Today: Jun 18, 2024

Baseball caps off historic season with a fourth place finish nationally

Photo courtesy southernctowls.com
Senior captains Nick DeProspo and Kyle Rosadino celebrating with the east region trophy.

PETE PAGUAGA — Sports Editor   

Last spring Southern baseball finished a school record 45-9-1, a season that included a trip to North Carolina for the Division II College World Series.  

The Owls, who had last reached the College World Series in 2005, won their first ever College World Series game in school history.  The Owls finished the year ranked No. 4 in the nation.

“It was pretty special,” said Head Coach Tim Shea. “We were right in it in 2010 and our seniors were very hungry.”

Kyle Cummings, shortstop for the Owls and transfer player from UConn-Avery Point, said he agrees with Shea that this was a special team.

“When I came in, during the first practice everyone was hard working,” said Cummings. “The captains were great, they are going to be hard to replace.”

After being eliminated by Franklin Pierce in the NE-10 Tournament, the Owls were seeded fourth in the regional tournament which was to be hosted in New Hampshire at Franklin Pierce.  This was a surprise to the Owls, who were ranked first in the region before the conference tournament.

“Everyone expected we would host,” said Shea, “we had something to prove.”

After beating Wilmington in the first round, the Owls then lost to NE-10 conference tournament champions Adelphi.  They then faced Franklin Pierce—a team that beat the Owls twice to win the East Region last year at Yale—in an elimination game. The Owls beat Franklin Pierce to advance this time around.

Adelphi, who went 3-0-1 this season against the Owls going into the finals of the East Region, only had to win one game to advance. The Owls needed to win two games in one day to go back to the College World Series.

The Owls pulled off the improbable, winning both games against Adelphi to win the East Region and earn a bid to the World Series in Cary, NC.

The seniors were a big part of helping the Owls get over the hump and back to the final playoff event of the season.

The Owls celebrated by jumping into a pond across the street from Franklin Pierce.    

“The seniors were very hungry, [Mike] Johnston led the nation in saves, Kevin Pettine was 10-0 in the season, Kyle [Cummings] led us in hitting, [Nick] DeProspo led us in home runs and [Steve] Simon only had one loss,” said Shea. “They led by example on and off the field.”

In their first College World Series game since 2005, the Owls were beaten 13-0 against the University of West Florida.  The Owls didn’t let that affect them though. They defeated the then No. 1 seed, Grand Valley State, in an elimination game and also beat Sonoma State before falling to Winona State University.  

“We realized that we play in the best conference and that we could hang with anyone,” said Cummings, after the Owls’ loss to West Florida.

“We beat some good teams, and we had to come back in both wins,” said Shea.

After adding eight wins in postseason play, The owls improved their record-setting win total to 53. The team also started the season with 22 straight wins.  The final ranking for the Owls was fourth in the nation, their highest ranking of the season.


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