FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Williams College baseball team faced the toughest test of its young season Friday with contests against No. 9 Johns Hopkins and a 7-2 Bethel (Mn.) University team.
Consider those tests passed. The Ephs pounded out 36 hits and 21 runs in the two contests, holding on to defeat the Blue Jays 9-8 in a morning contest and then rallying to defeat the Royals, 12-3, in an afternoon game.
Williams improved to 5-0 with the wins. The Ephs have a newly scheduled 1 p.m. game against Denison Saturday in Port Charlotte.
The Ephs got off to a great start against JHU, scoring three times in the first and second and once in the fourth to build a 7-1 lead.
In the first, singles by Eric Pappas, Kellen Hatheway and Mini loaded the bases for Schaffer, who drove a long fly ball to center than one-hopped the wall for a three-run triple. In the second, Tom Benz led off with a single and Philip Barnett laid down a sacrifice bunt that he beat out for a single instead. The pair pulled off a double steal after an out. Pappas was hit by a pitch to load the bases and, with two outs, Mini was hit by a pitch to force home Benz for a 4-0 lead. Schaffer then ripped a two-strike pitch back up the middle for a 6-0 Williams lead.
In the fourth, Hatheway tripled to deep center but was injured on the play. Mini ripped a two-out single to score pinch-runner Ryan Young for a 7-0 lead. Junior southpaw John Lamont started and went the first four frames for the Ephs, allowing five hits and two runs while walking two and striking out five. First year Daniel Lynch came on and tossed two shutout innings of relief and wound up being rewarded with his second win of the season.
But the Blue Jays fought back, scoring twice in the seventh and three times in the eighth to make it a 9-7 game. Kyle Dean came on in that eighth inning for the Ephs. He got a key double play with the bases loaded and no outs. Then, after a two-run double made it 9-7 Williams with runners on second and third, Dean induced a pop up to end the inning. In the Hopkins ninth, a two-out double put the tying run on third and the winning run on second, but Dean wiggled out of it again with a groundball to shortstop that ended the game. He earned a save, throwing two innings and allowing three hits and two runs, one earned, while walking two and striking out one.
The Ephs had 15 hits in the win. Pappas was 3 for 4 with four runs scored. Mini was 3 for 3 and reached base five times, knocking in three runs and scoring one. Schaffer was 3 for 4 with five RBI.
The Ephs then took on a 7-2 Bethel squad. They took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run double by Schaffer to right field that scored Mike Stamas and Pappas, both who had singled. Bethel bounced back, scoring three times in the bottom of the second off Williams starter Jack Bohen.
But Williams rallied, scoring twice in the fourth to re-take the lead, five times in the sixth and three times in the seventh to pull away for the 12-3 victory.
In the Ephs fourth, Matt Aventuro led off with a double and was sacrificed to third by Jacob Basil. Ryan Young tied the game with a scoring liner over second for an RBI-single. Stamas singled and a wild pitch moved both runners up. Pappas plated Young with the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
In the Williams sixth, Basil and Stamas singled and Pappas walked to load the bases with one out. Mini cleared them with one swing, driving a ball into the right-center field gap for a three-run triple and a 7-3 lead. Schaffer followed with an RBI-single. David Driscoll had a base knock that led to an RBI-single from Aventuro and a 9-3 lead. The Ephs salted away the game in the seventh as Schaffer and Driscoll had RBI-singles.
Bohen went a full eight innings for the Ephs, allowing seven hits and the three second-inning runs while walking two and striking out four. Benz finished up with a scoreless ninth, fanning one Royal.
Schaffer was 4 for 5 with 4 RBI. Driscoll and Aventuro were each 3 for 5. Stamas was 3 for 6.