SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Williams College baseball team (0-2) traveled to Springfield College today to compete in their first games of the 2020 season. After a long period of off-season training the Ephs were excited to get their first double header underway.
While this is the first game for the Ephs, the Springfield College Pride were already 3-0 against Colby Sawyer and Western New England University respectively. A long day of baseball for both teams kicked off in newly arrived spring weather at 1:00 pm.
The Ephs dropped the first two games of their season to Springfield College, but remained competitive throughout.
As the visiting team, Williams began at bat first. They came out of the gate strong with two runs in the first inning to take the lead. Junior Eric Pappas led off for the Ephs and managed to get on base with a single. Sophomore catcher David Driscoll was walked two batters later to put two men on. First year Jakob Cohn stepped up to bat soon after with Pappas and Driscoll still on base and two outs recorded. He knocked a double to right field which brought both teammates across home plate and put Williams up 2-0.
The remainder of the first and top of the second were quiet innings. Springfield managed to get three men on base with a single, walk, and an error, but a strong pitching effort by senior righty Johnny Lamont ensured three strike outs took the Ephs out of danger.
In the bottom of the second, the Pride got on the score sheet with a couple runs of their own to tie the game. Junior Nick Fazio got the ball rolling with a single to left field. Sophomore Adam Willametz followed suit with a single of his own to push Fazio to second. A sacrifice ground out on the following at bat allowed both runners to advance a base. Junior Jack Cooney delivered big soon after with a single to center field which brought both runners home and made the score 2-2. A couple walks and a wild pitch put the Ephs in a dangerous position again with two men on, but Lamont delivered the last strikeout to keep the Pride from taking the lead.
Bouncing back strong, the Ephs returned in the following inning to take the lead once more. Pappas led off with a single, which senior Mike Stamas capitalized on when he delivered a double out to right field which brought Pappas home. Driscoll connected on his second at bat of the day to send Stamas to third. The series sparked a pitcher change to Springfield's sophomore righty Brendan Kirck. The change did little to alleviate the situation as junior Erik Mini knocked a single to left field which brought Stamas in and pushed Driscoll to second. Driscoll went on to steal third and then was batted in by a sacrifice fly out from Cohn. The at bat ended soon after but put the Ephs up 5-2.
Another period of calm returned to the game soon after as neither Williams nor Springfield were able to put much together through the top of the sixth. In the three intervening innings the teams collectively managed only two hits.
In the bottom of the sixth, Springfield tied the game with a scoring flurry of their own. Senior Ryan Smith got things started when he managed to reach first on an error. Cooney continued a strong day in his next at bat with a single to right field. Both batters were pushed a base on the following at bat when a four-ball pitch count walked first year Michael Barrett. With the bases loaded, senior Chad Shade delivered with a single to right field which brought Smith home and reset the situation. A reach on the fielder's choice on the next play gave Springfield their second out and put the pressure on senior Jake Gleason. Gleason rose to the occasion with a deep shot out to left field which brought home another two runs to tie the game at 5-5.
Neither team would score for the remainder of regular innings which sent the game to extras to determine the eventual winner. The Ephs connected on two pitches in their at bat, but were unable to translate either into an on base position. Three batters and three outs gave Springfield the opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.
Junior righty Bryan Woolley stepped in to replace senior Kyle Dean as the closer. Willametz managed to connect on one of Woolley's first few pitches which resulted in an error allowing him to reach second base. First year Jimmy Shriner stepped in as the pinch runner and advanced to third on a sacrifice grounder. Two walks ensued to load the bases and Shade ended up being the one to deliver with contact out to right field. The single allowed Shade to reach on a fielder's choice and gave Shriner time to score the game winning run.
After a brief break between games to loosen up and get hydrated, the second portion of the double header kicked off around 3:30 pm. With the travel and prior play taken into consideration, the second game ran only seven innings.
The first inning passed scoreless for both Williams and Springfield. Both teams managed two runners on but were unable to convert. In the top of the second, the Ephs sprung out to a lead again with two runs.
Sophomore Billy Shea recorded his first significant contact of the day as the first batter with a single deep into right field. Fellow sophomore Ryan Young pushed Shea to second the play after with a single of his own to center field. Both batters advanced a base on a ground out the following play. Junior Philip Barnett reached on a fielder's choice as the next batter which gave Springfield two of their outs while resetting the position with two runners on. Pappas continued a strong performance on the day with a shot out to left field which gave Barnett and Young time to cross home and put the Ephs up 2-0. Pappas would go on to steal second, but a final out put an end to Williams' scoring flurry.
The Ephs managed to keep the Spirit to three batters in the bottom of the second, and the Pride followed suit by keeping Williams scoreless in the top of the third. In the bottom of the third, Springfield began with two quick outs which put the pressure on first year Michael Barrett as the third batter. He managed to connect and made it to first on an error by the pitcher. A wild pitch during the subsequent batter's turn at the plate allowed Barrett to advance two bases to third. Shade would go on to bat Barrett in following that wild pitch with a single to third base. The third out ended the inning shortly after but cut the deficit to one at 2-1 in favor of the Ephs.
The entirety of the 4th and the top of the 5th featured hits by Young and Pappas respectively, but left the score unchanged. It was not until the bottom of the 5th that the Spirit would take their first lead of the game.
Cooney reached first on an error by the second baseman and moved to second on Barrett's ground out. Shade came back up to bat and made contact to reach second and allow Cooney to cross home plate. The now tie game would not last long as Gleason came to the plate with Shade on third and two outs recorded. He doubled to left field which put the Spirit into the lead at 3-2. A final ground out pushed the game to the 6th.
In the 6th, the Ephs battled back to tie the game. Mini was walked as the first batter and then advanced to second on a teammate's groundout. Shea managed to bring him home with a single into center field which was bobbled by the outfielder to allow him to reach second. Young's single sent Shea to third and put two men on for junior Jeremy Irzyk's at bat. Irzyk was walked which loaded the bases for the Ephs. Unfortunately, despite two consecutive batters making contact, the game moved into the bottom of the 6th with the score still tied at 3-3.
The next two at bats featured three batters on for each team, but in a display of both the Ephs and the Pride's pitching and fielding abilities no runs were scored. The bottom of the 7th determined whether this game would also extend into extra innings. Cooney was the first up to the plate and delivered a double to left field. Barrett followed suit with a deep single to the same spot which allowed Cooney to cross third and home plate and complete the sweep on the Ephs. The final score of the second game was 4-3.
With the first two games of a long 2020 season under their belt, Williams Baseball will look to put today's losses behind them. Their next chance to compete will come in a week's time when they travel to Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass for another double header on Sunday the 15th. The first game will begin at 1:00 pm.