Duo helped lead Golden Bears to sixth CCC title
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 14, 2018) – Junior outfielder Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) and junior left-handed pitcher Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) of the Western New England University baseball team were both recognized with awards from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) for their performances during the CCC Tournament over the last two weekends, the league office announced on Monday.
Cassella was named the CCC Player of the Week, while Hamel earned Pitcher of the Week recognition after Western New England completed an undefeated, 5-0 run through the CCC Tournament that culminated in a 7-6, walkoff victory over Salve Regina in 12 innings on Sunday at Reynolds Field in Newport, R.I.
Cassella hit .476 (10-for-21) with three walks, three doubles, three stolen bases, eight RBI and 11 runs scored. The junior also posted a .520 on-base percentage and a .619 slugging percentage.
Early in the tournament, he had three consecutive multi-hit games including two three-hit games against No. 6 seed Gordon to send the Golden Bears out of pod play and into the CCC Championship Series.
In game one of the best-of-three series, he drove in three and scored two runs. Two of his RBI came on a two-run double in the eighth. With his team now in control, Cassella became instrumental in WNE's attempt to secure the league title. He came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth trailing by two and laid down a great sacrifice bunt down the third-base line forcing an errant throw and allowing the tying runs to score. He then scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Golden Bears the lead. The game went to the 12th inning where Cassella would walk and steal second before coming around to score the series-clinching run.
Hamel earned a pair of road victories during Western New England's championship run. He threw five innings against No. 2 seed Roger Williams during pod play, allowing only one unearned run and striking out eight. He then pitched into the seventh in game one of the CCC Championship Series surrendering two earned runs and striking out five. His ERA during the tournament was 1.54.
Along with the CCC title, Western New England (31-13) earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The fourth-seeded Golden Bears will open the New England Regional against fifth-seeded Ramapo (N.J.) on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, Mass.