WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College Ephs (6-14, 2-4) took on the MCLA Trailblazers (9-9-1, 2-3-1) at Bobby Coombs Field in a local non-conference game.
MCLA took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Ephs returned late in the game with a series of consecutive hits to put them in the lead at 2-1. The Trailblazers answered quickly with a tying run in their following at bat. The fate of the game was sealed by an Eph double in the 8th to give Williams the 4-2 victory.
The trailblazers came out of the gate swinging in the top of the first inning. Sophomore left hander Charlie Carpenter began at the mound for the Ephs. He struck out MCLA's first batter to give the Ephs some momentum. However, MCLA senior first basemen Bill Pulasky recorded the first hit of the game with a double to right field. Sophomore Christian Seariac kept the ball rolling with a single through the left side which pushed Pulasky to third base and put two runners on. On the following play, he advanced the Trailblazers' position with a stolen base to put one on second and third, and the pressure on the Ephs. Senior Brett LaBonte delivered a sacrifice fly out to right field on the following at bat which batted in Pulasky and put MCLA up 1-0. A final fly out ended any further Trailblazer chances for the inning.
Eph senior Jack Roberts managed to get on base via a four-ball walk, advanced to second on a stolen base, but was unable to make anything of the opportunity. The game moved into the second inning with MCLA still up 1-0.
MCLA Sophomore Jack Toledo and Williams Senior Adam Dulsky managed singles in the second inning. However, solid defensive efforts by both teams meant little came from the players reaching base.
In the top of the fifth inning, Carpenter was replaced by junior right hander Will O'Brien. Charlie posted a strong four innings with only one run allowed, six strike outs, and two walks recorded. Will began a strong performance as well. Along with a strong fielding showing, the top of the fifth ended again with the score unchanged.
The bottom of the fifth returned some excitement to the game. Junior Doug Schaffer tripled to right field in his third at bat during the second play for the Ephs. Roberts stepped up to the plate and knocked a ball through the right side to bring Schaffer home and tie the score at 1-1. A couple pitches into junior Kellen Hatheway's at bat, a passed ball ensured Roberts again advanced to second. Dulsky's second hit in as many at bats, brought in Roberts to give the Ephs their first lead of the day. While he only managed to single up the middle, Dulsky then advanced to second not long after when he stole a base. A walk of first year Erik Mini put a man on second and first, but a line out ended the inning shortly after.
Not to be kept down for long, MCLA returned the run in their following at bat. Senior Brett Labonte double to right center to start the sixth off for the trailblazers. A ground out to O'Brien allowed Labonte to advance to second. However, a strike out on the following batter put the pressure on. Second basemen Joe DiMassimo's walk, and catcher Antonio Archina being hit by a pitch loaded the bases for MCLA. O'Brien threw three balls on first year Brandon Conden before turning the count around with two consecutive strikes. Unfortunately a final ball, walked Conden, gave MCLA another run, and led to a third Williams pitcher switch to senior right hander Michael Cassidy. The inning ended soon after with a fly out and the score now tied at 2-2.
Another period calm was broken in the bottom of the eighth. A ground out to first base on the first at bat gave the Ephs an out early on. Senior Adam Regensburg managed to get on base with a walk on the subsequent play. In a series of wild pitches and passed balls, Regensbur advanced to third quickly after. Likewise, sophomore Mike Stamas put two men on base when he was walked on the following at bat. He advanced to second with a stolen base just after MCLA made a pitcher switch to junior Schuyler Robinson. Doug Schaffer stepped up once again and nailed a ball deep to right field to drive in Stamas and Regensbur and put the Ephs up 4-2. Schaffer had a big game today with three hits in his four appearances at the plate. Following the runs, Roberts was walked, and Dulsky was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Ephs with two outs already recorded in the inning. Robinson's key strike out on Mini ended another promising scenario for the Ephs.
MCLA mounted an impressive comeback attempt in the top of the ninth. Two consecutive ground outs to third baseman Shaffer looked to be a quick early end for the Ephs. Seariac's second hit of the game came at a key time for the Trailblazers. His single to left field was followed by Labonte's single to center field, and first year Jake Ferrara's single up the middle. The abrupt change in situation was eerily similar to the Ephs' eventual come from behind loss to Vassar last week. It further sparked first year George Carrol's approach to replace fellow first year Phillip Barnett as the closer. However, a final fly out to deep left field ended the game early with the Ephs still up 4-2.
Eph Head Coach Bill Barrale commented on the performance: "It was nice to be able to get out and play despite the weather. Our pitching was good today, we played a nice clean game and Doug came up big for us. This is exactly what we have been preaching all year: pitch well, play good defense, and get a key hit. It feels good to be on a small winning streak heading into this weekend."
The Ephs next game on Friday the 20th against Hamilton was moved to Saturday. Saturday will feature another home double header starting at 11:00 am, followed by a final game on Sunday. These games will be a part of conference play.