|The 2016 Navy baseball team is in the NCAA tourney (photo – T. Flynn)|
Annapolis – Navy Baseball’s 2016 team continues to prove itself one of the best in Academy history. On Monday, the Mids (42-14-1) fell in the opener of their Patriot League Tournament twin bill with Holy Cross, 3-2. The loss dropped them into a 1-1 tie with the Crusaders and made the second half of the doubleheader the Patriot’s de facto title game.
As it has all season, the Mids’ staff was at its best in the hour of its greatest need as starter George Coughlin shutout Holy Cross (30-27) through seven innings, yielding only three hits while fanning five and walking one. He then handed the ball over to Sam Sorenson, who pitched two scoreless, hitless innings to stifle the Crusaders for the remainder of the game.
In the eighth, the Mids’ bats proved just effective enough as DH Stephen Born, hitting in the three spot, singled a 1-2 offering to center. With one out, senior left fielder Sean Trent doubled down the right field line, moving Born to third.
Following an intentional walk to right fielder Connor Deneen, first baseman Leiland Saile got enough of a fly to center to plate Born on a sacrifice. Following the third out, Sorenson returned to the mound to close out the game, the series, and the Mids’ journey to the NCAA tournament. The righty struck out two of the final three batters that he faced.
“I’m so happy for these guys and these seniors. They have really invested in the program and they’ve worked so hard. In sports sometimes you really don’t deserve anything, but its really nice when you see the payoff for guys that work so hard,” head coach Paul Kostacopoulos told navysports.com after the game.
This year’s Navy team won the most games in the program’s history, captured the regular season Patriot League title, then followed through on Monday with the Patriot League tournament title and the automatic qualifier to the NCAA regional round.