by Nick Lemley
On Tuesday August 2nd I was able to attend my first NECBL playoff game, a semifinals game between the Bristol Blues and Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. On the first of August, the MV Sharks won their wildcard game against the Mystic Schooners in extra innings setting them up to play a best of three series against the Bristol Blues, who were the #2 ranked team in the post season and the NECBL Western Division Champs.
Before the start of the game I was able to talk to two Bristol Blues players, M.T. Morrissey (Pitcher) and Jacob Gaudreau (Catcher) about their time on the team and both their experiences playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The two of them are not only teammates on the Blues, both of them also play for the Bryant University Bulldogs. Jacob Gaudreau was called up to the Bristol Blues recently and appeared in his first game on July 27th. Since then, he has appeared in 6 games including Tuesday’s game against the Sharks. When asked about what his game-plan was when coming to the Blues Jacob said, “I just wanted to come here and be the best teammate possible, whether that is catching bullpens, doing things for pitchers or getting in a game and making my at bats useful for the team, catching great when I get in and I’ve been blessed to get a good amount of innings so far, so really my mindset has been, do whatever I can to help the team and mesh well with the new group of guys I’m with.”
Like Gaudreau, this is M.T. Morrissey’s first time playing in the NECBL. However, he has had experience in wood bat leagues playing in the Futures League for the Vermont Lake Monsters last summer. “Its been great. I’ve been here since the beginning and I have enjoyed every second of it. The competition has been great but the guys I have also met here have been great and its made for an amazing summer, I’m excited for the playoffs but not really ready for it to end yet,” said Morrissey on his time in the NECBL. As I mentioned, M.T. Morrissey and Jacob Gaudreau play for Bryant and have Bryant teammates on the Blues as well other NECBL teams like the Mystic Schooners, North Shore Navigators, North Adams Steeple Cats just to name a few. “Knowing they’re on a team and watching motivates me to push a little harder against opposing teams especially when I’m facing an opposing hitter from our team (Bryant),” said M.T. “It gives you something to look forward to when you’re playing a team really far away, and showing up to the field knowing you’re going to see one of your good friends is always fun and when you grow close to guys on your team from other schools then the same affect carries over into the spring.”
It was great to hear that both of them are enjoying their time in the NECBL and well as on the Bristol Blues. “Overall its been a great experience getting to meet everyone, its a great group of guys and everyone wants to win and have a good time together so its been fun and enjoyable,” Jacob stated, “For next year, I don’t know my plans yet but I’d love to come back to Bristol, it’s great, the crowd is great, players are great and the coaching staff is awesome, its been a great experience and I definitely wouldn’t mind coming back for a second year.”
Jacob was right about the crowd, in the first inning of the game Joe Rios hit single to bring in two runs putting the Blues up 2-0. Before the the start of the bottom of the 2nd the game was delayed due to rain and throughout the process of bringing out the tarp and putting it away the crowd was cheering. The rest of the night was rough for the Blues and their fans as the Sharks scored 6 runs in the 4th inning getting 4 of the runs from a grand slam hit by Logan Chambers. Still the fans were cheering hoping that the Blues could turn it around but the game ended 10-3 in favor of the Sharks.
Editor’s note: The New England Collegiate Baseball League playoff picture as of Friday, August 5th looks like this. The Vermont Mountaineers will face the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks for the 2022 Fay Vincent Championship Cup. Game 1 is tonight, August 5th at Recreation Field, Vermont. Game 2 is tomorrow at the Shark Tank, Martha’s Vineyard. Game 3, if necessary, will be back up at Recreation Field, Vermont.