Joseph Gravellese, North Shore Navigators Sports Information Department
North Shore Navigators first baseman Kent Graham and the Trinity College Bantams lost their chance at an undefeated season at the Division 3 College World Series, but they came home from Wisconsin with the ultimate prize: the national championship.
With his team trailing Johns Hopkins 4-3 with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning, Graham stroked a single to ignite what would become a national championship-winning rally. Trinity loaded the bases with two outs for North Reading native and St. John’s Prep alum Matt Sullivan, who worked a walk to score Graham and tie the score at 4. The next batter, Guy Gogliettino, battled through an 11-pitch at bat to draw another walk, bringing home the title-winning run for Trinity.
Earlier in the afternoon, Trinity faced the same situation, trailing Hopkins 4-3 in the 9th with their perfect season on the line, but they went down in order to pick up their first loss of the season. The tournament’s double-elimination format meant that the two teams would be forced to play a second, winner-take-all game later in the day.
The game-tying run in the national championship was the culmination of an incredible season for Graham. The Longmeadow, MA native hit .420 with 9 home runs, 57 runs batted in, and 54 runs scored in 46 games. He was honored with a selection to the NESCAC all-conference first team. He will now look to add an New England Collegiate Baseball League title with the Navigators to his already impressive baseball resume.
Graham is one of three NECBL players on Trinity’s national championship team. Sean Killeen of Greenfield, MA will play for the Holyoke Sox this summer. Jeremiah Bayer, an all-conference pitcher also from Greenfield, will toe the rubber for the Manchester Silkworms.
The North Shore Navigators are the newest members of the NECBL, an elite, wood-bat summer league featuring some of the best collegiate players from around the country. The Navigators kick off their inaugural season on Saturday, June 7, against the defending league champion Vermont Mountaineers at Fraser Field in Lynn. For more information, visit the team’s website at www.nsnavs.com.