WATERVILLE, MA – The Williams College Baseball team traveled to Colby College's campus today to take part in the NESCAC Baseball Championships. After a thrilling season which featured a 23-9 overall record and 7-5 conference record the Ephs were able to advance to NESCACs for the first time in a number of years.
To reach this point, Senior Kellen Hatheway's key homer followed by junior pitcher Kyle Dean's three batter inning won both the Wesleyan series for the Ephs and the NESCAC West. The NESCACs were scheduled to begin on May 10th, but inclement weather pushed the games back to Saturday. A beautiful forecast for Saturday and Sunday ensured the games would continue without a hitch.
Aside from Williams, the other teams present were Bates College, Middlebury College, and Tufts University.
The schedule features a total of four games on Saturday and as many as three on Sunday depending on outcomes. Bates and Williams College played first at 9am. Middelbury and Tufts played next at 12:15 pm. Following the outcomes of those games, each of the four teams played different opponents at 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm respectively.
The Ephs split their first two games 1-1 with a victory over Bates and a loss to Tufts.
Williams came up big to defeat Bates with a decisive 11-3 victory. Hatheway led the day and improved on an already successful past history with two home runs and drove in five runs to help secure he game one win.
For the first two innings, neither team was able to crack the scoreboard. However, both the Bobcats and the Ephs managed some momentum in the 2nd. Bates batted in the top of all innings as the designated away team for this particular game. First year Bobcat Antonio Jareno was walked as the first batter. He was put out at second on the next play when junior Pat Beaton reached on a fielder's choice. Beaton went on to steal second and advanced to third on a passed ball during junior Giovanni Torres' four-ball walk. A double play ended the inning on the next play to move the game to the Ephs second chance at bat. First year David Driscoll doubled to left center as the first batter. He advanced to third on a subsequent ground out and was eventually put out at home on junior Mike Stamas' reach on a fielder's choice. The inning ended soon after with little other action.
Scoring began in the 3rd, with Bates taking a short-lived lead. Two consecutive fly outs put the pressure on the Bobcats early in their 3rd chance at the plate. Junior Jake Arend got on base first for Bates with a single to center field. Sophomore Christian Beal batted Arend in soon after with a single of his own that gave Bates their first run of the game. Beal went on to advance two bases prior to his teammates junior Noah Loughlin and Jareno both being walked. Bases loaded for Bates looked promising but amounted to nothing in the end. The score moving into the bottom of the 3rd was 1-0 Bates.
In their third at bat, the Ephs sprung out in the lead on the back of Hatheway's two RBI homer. Similarly, two strike outs put the pressure on Williams early on. Sophomore Eric Pappas and senior Tom Benz both got on base with singles to left center and right field respectively. Hatheway delivered a monster over the right field fence which made the score 3-1. The game soon after entered the 4th.
The 4th and top of the 5th were primarily defensively focused. Three batters and three outs were the trend for all three at bats. In the bottom of the 5th, the Ephs extended their lead further. Sophomore Philip Barnett doubled to left center as the second batter. Pappas delivered contact again with a single to center field as the next batter. The connection allowed Barnett to reach home plate and make the score 4-1 in favor of Williams. Benz and Hatheway each singled later in the at bat. Senior Doug Schaffer was walked as the next batter to load the bases for the Ephs. Unfortunately, a final line out meant only one run was scored.
Once again, the 6th was quiet on the offensive side for Bates and Williams. The Bobcats managed a few singles but were kept scoreless. Similarly, senior Alex Panstares managed a double for the Ephs but was left on base with the game moving into a high scoring 7th.
The Bobcats cut into the deficit in the top of the 7th, only to have the Ephs increase the deficit further in the bottom of the 7th. Following the trend, two quick outs occurred on Bates' first two batters. Arend singled to center as the third batter to get things rolling for his team. Two consecutive walks of Beal and first year Bryan Gotti loaded the bases for Bates and sparked a pitcher change to junior lefty Charlie Carpenter for Williams. Jareno managed a single next to bring in both Beal and Arend. Junior Pat Beaton was hit by a pitch next to load the bases again for Bates. Carpenter forced a reach on a fielder's choice to get the Ephs out of a dangerous spot and move the game into the bottom of the 7th. Entering the bottom of the 7th, the score now sat at 4-3.
