch-runner Kevin Aylward (East Bridgewater, Mass.), who was forced to remain close to second base as Amalfitano nearly made an incredible catch on Emanuelson's double to deep left field and slid home safely just ahead of the relay throw to the plate.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's earns the GNAC's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament, which begins with regional play on Thursday, May 16th. The NCAA tourney will feature a new format this spring, as each region will have two host sites with four-team pods with the winner of each pod advancing to a best-of-three Super Regional series.
For Saint Joseph's, the GNAC Championship is the program's seventh in 12 seasons as a member of the conference and first since the 2014 season. The Monks will be making their ninth NCAA Tournament appearance – all in the last 14 years – and have reached the 30-win plateau for the 14th time in program history.
Head Coach Will Sanborn '86, now in his 27th year at the helm for St. Joe's, has now skippered the Monks to 15 conference championships.
ON THE MOUND - SJC:
- Senior starter Grayson Jennings (Mililani, Hawaii) pitched well through four innings but ran into trouble in the top of the fifth – he finished his outing having allowed three runs off four hits and four walks with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings
- Freshman George Welch (Derry, N.H.) was excellent in 2.1 frames of relief with one hit and three walks allowed and five strikeouts over 2.1 shutout innings
- Sophomore Jonathan Marchia (Chicopee, Mass.) yielded four runs (three earned) off two hits and three walks with a pair of punch-outs in 1.1 innings
- Sickel, making just his second appearance of the season, held the JWU bats in check with one hit allowed over three shutout innings and picked up his first collegiate victory
ON THE MOUND – JWU:
- Senior starter Josh Mousseau (Woonsocket, R.I.) allowed three runs off four hits and five walks with one strikeout in 4.1 innings
- Freshman Dane Dellavalle (Howell, N.J.) yielded four runs off seven hits and a walk with two K's over four frames
- Junior Tom Doran (West Warwick, R.I.) took the loss and falls to 3-2 on the season after allowing a run off three hits and a walk in two-plus innings of work
OFF THE BAT – SJC:
- DiPrizio was 3-4 with a run and an RBI and reached base five times with a pair of walks
- Chisholm added two hits, a run, and two RBI in four at-bats
- Senior first baseman Noah McDaniel (Eliot, Maine) went 2-4 with a run scored
- Emanuelson was 2-5 with a run, two doubles, and an RBI
- Senior shortstop Joey Murphy (Derry, N.H.) went 2-6 with a run and an RBI
OFF THE BAT – JWU:
- Senior designated hitter Adam Diehl (Cypress, Texas), the Wildcats' lone repeat hitter, was 2-6 with three RBI
- Freshman left fielder Alex Domingos (Ellington, Conn.) went 1-3 with two runs, a double, and three RBI
MVP – Grayson Jennings, Saint Joseph's
Joey Murphy, Saint Joseph's
Ronan Chisholm, Saint Joseph's
Zach Begin, Saint Joseph's
James Smiegocki, Johnson & Wales
Adam Diehl, Johnson & Wales
Colby Greenhalgh, Johnson & Wales
Dan Petr, Lasell
Andre Marchessault, Lasell
Parker Browne, Suffolk
Kevin Sinatra, Suffolk