WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College Baseball team took on the MCLA Trailblazers in an out of conference away game today. The Ephs are coming off a split series victory over Hamilton from this past weekend. Their success in those games puts them at 20-8 in their overall record and moves them past the 0.500 mark at 5-4 in their conference record.
Williams Baseball is approaching the conclusion of their regular season as the semester enters its final two weeks. Aside from today, they have just three games left to play prior to the start of the postseason. All three are against Wesleyan University which was a series rescheduled due to inclement weather.
The Trailblazers are a part of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. They have not fared as well as the Ephs this season and sit with an 9-24 overall record and a 3-14 conference record. MCLA Baseball has also played Hamilton earlier this season. They lost that game 13-1 back in March. Williams will be the second to last team MCLA plays in their regular season.
Play began at 3:30 pm just down the road from Williams in North Adams.
The Ephs began quietly in the first inning while the Trailblazers jumped out to an early lead. In the top of the 1st, the Ephs only managed a single on Senior Kellen Hatheway's at bat. He managed to get on base but a fly out, ground out, and a strike out moved the game to MCLA's at bat.
In the bottom of the 1st, first Austin Rachiele started the Trailblazers off with a triple as the first batter. A good base position meant sophomore Jake Ferrara's sacrifice fly out gave Rachiele time to reach home plate. A strong fielding effort kept the gap to one run but put MCLA up 1-0 heading into the 2nd.
In the 2nd and 3rd the Ephs snapped into form to take a definitive lead while keeping MCLA scoreless. Senior Tom Benz got on base first with a double to right field. He advanced to third during sophomore Erik Mini's at bat on a wild pitch. First year catcher David Driscoll drove Benz in for the tying run with a single towards the short stop. Driscoll was put out on first year Ryan Young's reach on a fielder's choice, and the at bat ended shortly after with a final strike out.
In the top of the 3rd, the score remained tied at 1-1. A fly out and a pop up handed the Ephs two quick outs to put the pressure on. Hatheway delivered his second contact of the game with a double to left field. Fellow senior Doug Schaffer brought him across home plate for the lead soon after with a single to left field. Benz returned up to bat and was walked to put two men on base for Mini's second at bat. Mini came up big with a deep homer over the right field fence to clear the bases and make the score 5-1. A final ground out ended the inning after the exciting turn of events.
While MCLA was kept scoreless for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings, they made a few notable pushes for runs. In the bottom of the 3rd, two quick outs were followed by Ferrara being walked. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, but was ultimately left on base with a final fly out. Similarly, in the bottom of the 4th, junior Dillon Maxon reached first base on the second baseman's throwing error. Senior Antonio Archina connected on a single to left field which pushed Maxon to second and put two men on. A final reach on a fielder's choice moved the game into the 5th with the Trailblazer's score still unchanged.
The Ephs returned in the top of the 5th after a quiet 4th to advance their lead one more run. Hatheway repeated past history with another double to left field. Schaffer backed him up with a single which pushed Hatheway to third base. During Benz's at bat, the catcher managed to catch Schaffer stealing, but the commotion allowed Hatheway time to reach home plate. Benz went on to single, Mini also singled, but two consecutive fly outs left both men on base moving into the bottom of the 5th.
A quick 6th inning for both teams saw only Eph sophomore Eric Pappas and junior Mike Stamas reach base on a single and walk respectively. In the bottom of the 7th, MCLA returned in a major way to make the game much closer.
Moving into the Trailblazer's seventh at bat of the game, the Ephs were up 6-1. MCLA's Archina began the action with a single to right field. Junior Logan Rumbolt pinch hit for fellow junior Dahndray Sistrunk. Rumbolt managed contact and advanced two bases while pushing Archina to third on an error by the right fielder. A ground out by the following batter did not look promising for MCLA. However, Rachiele came up big with a single to left field which brought both Rumbolt and Archina across home plate. Ferrara was walked next which pushed Archina to second. Junior Christian Seariak singled through right field to bring in MCLA's third run of the inning. Senior Jeff Bink followed suit with contact which was improperly fielded by the short stop, allowing him to reach second, Seariak to reach third, and Ferrara to reach third. A strike out ended the flurry of runs with the score now at 6-5 in favor of the Ephs.
The 8th was uneventful for both teams. MCLA was kept to three batters. The Ephs Driscoll singled and sophomore Phillip Barnett was walked but the opportunities amounted to nothing.
In the 9th, the Ephs completed their victory with a final run to extend the lead to two. Stamas got to base first with a bunt. Hatheway was walked to push Stamas to second. Schaffer knocked one deep into left field which gave him time to advance two bases, push Hatheway to third, and bring Stamas in. This would be the final run of the game for both teams. The Ephs were kept to the next three batters. In turn, MCLA made a strong push but were thwarted. Junior Joe Toledo singled to left field and then had junior Shawn James step in as his pinch runner. James was put out at second on Rachiele's reach on a fielder's choice. Seariac was walked two batters later which put two men on. Both runners stole third, but Eph junior closer Kyle Dean struck out a final batter to end the game. The Ephs took the victory 7-5 to put them on a two-game winning streak.
With their midweek game completed, Williams Baseball looks to the remaining three games left to play. The Ephs were originally scheduled to play another out-conference game this week. Setup for Tuesday the 30th at home against Dean College, the game was ultimately canceled due to the rain rolling through Williamstown this week. A further questionable forecast for the remainder of the week will hopefully clear up in time to play the Cardinals at home on Friday. Williams will look to keep the ball rolling heading into their weekend series against a fellow NESCAC rival.