Lynn, MA- The first ever Clemente Cup played in the United States, as it is has been played in Puerto Rico the last three years, found its champion late Sunday evening under the lights of the beautiful Fraser Field as the Fisher Falcons defeated the Northern Vermont University-Lyndon Hornets 3-1. Luis Clemente, the President and founder of the Roberto Clemente Foundation, was on hand throughout the tournament and was an integral part of the event's success. "Luis Clemente and the Roberto Clemente Foundation members were incredible the entire weekend, braving the cold weather and truly engaging with coaches and student-athletes alike. They each took the opportunity to connect with our students and staff and we couldn't be prouder to have played host to such an amazing event," said Athletic Director Cathy Courtney. "This was truly a Fisher College Community Event. Each athletics team volunteered several hours to help run various aspects of the tournament. We had amazing support from several different departments throughout the weekend." All of these people were on hand to witness the Falcons take home the cup on Sunday evening.
The Falcons baseball team played nearly flawless baseball in three games, going 3-0 in pool play, defeating SUNY-Canton 13-3 on Saturday and NVU-Lyndon 12-1 in the 10am game and the University of Maine-Presque Isle 20-1 in the 1pm game on Sunday, clinching a spot in the Championship game. NVU-Lyndon defeated SUNY-Canton 3-2 to earn a shot at the title, but fell short as the Falcons claimed the 2019 Clemente Cup Championship, defeating the Hornets 3-1 in a hard fought contest. Coach Dulin, who is also on the board of the Clemente Foundation and an integral part of bringing the Clemente Cup to Fisher, expressed his gratitude. "I'm truly appreciative of all the efforts from everyone involved in making this event happen. To be able to host the first stateside Roberto Clemente Cup weekend was honor to me and hit home for the guys. Winning the Cup was icing on the cake" said Dulin.
Game 1 - Fisher 12, NVU-Lyndon 1 (7 innings)
The Falcons got the bats going early and often in the first matchup of the day. Considered the away team based on the flip, the Falcons got on the board first scoring a run after an Ivan Rivera (Brooklyn, NY) triple and a Mitchell Lundholm (Plymouth, MA) double to take an early 1-0 lead. Lyndon's starter Tyler Davis was able to limit the damage though and worked out of the jam. The Hornets answered in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a Falcons miscue to make it 1-1 after one full. Falcons catcher Reynaldo Mejia (Lawrence, MA) started the second inning off with a hit, Ismael Perez (Brooklyn, NY) reached on a Hornets error, and Jorge Sanchez (Caguas, PR) drew a one-out walk to load them up for Rivera. The Falcons shortstop made the error hurt as he blasted a double in the gap clearing the bases to make it a 4-1 game. The Falcons plated four more runs in the third as Jonathan Rosado (Bayamon, PR) and John Batista (Lawrence, MA) started the frame with back-to-back hits. An overthrow on a pickoff from the pitcher sailed over the first baseman's head alllowing Rosado to score and Batista to second. Jacob Deziel (Merrimac, MA) and Sanchez matched hits as well and the Falcons would lead 8-1 after three innings. Fisher added three more in the 5th and an another in the 6th to take a 12-1 lead into the top of the 7th. Falcons starter Jose Galan was outstanding in the contest as he allowed just two hits in the contest while striking out 11 Hornets over six innings of work. Jared Dane (Fontana, CA) pitched in the 7th allowing just a walk, and the Falcons would finish the game in seven innings, defeating the Hornets 12-1.
The Falcons collected 13 hits overall in the contest, while Ivan Rivera finished as the Falcons leader in Game 1 going 3 for 4 at the plate while knocking in four. Lundholm, Rosado and Mejia all tacked on a pair of hits as well in the victory. Galan earned his second victory of the season while Tyler Davis was handed his second loss of the season allowing eight hits, but just two earned runs. Zak Johnson was the only Hornet to tally a hit in the game as he went 2 for 4 in the losing effort.
Game 2- Fisher 20, UMPI 1 (7 innings)
Fisher was again the away team in the contest but would not get on the board first this game. UMPI jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after a leadoff walk for Owls Justin Mason turned into a run as Ryan Sanderson knocked a double to left center to go up 1-0. Falcons starter Kevin Bongiovani (Bayside, NY) would limit the damage though as he forced two groundouts to get out of the inning with his team trailing 1-0 after one full. After a quiet first inning, the Falcons got their bats going again in the top of the 2nd as Sami Bibovic (Brooklyn, NY) and Jordan Garcia (Brooklyn, NY) each grabbed hits to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Ismael Tatis (Methuen, MA) then forced a walk off of UMPI starter William Stinson to load the bases. A hard shot up towards the middle from Reynaldo Vega (Aguada, PR) forced an Owls error, allowing both Bibovic and Garcia to score to make it a 2-1 game after two innings of play. The Falcons put the game out of reach in the next inning as they tacked on seven runs on seven hits to take a 9-1 lead after three innings. Four straight hits from Lundholm, Rosado, Joshua Rogers (Highlands Ranch, CO) and Bibovic got the inning going, scoring two runs. The Falcons would bat through the order with Lundholm and Rosado collecting another hit in the inning to head to the 4th with the eight-run lead. The bats would stay hot the rest of the way for the Falcons as they scored 11 more runs in the 6th and 7th on nine hits to earn the 20-1 victory.
