Napleton gets back in power groove, breaks GLVC single-season home run record with two dingers


Quincy University catcher Luke Napleton, left, and pitcher Joe Byers celebrate on of Napleton's two home runs during Friday's NCAA Division II Midwest Regional victory over Northwood at QU Stadium. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Going 20 at-bats without hitting a home run may not seem like much of a drought, but Luke Napleton knew he had taken several swings since his last blast.

None of them felt like the right rhythm.

“I’ve been rolling over the past few games, being a little early,” the Quincy University catcher said. “I’ve been trying to stay back and hit the ball to right field. If you do that, good things will probably happen.”

In this case, record-setting things happen.

The NCAA Division II leader in home runs regained his flight pattern Friday, hammering a pair of home runs to right field as the top-seeded Hawks moved a step closer to the super regional by beating fifth-seeded Northwood 6-3 in a Midwest Regional matchup at QU Stadium.

“It felt better,” said Napleton, who homered in the first game of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament against Missouri S&T but had gone 6 for 36 at the plate with eight walks and one home run  in the previous nine games. “It hadn’t felt like that in a while. It’s good to be back.”

The Hawks need his booming bat in the middle of the lineup.

Trailing the Timberwolves 1-0 heading to the sixth inning, the Hawks tied the game as Brock Boynton led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Gino D’Alessio’s double to left-center field. After a Dustin Dupont sacrifice bunt, Napleton smashed a two-run home run to right field.

Joe Huffman added a two-run home run in the seventh, and Napleton capped things with a solo home run to right field in the eighth.

In the process, he broke the Great Lakes Valley Conference single-season record for home runs with his 28th and 29th blasts. Earlier this season, Napleton broke Ryan Snder’s QU single-season record of 23 home runs.

He also owns the QU career record with 50 home runs.

“I’m just going up there trying to do my job,” Napleton said. “It felt good to put good swings on it.”

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