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MVP Debrule, Army blast Bucknell for 5th straight Patriot League title

Photos provided by Army West Point Athletics

It was just another day at the office for Army shortstop Kevin Dubrule. 

The only difference was this time it was the second game of the Patriot League baseball tournament finals and Dubrule and his teammates wanted to make sure that there was no third and deciding game in the series against visiting Bucknell.  

Trailing the Bisons, 4-0, in the second inning, the top-seeded Black Knights bats exploded for four runs in the second and seven runs in the third inning, to essentially put the game away en route to a decisive 21-6 victory over second-seeded Bucknell at West Point’s Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field. The victory clinched Army’s fifth straight league championship and gives the Black Knights an automatic spot in the NCAA baseball tournament that starts in early June. 

Oh, Dubrule? All he did was go 5-for-6, hit two home runs, including a grand slam in the eighth inning in what will be his last swing at his home field, drive in six runs and win the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. Yup, just another day at the office for the Army senior, who is racking up all kinds of Patriot League honors this year and throughout his career at West Point. 

“He is what everyone wants in their best player,” said Army first-year head coach Chris Tracz. “Kevin is our captain and a senior that all the other players look up to. He is the program here and he has made this all work all season long. Yes, I am the coach, but he is the leader of this team and when we needed plays to be made, he was the one who got the job done.”

Dubrule, who is batting .411 this season, with nine home runs and a team-leading 68 runs batted in, was both the 2023 Patriot League Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. “My goal is to get on the field and make some noise and put myself in the best position to help this team win baseball games,” says Dubrule, who graduates this weekend and will be stationed at Fort Novosel in Alabama with a focus on aviation. “Our team has a really close bond and we have a lot of great pieces that when we put them together work pretty well. Our goal is to play great defense, score a lot of runs and give our pitchers as much support as possible. This year has worked out very well so far.”

A Venice, Fla. native, Dubrule chose West Point over several Florida colleges after receiving an offer from Army during his sophomore year of high school. “I could not pass it up,” he said. “It has been a great decision to come to the United States Military Academy and I am extremely blessed for the opportunity I have here and for the trust the coaches and other players put in me.”

In fact, Dubrule and his teammates made mincemeat out of the Patriot League this year, going 25-5 against league competition (42-17 overall) during the regular and post-season. In the two post-season series, Army won four out of five games and outscored Lafayette and Bucknell by a total of 65-25. 

“When you look back now, going 25-5 against some very good Patriot League opponents shows just how good and determined and well-prepared this team was,” noted Tracz, who came to Army from Marist College. “I am not sure this is the best Army team ever but this is definitely a special team and they will be remembered for their play for a long time.” 

Dubrule was certainly not the only Army player to excel on Monday. Catcher Derek Berg had three hits, including a home run, and drove in five runs. Centerfielder Braden Golinski also homered for the Black Knights and senior first baseman Ross Friedrick and designated hitter Coleson Titus each had two hits. 

Winning pitcher Mike Ruggieri picked up his ninth victory in 10 decisions this year, going six innings, striking out four and allowing eight hits.

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