Falcons pitching continued to impress in Game 2 of the day as Falcons starter Bongiovani collected his second win of the season allowing just one hit while striking out five Owls over five innings of work. Angel Alicea (Caguas, PR) and John Hilcher (Bloomfield, NJ) pitched the last two innings and neither gave up a hit while each struck out a pair of batters. The Falcons bats racked up 20 hits in the victory, with Bibovic leading the way with a 3 for 5 day at the plate while adding three RBI's. Braxten Ramirez (Amarillo, TX), Lundholm, Steven Jimenez (West Miami, FL), Rosado, Freddy Gonzalez (Caracas, Venezuela) and Tatis all each had a pair of hits in the victory. Sanderson's hit in the first was the only hit for the Owls, while William Stinson took the loss for the Owls, allowing eight hits while striking out a pair.
Championship Game - Fisher 3, NVU-Lyndon 1
After finishing 3-0 in pool play, the Falcons awaited the winner of the SUNY-Canton/NVU-Lyndon game. The NVU-Lyndon Hornets defeated the Roos 3-2 to earn a right at the cup against the Falcons under the lights. The second matchup between the two teams in the same day was much different as both teams played really well, but the outcome was the same as the Falcons defeated the Hornets 3-1 to claim the cup.
Neither team could find a way to get on board over the first four innings as each starter came out strong. Falcons starter Johann Doerrer (Dolgeville, NY) allowed just two hits over the first four innings of work while striking out six batters in the process. Hornets starter Matt Page was just as productive as he allowed just two hits to the Falcons in his first four innings, both singles from Cameron Pearson (Orlando, FL) and Jonathan Rosado. The Falcons finally broke through in the bottom of the 5th inning. After Doerrer pitched another clean inning in the top of the frame, the Falcons saw Pearson collect his second hit of the night to start the inning, this time a double to left center. Ismael Perez earned his first RBI of the night as he singled in Pearson to make it a 1-0 game. The Falcons would look to add on more as Jacob Deziel followed up with a single of his own to put runners on first and second with just one out. Jorge Sanchez loaded up the bases after he earned his third walk of the tournament. But Page was able to work out of the jam as he earned a strike out and a fly out to end the threat leaving the bases loaded with the Falcons up 1-0 after five full.
Doerrer continued his dominance on the mound as he did not allow a baserunner in the 6th, 7th or 8th innings allowing his team to maintain the 1-0 lead. The Falcons then would add some much needed insurance in the bottom of the 8th giving some breathing room for the starter. After Hornets reliever John Boulay struck out the first two batters of the inning, Pearson collected his third hit of the night to get his team going. Joshua Rogers followed up with a single of his own to put runners on first and second with two outs with Perez up to the plate. Perez knocked another single to right field driving in his second run of the night to make it a 2-0 ball game. He was then replaced with Reynaldo Vega who then stole second, allowing Rogers to steal home to take a 3-0 lead into the 9th. The Hornets did not go quietly in the 9th though as they started the inning off with back-to-back singles from Sam Ognenoff and Ben Rollins putting runners on first and third with no outs. Ben Rollins moved up to second on a steal on the next pitch putting both runners in scoring position with no outs. Doerrer then earned a huge strikeout to earn the first out of the inning. Codi Smith would then make it a 3-1 game after he hit a single plating Ognenoff and forced Coach Dulin to his bullpen with runners at first and third with one out. Falcons reliever Yamil Delgado (Caguas, PR), making his first appearance of the tournament, was facing Hornets clean up hitter Tucker Root. Delgado did exactly what he was put in to do as he forced Root to hit into a double play as he grounded to Rivera who turned the 6-4-3 double play to end the game with the Falcons winning 3-1 in dramatic fashion.
Doerrer pitched a gem for his second win of the season, going eight innings scattering four hits, striking out eight and allowing just one walk. Delgado earned his second save of the season, facing just the one batter. Falcons were led by Cameron Pearson in the win as he went 3 for 4 at the plate, while Ismael Perez went 2 for 4 with the game winning RBI's. Jacob Deziel was the other Falcon to collect multiple hits in the win. The Hornets were led by leadoff man Ben Rollins went 2 for 3 at the plate while John Boulay took the loss for the Hornets, allowing five hits and striking out three Falcons in the losing effort.
After the action was over the two teams met with many thanks from Luis Clemente and other members of the Clemente Foundation as the weekend was a tremendous success. "We would like to thank Rich Avery and his crew from the City of Lynn. This tremendous event would not have happened at all if it was not for their round the clock efforts to get the field ready in time for this incredible tournament," said Cathy Courtney.
The Falcons are now 21-10 on the season and are right back to work as they take on Rivier University this Tuesday at 7pm.