NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Elms baseball team saw its season come to a close after a 7-6 loss to Becker in an elimination game at the New England Collegiate Conference Tournament on Saturday.
Becker pulled in front behind a big third inning and didn't look back. The Hawks held off a ninth-inning rally to eliminate the Blazers, who stranded the tying run on third base for the second consecutive day. William Negron (Bronx, N.Y./Salesian) went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead Becker at the plate.
Elms jumped on top with single runs in the first and second innings, both on Becker errors.
The Hawks sent nine batters to the plate in the third and came away with five runs to take over the lead. Negron and Josiah Shepherd (Providence, R.I./Classical) supplied back-to-back RBI doubles to tie the game, and a single by Noah Rivera (New Bedford, Mass./Greater New Bedford Tech.) knocked in the go-ahead run. A balk plated the next run, and Cameron Plank (Marlborough, Mass./Marlborough) capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.
The teams traded runs in the seventh inning, with Becker scoring on a double by Ventres and Elms on a ground ball by Kevin Banas (Hatfield, Mass./Smith Academy). The Hawks tacked on their final run in the eighth on a sac fly by Chris Testa (Providence, R.I./LaSalle) to go up 7-3.
Elms didn't go down quietly in the ninth, closing the gap with three runs that included RBI singles by Thomas Slane (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) and Nathan Ayala (Springfield, Mass./Chicopee). Becker turned to Michael Iacovelli (Northbridge, Mass./Blackstone Valley Tech) for the final two outs, and he delivered by getting a pair of fly balls to end the game.
Becker starter Tanyon Ventres (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Regional), who took a no-hitter in the sixth inning, allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits and struck out eight in 7.0 innings of work. He earned the win (2-6 overall) while Iacovelli nailed down his second save.
Banas got the start for the Blazers and was tagged with the loss (2-3 overall). He surrendered five runs on six hits in 2.2 innings.