BENNINGTON, VT – The Williams College Baseball Team traveled to Southern Vermont College today to take on the Mountaineers in a midweek game. The two teams previously competed on 4/17 in a game which extended to extra innings. That meeting ended in favor of SVT with a score of 9-6. A string of three runs in the bottom of the 10th gave the Thoroughbreds the win after nine innings of very competitive play.
The Ephs entered today's game well rested after their weekend series was rescheduled to May due to weather and concerns over the state of the field. The rescheduled series was against the Wesleyan Cardinals. Those games will now occur on May 3rd and May 4th. The first game will be home at Cole Field, while the double header will be held at the Cardinals' field.
The cancellation means Williams has not played since they last encountered SVT. Their record currently stands at 16-7 overall and 3-3 in conference. SVT has had two games in the intervening time. Both of which were against Elms College and both of which they won. Entering today's play the Mountaineers are 11-14-1 with a conference record of 5-7. Five of their wins have come from the current five-win streak they are on. The first pitch was thrown at 4:00 pm with temps in the mid 60s.
The first two innings were scoreless for both teams. In the 2nd Williams got a few men on base to get things rolling but were unable to convert. Senior Doug Schaffer singled up the middle as the second batter. He later advanced to second and third on a stolen base and a ground out respectively. However, a final fly out ended the at bat soon after. Likewise, SVT junior Brandon Lara-Mack doubled to left center as the second batter. His teammate, senior Cody Sullivan was walked to put two men on base, but a strike out and a fly out moved the game into the 3rd on the next two batters.
In the top of the 4th, the Ephs got onto the scoreboard to take a lead that they would not relinquish. Sophomore Erik Mini doubled to left center with the out count at one. A failed pickoff attempt occurred on Schaffer's at bat which allowed Mini to reach third. Schaffer brought him over the plate a few pitches later with a sacrifice fly out which brought the out count to two. Another fly out followed but put the Ephs up 1-0.
Once again, a period of quiet returned to the game. The score remained at 1-0 for the 5th and 6th innings. The Ephs made another effort at a run in the top of the 5th which was started by first year Matt Aventuro getting hit by a pitch. Sophomore Eric Pappas knocked a single deep into right center which gave Aventuro time to advance two bases to third. Senior David Kwan was walked as the next batter to load the bases for Williams. Unfortunately, two fly outs in the beginning of the bat combined with a final strike out which left three men on base when the at bat changed. Throughout both innings, the Ephs managed to keep SVT to three batters in a strong showing of their pitching and fielding efforts.
In the top of the 7th , Williams returned to extend their lead to two. Senior Alex Panstares was hit by a pitch to get on base first. Aventuro ground out as the next batter but allowed Panstares to advance to second. In an individual effort, Panstares then stole third. A failed pickoff attempt by the catcher, during the attempt, gave Panstares time to cross home plate. No more runs were scored in that at bat but the Ephs went up 2-0.
Once again, SVT managed a few on base in the bottom of the 7th but were prevented from cracking the scoreboard. Sullivan was walked but then put out at first on a reach on a fielder's choice. Similarly, another reach on a fielder's choice ended the inning with no change in the score.
Following the trend, the Ephs steadily added to their lead in the top of the 8th. Senior Kellen Hatheway doubled for his first contact of the game. Mini flied out but allowed Hatheway to reach third. Schaffer followed soon after with solid contact which rolled past the third baseman and allowed him to reach first. A man on first and third, and only one out on the at bat set the stage for junior Mike Stamas' at bat. He also managed contact which was fielded by the pitcher to put him out at first, but allowed Schaffer a base and batted in Hatheway. Schaffer subsequently stole third, but the game moved into the bottom of the 8th with a final strike out. Another three batter, three outs for SVT meant the game was still at 3-0 moving into the final inning.
In the top of the 9th, the Ephs kicked into gear with eight runs to seal the victory. Panstares got the ball rolling again with a single to left center. He advanced two bases to third on a failed pickoff attempt which put him in a good position moving into the rest of the lineup. Pappas was walked two batters later and stole second to put a man on second and third. Kwan drove both of his teammates in with a deep single which advanced the score to 5-0. First year Jacob Basil stepped in for Kwan as a pinch runner. He stole second and was allowed time to reach third when Hatheway earned a single. Senior Tom Benz also stepped in for Hatheway as the base runner. Mini brought in more runs with a single which allowed Basil to reach home and Benz to reach third. Mini also stole second which put a man on second and third for Schaffer's at bat. Schaffer delivered a double to right center which moved the score to 8-0. Stamas kept the bat alive with a single which pushed Schaffer to third. First year Ryan Young followed suit with a single which was bobbled in a fielding attempt. The error allowed Young second base, Stamas third base, and Schaffer home base. Panstares returned up to bat and connected on a sacrifice fly out which gave the Ephs their second out and their tenth run with Stamas crossing home plate. Aventuro returned with Young on third and batted in the final run of the game with a single towards the shortstop. The flurry of runs made the score 11-0 moving into the bottom of the 9th. The Ephs completed their strong offensive effort with another strong defensive effort which definitively blanked the Thoroughbreds.
After losing a tough overtime game at home last week, the Ephs bounced back with a resounding victory. They will move into the remaining games this week and weekend with a focus on repeating today's performance.
This was the final athletic contest between Williams and Southern Vermont as Southern Vermont is closing its doors at the end of this semester.
The Ephs next chance to compete will be a quick turnaround. They are set to take on Union College tomorrow at home. Union is 14-12 overall and 10-6 in conference. Play will begin at 4:00 pm sharp. The Ephs are entering the later portion of their season with significantly more games under their belt than those left to play.