September 27th, 2013- The New England Collegiate Baseball League successfully completed it's 20th season earlier this month. The New England League is now closing in on another significant milestone.
The NECBL is eagerly anticipating it's 100th alumnus to play in the Major Leagues. Tonight, the NECBL saw it's 99th graduate play in his first Big League game.
LHP Mike Belfiore made his Major League debut for the Baltimore Orioles tonight against the Boston Red Sox. Belfiore, a Boston College product, appeared in three games in relief for the 2007 Pittsfield Dukes (now Mystic Schooners).
While in the Berkshires, Belfiore had a 2.45 ERA. He also appeared in eight games as a position player for the Dukes, accumulating a .313 on base percentage.
Ironically, Baltimore's Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations is Dan Duquette, the owner of the Dukes when Belfiore played for them.
A 2009 first round sandwich pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Belfiore was traded one year ago today to the Orioles for infielder Josh Bell. In 2012, between High-A and Double-A, the southpaw struck out 78 in 66.1 innings and posted a 2.71 ERA.
This season, the 6'3" Belfiore went 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk. He struck out 82 in 76.1 innings.
Belfiore becomes the 12th NECBL graduate to make his Major League debut in 2013, the 47th to play in the Majors this season and the 99th to reach the Big Leagues overall. The dozen debuts are the most the NECBL has had since 13 NECBL alumni debuted in 2008.
The NECBL congratulates Mike on this significant accomplishment.
Keene Swamp Bats are teaming up with Let it Shine to help with the 2013 Keene Pumpkin Festival....and we are looking for volunteers to help out on Friday, Oct. 18th from 12-8 pm, and on Saturday, Oct 19th-all day at Railroad Square!
If you could give us a couple of hours or all day, we can find a job for you. There are jobs that everyone can do from pumpkin carving, working at the Welcome booth-logging in pumpkins, selling and preparing food and lots of other fun stuff.
If you are interested please email, Vicki Bacon with your contact information, availability and someone will be in touch with you!
In a winner take all game, the Keene Swamp Bats defeated the Newport Gulls in a decisive Game Three of the NECBL Championship Series 7-1.
After both teams squandered bases loaded opportunities in the first inning, it was Keene who jumped out on top early.
With the bases again loaded in the top of the second, Hofstra’s Matt Ford roped a three RBI double off the center field wall to give Keene an early 3-0 lead.
Newport answered back though with their only run of the night in the bottom of the second on a Shea Donlin RBI single off of Paul Covelle.
Covelle, out of Franklin Pierce University, made the start for Keene, but only lasted 2.2 innings. The right-hander surrendered just one run on four hits and four walks, but with Game Three being the last day of the season, every pitcher had a short leash.
University of Virginia’s Nathan Kirby, usually a starter for Keene, came on in relief of Covelle and was fantastic. The southpaw went 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and three walks with three strikeouts. In fact, all of Keene’s relief pitched fantastic. The trio of Kirby, Matthew Clancy, and James Connell took care of the remaining 7.1 innings without surrendering another run. Keene kept taking on to their lead, first in the third inning. St John’s Zach Lauricella went deep to left center field for a solo shot to extend the Swamp Bat’s lead to 4-1.
In the top of the fourth, JP Sportman knocked in two more Keene runs with a 2 RBI single into right field. The final Keene run would come from Lauricella again, this time scoring Rutgers’ Brian O’Grady on a RBI single in the sixth inning.
The game would remain 7-1 for the remainder of the way. James Connell came on in the ninth to finish things off, and after allowing back to back one out singles, the right handed side winder out of Kennesaw State got a strikeout and a pop out to finish the game, and the NECBL season.
After the final out, the entire Keene dugout dog piled Connell next to the mound, as they wildly celebrated their NECBL championship victory.
The championship is the Swamp Bat’s fourth league title, and the second Fay Vincent Cup Keene have won in the last three years.
Well folks, its been a pleasure writing these recaps. The boys are all heading home tomorrow and will prepare for their collegiate seasons. The Swamp Bats, which will have many new faces but will also have some from this squad as well, will be back at it in June 2014, seeking a repeat championship. See you then.