SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Williams College Ephs (8-19, 4-8) traveled to Skidmore College today to take on the Thoroughbreds (14-21, 8-15) in their first of the final games of the season. Today's action is the last time Williams will play away this season. The remainder of the series and season will be completed in a double header on Saturday the 5th.
Today's game was a nail biter which extended into extra innings when the teams were tied at the end of nine. Skidmore College took a relatively quick lead in the bottom of the 2nd at 1-0. They maintained this lead until the Ephs drew even in the top of the sixth. Skidmore answered with two quick runs to reclaim the lead at 3-1, but Williams battled it out again with two runs in consecutive innings to even the score by the bottom of the ninth. A run for both teams extended the game into the eleventh inning where Skidmore brought in a final run and took the game after keeping the Ephs scoreless. The game finished 5-4 in favor of the Thoroughbreds.
Skidmore College looked prime to score in the bottom of the first after keeping Williams to just three batters. Senior Shawn Klier was walked as the third batter with two outs recorded on the inning. Catcher Patrick Geiger pushed Klier to third when he singled to left center soon after. The two runners on were sent back to the dugout when a final fly out ended the at bat a play later.
Likewise, in the top of the second, Eph first year Erik Mini managed to reach base with a single to right field and the out count at one. He advanced to second on a passed ball, but was ultimately stopped in his tracks when the subsequent batters struck out and were thrown out respectively.
Skidmore broke on to the scoreboard in the bottom of the second and set the pace for the game. First year Zack Bunker reached first with a deep single to left field. He eventually passed second and arrived at third with an error by the short stop and a balk which also got his teammate Nate Scheinman to second. Senior second baseman Nick Fronte delivered a sacrifice fly out as the next batter which put the out count at two but ensured Bunker got to home plate. The inning ended two plays later with the Thoroughbreds up 1-0.
The lone run in the bottom of the second was followed by a three-inning lull in further runs. Throughout the scoreless third, fourth, and fifth, Skidmore kept Williams to three batters. In this campaign they recorded five ground outs, three fly outs, and a single strike out. On the reverse side, Williams continued a strong defensive season with two fly outs, three ground outs and a double play.
For a brief moment in the bottom of the fifth Skidmore looked to be in a good position to extend their lead. Junior Will Potter managed a single in his first contact of the game to reach first. The action sparked a pitcher change to junior righty Will O'Brien. Senior Mike Fogarty reached first on a fielder's choice as O'Brien's first batter. He later moved to second on a stolen base and advanced to third on an error by the catcher. With the out count at one and Fogarty at third the Ephs had to step up to keep the Thoroughbreds scoreless. They rose to the challenge with a ground out and fly out to left field which moved the game into the sixth.
In the sixth, Williams got on the board and tied the score for the first time. First year Philip Barnett came up big for the Ephs with a double to left field. Sophomore Mike Stamas followed suit with another double which brought Barnett across home base. Two quick outs on successive batters put a stop to the run there, but the score was 1-1 moving into the bottom of the sixth.
In a reversal of the previous trend, Williams managed to keep Skidmore to three batters in the bottom of the sixth.
Further, in the top of the seventh, the Ephs put themselves in a good position to attempt a reach for the lead. Senior Adam Dulsky and Mini were both walked to put two quick runners on. First year Frank Stola was thrown out at first on the following at bat, but Dulsky and Mini both managed to advance a base. Senior Adam Regensburg joined his teammates with a third walk that loaded the bases. Unfortunately, a strike out and fly out respectively meant nothing was made of the opportunity
Not to be kept at bay for long, Skidmore returned strong in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Ryan Strickland was hit by a pitch as the first batter to reach first base. Fronte managed to get on base next with a throwing error by the pitcher. The same throwing error created the time for Strickland to round second and third and find home plate. One wild throw later gave Fronte the gap to find second soon after. From there, Junior Will Potter reached first and Fronte advanced to third on an error by the short stop. Fogarty found contact for the second time that day with a sacrifice fly out to right field which gave Fronte time to reach home. The inning ended with a two run score change and Skidmore back in the lead at 3-1.
In the top of the eighth, Williams began its rallying effort which has become a hallmark of this season. Junior Kellen Hatheway knocked a ball deep to left field. The outfielder bobbled the ball, and in a show of his speed, Hatheway capitalized to reach third base. Senior Jack Roberts delivered with a single to the same spot to cut the deficit to one. Roberts advanced to second a play later on a wild pitch, but the effort was cut short when the Ephs received quick last two outs of the inning.
Keeping the momentum going, the Ephs kept Skidmore scoreless in the bottom of the eighth. They moved into the ninth with the score at 3-2 Thoroughbreds. Stola got Williams off to a strong at bat with a single to center field. Another walk on Regensburg pushed stola to second and put two men on. The sequence of events sparked a Skidmore pitcher change to sophomore Johnathon Kaiser. Despite the switch, a third walk of Junior Tom Benz followed shortly after and loaded the bases for Williams. One more walk on Barnett and a wild pitch ensured Williams tied the score at 3-3, and spurred another pitching change to first year James Kilzer. This alteration seemed to do the trick, as a pop up and double play ended the Ephs' at bat.
Williams maintained a dominant streak in the bottom of the ninth to hold Skidmore scoreless and end the inning quickly. The game moved into extra innings with fresh scoring following swiftly after.
In the top of the 10th, Roberts was walked as Williams' first batter. He advanced to second on a heads up play when a pickoff attempt by the catcher failed. Dulsky kept the Thoroughbreds on their toes with a bunt which got him to first and pushed Roberts to second. Junior catcher Alex Panstares managed to reach on a fielders choice as the third batter which gave Dulsky the greenlight to advance to second and allowed Roberts to produce the Ephs' first lead of the game. Three quick outs ended the at bat quickly after but put the pressure on Skidmore going into the bottom of the tenth.
Skidmore stepped back into their game in the top of the tenth to keep the game going into further extra innings. Senior first baseman Shawn Klier delivered an important double to left field as the second batter. Junior Patrick Geiger singled to left field on the next play which allowed Klier's pinch runner, Justin Bottcher, to find home and tie the score. Geiger also got a pinch runner in Andrew Aikins. He stole second to keep Skidmore going. However, the Ephs handed the Thoroughbreds their final two outs and the game moved into the eleventh.
In the top of the eleventh, a strike out and pop up spelled an early end for the Ephs. Three consecutive walks turned the tides and put Hatheway on third, Roberts on second, and Dulsky on first. A final pitching switch to junior Jack Walter proved to be instrumental when he delivered the last out with a strike out.
Moving into the bottom of the eleventh the score was tied at 4-4. Skidmore needed one run to win the game. Strickland and Fronte stepped up to make contact with two consecutive doubles. The effort brought home the Thoroughbred's final run of the game and earned Skidmore the extra innings victory.
The Ephs still have the opportunity to come away from the series victorious. The remaining two games take place at home this weekend in a double header starting at 12:00 pm. The weather is expected to be warm and sunny for the Ephs' final matchup of the year.