Gulls Finish Season At No. 1,
NECBL Team to Claim Top Spot
Newport Gulls clinched the New England Collegiate League championship
on Aug. 11. Some 10 days later, that title has resulted in an
unofficial national championship.
of the most successful clubs in summer baseball over the last decade,
the Gulls capitalized on the best season in team history to finish
atop Perfect Game’s final weekly ranking of the nation’s top 50
summer-league teams. It was the first such championship for a team
from the NECBL.
Gulls (37-11 overall) moved into the No. 1 spot immediately after
winning their fifth NECBL title in 12 years, which coincided with the
playoff demise of the two Cape Cod League teams, Cotuit and Harwich,
which had occupied the top position most of the 2012 summer season.
The Gulls then sealed the No. 1 spot with the conclusion of the
summer-league season on Saturday.
is an achievement to win the NECBL championship, but an honor to be
selected at the top of summer-college baseball,” said Chuck Paiva,
the Gulls general manager and person most responsible for recruiting
this year’s team. “I’m perhaps biased, but I think you got it
right and could not imagine getting knocked off the top by any team
(once we became ranked No. 1).”
Gulls fate was not officially sealed until Friday night when their
only real remaining competition for the top spot, Yarmouth-Dennis of
the Cape Cod League and La Crosse of the Northwoods League, concluded
Perfect Game’s No. 1-ranked team in both 2006 and 2007, fell in the
third and deciding game of the Cape Cod League championship series,
coughing up a 5-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning to Wareham,
before eventually losing 8-6 in 10 innings. Wareham had entered the
Cape playoffs with a sub-.500 record.
Crosse, No. 4 in the final in-season ranking, swept undefeated
through the Northwoods League playoffs after posting a national-best
49 wins in the regular season, but the Loggers fell just short in
their bid to unseat Newport from the top spot, finishing at No. 2.
Amsterdam, champions of the Perfect Game Collegiate League, finished
at No. 3 while Santa Barbara (California Collegiate), winners of its
second straight National Baseball Congress World Series title, came
in at No. 4.
Cape Cod League, universally acknowledged as the nation’s dominant
summer league, ended up with three teams in the top 10, but none
higher than No. 5 Cotuit, which went 30-14 in the regular season only
to fall in the first round of the Cape League playoffs.
posted the best regular-season record in the NECBL at 31-10, and
advanced through three rounds of playoffs with relative ease, going
6-1. Expected to be a team dominated at the outset by pitching, the
Gulls instead became an offensive juggernaut and broke numerous team
and league records at the plate, including for runs scored in a
season. Including regular season and post-season games, the Gulls
outscored their opponents 411-220. Overall, they hit .316 as a team,
and produced the NECBL batting champion in catcher Jeff Melillo
(Rutgers), who hit .404.
Perfect Game’s ranking of the league’s Top 40 Prospects (to be
released soon), the Gulls will be represented by 13 players, led by
outfielder Yale Rosen (Washington State) at No. 2. Rosen broke the
team record for home runs (12), even through his season was ended
prematurely by a shoulder injury.
is the best balanced team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said
Mike Coombs, who won his third league championship in his eight years
as head coach of the Gulls. “We were solid in all areas—defense,
pitching, hitting, in the back end of the bullpen and also in middle
when we lost our 3-4 hitters at mid-season (Rosen and Kansas catcher
Alex DeLeon to summer school), we had someone else just step in and
do the job for us. Even when some of our younger pitching prospects
struggled in the beginning, some of our older, more experienced arms
stepped in and solidified the staff. From start to finish, it was a