CLINTON, NY – The Williams College Baseball team took on Hamilton College in the final two games of the three-part series. After the first game yesterday, the Ephs were looking to complete their sweep in today's action.
As they stood coming into the game, the Ephs record is 19-7 overall and 4-3 in conference. On the other side, Hamilton College sits at 14-15 overall with 4-6 in conference.
Today's games were rescheduled from Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th due to the inclement weather in New York. To allow time for the Ephs to return to Williamstown at a reasonable hour, the first game began at 12:30 pm and ran seven innings while the second began at 3:30 and ran the full nine.
The Ephs began up at bat once again. The game was low scoring overall, and neither team was able to break on to the scoreboard in the first two innings. In the top of the 1st, senior Tom Benz doubled down the left field line to get on base as the second batter. He eventually advanced to third on fellow senior Kellen Hatheway's sacrifice fly out, but the promising base position did not amount to anything when a final ground out moved it to Hamilton's at bat. Likewise, senior Doug Schaffer singled through the left side in the top of the 2nd, but was thrown out on junior Mike Stamas' reach on a fielder's choice. While Williams was able to connect a few times, Hamilton was kept to three batters in each of their first two at bats.
In the top of the 3rd the Ephs again managed two men on base with a hit batter and an intentional walk, respectively but did not turn the opportunities into runs. Hamilton, on the other hand, snapped their hitless streak and scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the 3rd. Sophomore Matt Cappelletti got things rolling with a single to left field as the first batter. Sophomore Joe Suski allowed time for Cappelletti to reach second with a bunt which also gave Hamilton its second out of the inning. Cappelletti further improved his position when he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Ethan Wallis was the second Hamilton player on base when he was walked and subsequently stole second. In a strong individual effort, both runners stole another base during sophomore Gavin Schaefer-Hood's at bat. Cappelletti managed home plate which put Hamilton in the lead at 1-0. Schaefer-Hood was eventually walked and he continued the trend by stealing second. Two runners were left on second and third with a final pop up to the first baseman which ended the inning soon after.
In the top of the 4th, the Ephs scored their first run to briefly tie the game. Schaffer started things off with a double down the left field line. He advanced to third soon after when the pitcher failed to pick him off. The base position and only one out recorded put Schaffer in good position for first year Matt Aventuro's at bat. Aventuro connected with a tricky ball towards the short stop who fielded it but miss-threw it towards the first baseman. The error allowed Schaffer time to score and Aventuro the chance to get on base. Unfortunately, two consecutive ground outs ended the scoring effort with Hamilton and Williams now tied 1-1.
Hamilton returned in the bottom of the 4th to take the lead and keep it out of William's reach for the remainder of the game. Junior Nate Goodman got on base with a single to center field and was quickly replaced by senior John Carey as a pinch runner. First year Brady Slinger was next up at bat. He managed to connect on a bunt which was improperly thrown by the third baseman and allowed Slinger and Carey time to score Hamilton's second and third runs of the day. The Ephs cleaned up the pitching and fielding efforts to keep Hamilton to three batters for the rest of the inning, but moving into the 5th Hamilton was up 3-1.
Another period of calm returned to the game for the 5th inning. Both teams managed a man on base, but neither runner amounted to anything. In the 6th, the Ephs cut into the deficit but were unable to overcome the two run lead. Stamas came up big as the second batter with a triple to left field. With two outs on, senior Alex Panstares knocked a single through the left hand side to bring Stamas home. His RBI and a position on base made the situation look promising. However, the pressure broke with a final ground out which gave the Ephs only one more chance to even the score or take the lead. Williams kept up a strong defensive effort in the bottom of the 6th to prevent any increase in the lead.
In the top of the 7th, sophomore Eric Pappas led off with a single up the middle. Likewise, Benz managed to make contact as the next batter. Unfortunately, the ball was fielded by the pitcher, and he put Pappas out at second. Two ground outs in a row ended the game without the final at bat with Hamilton up 3-2 and the series now tied at 1-1.
A brief break for strategizing and warming up was followed by the second portion of the double header. The fate of the series rested on the outcome of the final game. Although it was a familiar position for the Ephs, who managed to beat out Middlebury in the final game a few weekends ago, the situation was not ideal.
The second portion of the doubleheader featured another low scoring game. Neither team was able to break onto the scoreboard until the 6th inning. After which, the game continued to be scoreless through the remaining three innings.
After the first game which featured errors on both sides which allowed runs, both teams cleaned up considerably defensively. Both Williams and Hamilton kept the other side to three batters in the entirety of the first three innings. In the 4th, both teams managed to make it on base, but neither did much with the opportunity. The top of the 4th saw Benz walked as the second batter. Despite making it to first, two straight fly outs left him on base when the at bat ended. Likewise, Schaefer-Hood connected with a single which got him on base. Unfortunately, his teammate's rolling grounder turned into a double play which also ended the inning shortly after.
In the 5th, the trend continued for Williams. They were unable to get more than three batters to the plate before recording all three outs. Hamilton surged forward slightly in the bottom of the 5th with Cappelletti's double to left center, but two outs recorded, and a final line out meant the runner was unable to advance.
Finally in the top of the 6th, the Ephs took control of the game with the only scoring all afternoon. Panstares began the run with a single through the left-hand side. Sophomore pitcher Philip Barnett gave the Ephs their first out with a bunt, but allowed Panstares to advance to second. A pop up to the second baseman followed and put the pressure on the scoreless Ephs. Benz and Hatheway were both walked as the next batters on four-balls and a hit batter respectively. The turn of events loaded the bases for Schaffer's at bat. He connected with an important single through the right side which allowed both Panstares and Benz time to find home plate. With the Ephs now up 2-0, the runners continued to advance. Schaffer stole second and Hatheway made for home, but was thrown out by the pitcher The inning ended with the Ephs firmly in the lead.
The brief flurry of runs would be the only scoring for the day. Hamilton and Williams both kept each other to three batters once again in the bottom of the 6th and top of the 7th. Hamilton's Schaefer-Hood managed a bunt and then stole second during a teammate's pitch count in the bottom of the 7th. The effort was stifled with three straight outs soon after and the game continued into the 8th at 2-0.
The 8th and top of the 9th were both three batter affairs for Hamilton and Williams again. In the bottom of the 9th, Hamilton looked to make a last-minute run. Schaefer-Hood once again made it on base with a single towards third base. He was replaced by Carey as the pinch runner. Carey attempted second but was put out by a reach on a fielder's choice which handed Hamilton its final out of the game.
After a series of long delays and consistently poor weather, it ended in favor of the Ephs at 2-1. While both games were low scoring, they included all the excitement of a typical split series.
With this weekend's baseball completed, the Ephs are entering the later portion of their season. Only five regular games separate the Ephs from a postseason run. Two of these games are out of conference, while the final three will be in conference against Wesleyan. The rescheduled series could factor in importantly for how the Ephs complete the regular season. Their next chance at competition will be a home game against Dean College. The Boomers have an 11-23 overall record and a 6-6 conference record. That game will take place on Tuesday 4/30 at 4:00 pm.