Davis, Johnson & Wales baseball win GNAC baseball tournament championship

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference’s baseball tournament came to a close Sunday, and a local ballplayer was part of the championship-winning team.

Former St. Paul standout Owen Davis is a freshman catcher on the Johnson & Wales University (Providence) baseball team. Davis caught all 18 innings of the championship doubleheader on Sunday. The third-seeded Wildcats lost their first game to top-seeded Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, 6-2. The thing is, the Monks had to win twice on their home field to win the championship. Johnson & Wales made sure that didn’t happen in a big way in the second game, crushing Saint Joseph’s by a score of 21-6. Davis went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. He scored both of his runs in a 10-run bottom of the second inning. Behind the plate, Davis recorded six putouts and one assist. He had five putouts in the first game Sunday. Johnson & Wales improved to 17-25 overall and earned the GNAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Not bad for a freshman catcher.

Locals compete in the GNAC tournament

The GNAC is home to a bunch of local baseball talent, and it was on display during the tournament.

In first round games on May 3, Johnson & Wales took on sixth-seeded Albertus Magnus College and fourth-seeded Lasell University faced fifth-seeded Elms College. The Wildcats beat the Falcons, 12-2, while the Blazers outlasted the Lasers, 13-8, in 15 innings. Davis went 1-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI for Johnson & Wales. Matt Warren, a graduate student and former Wolcott standout, drove in a run for Albertus. Other locals on the Falcon roster included Ike Flannery (junior, Wolcott) and Kyle Hensel (freshman, Wolcott). In the Elms victory, Josh Nohilly, a senior and former Bristol Eastern standout, walked to lead off the top of the 15th inning. He came around to score on Seamus Higgins’ two-run double, and that began a five-run explosion for the Blazers. Justin Miller, a sophomore and former three-year Holy Cross varsity player, hit a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to give Elms an 8-1 lead. That seemed like it happened in a different game when Nohilly drew his walk in the 15th inning.

Elms upset top-seeded Saint Joseph’s, 4-0, in the second round on May 5. Nohilly accounted for three of the runs with a three-run home run during a four-run top of the first inning. The Blazers didn’t need anything else after that first inning and beat the Monks in a double elimination game. On May 7, Elms lost to Johnson & Wales, 18-12, in a semifinal round game. Davis went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored for the Wildcats while Nohilly singled for the Blazers. Elms lost its elimination game, 12-1, to Saint Joseph’s later that day. Nohilly had two hits while Miller added one. Freshman teammate Trevor Nohilly (Bristol Eastern) pinch hit in the ninth inning and reached on a fielder’s choice.

After beating Albertus, Johnson & Wales downed second-seeded Anna Maria College, 15-11, on May 5 in a double elimination game. Davis went 2-for-4 with a double, walk, three runs scored and an RBI. On the Anna Maria roster was freshman Michael Lodge (St. Paul). The Wildcats beat the Blazers, 18-12, on May 7 to advance to championship Sunday.

PHOTO CAPTION: Owen Davis talks with head coach Vic Rinaldi during a 2021 St. Paul baseball game in Torrington. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2021 file)

PHOTO CREDITS: Johnson & Wales University, Albertus Magnus College, Elms College athletics websites.