In the bottom of the 7th, Pappas singled to right field as the first batter. Benz followed suit with a double to left field which allowed Pappas time to cross home plate. Hatheway returned to the plate with no outs recorded and a run already scored. He improved the situation with another homerun deep over the center field fence. The contact allowed him to score and brought Benz home as well. Three quick outs followed to move the game into its final two innings. The Ephs entered the 8th up four at 7-3.
In the 8th, the Ephs replace Carpenter with righty sophomore Nehemiah Wilson. Aside from a walk, Wilson kept the Bobcats off base for their second to last at bat of the game. In the bottom of the 8th, the Ephs added another flurry of runs to the scoreboard to complete the victory. Stamas reached base first with a single to center field. Panstares followed with a single to right field which gave Stamas time to reach third. Barnett was walked next to load the bases for the Ephs. With full bases and no outs recorded, Pappas delivered a single to left field. The contact reset base position and allowed Stamas time to score. Benz followed suit with a single to center field which scored yet another run. A strike out followed but kept the bases loaded for Schaffer's at bat. Schaffer was subsequently walked to push all runners forward a base and score the third run of the at bat. Driscoll sacrifice flied out next to give the Ephs their final run of the game and make the score 11-3.
First year David Lynch came to the mound in the top of the 9th to finish out the game for the Ephs. He allowed only a single, and a good defensive effort kept the Bobcats scoreless for their final at bat.
With an early win under their belt, the Ephs entered their second game of the day with hopes of repeating their recent success. Unfortunately, Tufts managed to keep the Ephs from a perfect day in a competitive game.
Williams began at bat in this game. Benz managed a single through the left side in the top of the 1st, but aside from that, the game entered Tufts' first at bat uneventfully.
Tufts jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the 1st. A pop up on junior Elias Varinos' at bat gave the Jumbos a quick first out. Senior Casey Santos-Ocampo followed as the second batter. On a fast ball down the middle Santos-Ocampo made solid contact to knock a home run over the left field fence. A ground out and a strike out followed to end the inning but put Tufts up 1-0.
Not to be kept down for long, the Ephs returned to even the score in the top of the 2nd. Driscoll led off with a double to left center. Two consecutive ground outs followed which gave Driscoll time to advance to third and put him in a good position for Panstares' at bat. Panstares connected with a single to right center which brought Driscoll home. The game moved to Tuft's next at bat soon after with the score tied at 1-1.
The game was quiet for the bottom of the 2nd and the entirety of the 3rd, aside from Benz and Schaffer's singles to put them on base, neither team advanced the score.
In the 4th, Tufts returned to extend their lead further. Sophomore Kyle Cortese began the bottom of the 4th with a walk. Junior JP Knight was walked as well to put two men on. Junior Justin Mills loaded the bases two batters later with a single. Senior catcher Harrison Frickman put the Jumbo's back in the lead with a bunt which allowed Cortese to score. Fellow Senior Will Shackelford followed suit with a sacrifice fly out which put Tufts two runs up at 3-1 heading into the 5th.
Scoring would not occur again for the following three innings. While Tufts quietly remained in the lead, the Ephs attempted to even the score in both the 6th and 7th. In the top of the 6th, Mini doubled to center field with two outs already recorded. Stamas kept the momentum going with a single to third base which got him to first and pushed Mini to third. The promising base position was forfeited with a final strike out. Similarly, in the bottom of the 7th, Pappas singled to center field with one out already recorded. Benz knocked a ball towards third which got him on base and pushed Pappas to second. Unfortunately, two quick outs again left both men on base with the at bat ending.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Jumbos returned with a series of runs which sealed their victory. Mills was walked as the second batter. Frickman was hit by a pitch to push Mills to second and put two men on. Shackelford followed with a double to left center which allowed Mills time to score, moved Frickman to third, and put two men on again. A line out came between Shackelford's at bat and Santos-Ocampo's at bat. Santos-Ocampo stepped back up to the plate and continued an impressive game with a double down the left field line which scored the final two runs of the game and put Tufts up at 6-1.
A final at bat for the Ephs ended unceremoniously and put the Ephs' record at 1-1 in their opening two games.
The Ephs will get the chance to keep their NESCAC title and NCAA Tournament hopes alive at 9am on Sunday. Their opponent will be decided in the 7pm game tonight between Middlebury and Bates.