Baseball From The Nashua Telegraph: "DWC earns first NCAA baseball tournament berth"
This article is reprinted with permission of the Nashua Telegraph. It ran on May 7, 2012. See the original article on line by clicking here.
By TOM KING Staff Writer
Nashua - A few years ago, Korey LeLievre saw his team come up short in a championship game. He wasn't about to let that happen again.
LeLievre was a member of the Alvirne High School baseball team that fell to Keene in the 2009 NHIAA Class L finals, but on Sunday he pitched Daniel Webster College to its first NCAA Divison III baseball tournament berth.
LeLievre scattered 10 hits, striking out four and walking two in a 6-2 New England Collegiate Conference championship game win over Newbury College at DWC's Harvey Woods Field.
"It's amazing," LeLievre said. "This was a program that started so slow, and now it's gotten so big. Coach (J.P.) Pyne has done an amazing job. I'm glad I could win this with (former Alvirne teammates) Zack Hurley and Kyle Brigham."
"He's been good for us all year," Pyne said of LeLievre, who had beaten Newbury with another complete game earlier in the season.
The Eagles will now wait for the NCAA selection committee to place them in a regional where they will likely be an eighth seed, probably in either Connecticut or New York. The tourney won't begin until about 10 days from now. The Eagles, who shared the conference title two years ago but came up short in the semifinals last year, are now 23-17 overall – that's a program-best 23 wins. After starting the year out as the preseason favorite, DWC began 2-8 overall and 0-3 in the NECC after being swept by Becker University during their season-opening Florida trip in March.
"If you're going to get swept, you might as well have it happen early," Pyne said. "We were reeling a bit and when we came back (north) we started playing better right away. We found ourselves as a team."
The Eagles got a run in the third on a Brigham RBI ground out, but the big blow was a three-run homer to left in the fourth by junior Josh Chasse to give the hosts a 4-0 lead. Chasse had driven in 22 runs coming in, but had been hitting .236 and hadn't homered.
"He's our heart and soul," Pyne said. "He didn't have the kind of year offensively he had hoped for, but he delivered the big blow. He's the real leader of the team, it's got to feel good."
Eagles sophomore Erick Boudreau out of Alton Bay and Prospect Mountain High School was named the tourney MVP. Boudreau went 2 for 3 on Sunday with a run scored. In the Eagles' three tourney wins he went 7 for 12 with five RBIs, stolen base and three runs scored.
The Eagles squeaked by Elms College, 8-7, in Friday's opener, playing without shortstop and closer Rich Lizotte, who was ill. LeLievre ended up getting the save pitching a scoreless ninth.
Saturday, they pasted Newbury, 16-2, but Newbury had topped Elms 4-1 to reach the final, and would have had to beat the Eagles twice.
"They'll represent the conference well," Newbury coach Kraig Kupiec said. "J.P. has a lot of confidence in his players, and they executed well over the (tournament). LeLievre hit his spots, and today he showed the ability to get ahead in counts with his fastball."
This is the second year the conference is eligible for the NCAAs. Pyne is wrapping up his fifth season on the job.
"There's a lot of emotion," he said. "I was thinking in the last inning where we'd been and where we are now. Then Newbury got a hit and that snapped me back to reality really quick."
But the reality is the Eagles and Korey LeLievre are finally champions and NCAA-bound.