Williams ended another solid week of baseball by winning the Little Three title outright on Sunday for the first time since 1986. By splitting a doubleheader at Amherst, the Ephs finished the week with a 27-6 record overall (5-1 in Little Three play) and a strong chance to make the NCAA post-season tournament. The Ephs also wrapped up Little Three play by taking the series against Amherst for the first time since 1976. The day was marked by powerful pitching and defensive performance on both sides of the ball.
Amherst emerged in game one determined to avenge their loss to Williams two weeks ago by striking early against starter Sam Landis ’98. An Amherst run in the first inning and three more in the third inning put Williams at a deficit that proved too much to recover from against the pitching of Amherst’s Mike Sweeney. RBI hits by Matt Sigrist ’99 and Jeff Russell ’99 were not enough to rally the Ephs to victory. Landis got the loss and a complete game while giving up seven hits and two walks.
Matt Jewell ’98 went the distance in the second game to get the win for Williams by throwing a two-hit shutout in one of his best performances of the year. Jewell managed to strike out four and walk four in seven innings of plowing through a powerful Amherst lineup.
Tim Albrecht ’01 kept up his string of well-played games by leading off the fourth inning with what would be a key double for the Ephs. Albrecht advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Mike Paolercio ’00, and then scored on a Jim Frew ’99 foul ball pop fly that was caught down the first base line. That one run was all the Ephs needed to claim the Little Three title as they beat Amherst 1-0.
The week leading up to Amherst matched the Ephs against teams from Westfield State, Union, and Castleton State. Williams handily finished 3-0 out of these contests, continuing to plug as the team rapidly approached the final week of its regular season. Against Westfield State, Williams won at home 12-3 in what ended up being another showcase performance by Landis on the mound.
Matt Marvin ’98 started the game but was relieved by Landis in the second inning. Mike Caffrey ’01, who once pitched a perfect game as a twelve year old, came in and got the save for the Ephmen. Together as a crew, they yielded only three hits in a game that was marred by errors on both squads. The twelve run production by the Williams’ bats was highlighted by a three-for-four performance by Paolercio, a two hit day by Macallister ’98, and a shot over the centerfield fence by Sigrist in the second inning.
On Tuesday Union came to town looking to steal a win from the Ephs, but had to settle for a 7-3 loss to Williams. The star of the day was Jewell, who pitched eight innings and struck out eight while giving up seven hits and three earned runs. He prevented Union from making a serious run as Williams steadily scored seven runs over the course of the game.
In the bottom of the third, a David Hodgman ’99 single got the inning rolling, later resulting in a Hodgman score on a David Carillo ’00 single. Carillo then scored on an Albrecht double, and the game slowly got out of reach for the Union ballers. Ending the competition in style again was Caffrey, who eliminated any chance of a Union comeback.
This week the Ephs do battle with Springfield College and then MCLA at home today at 3:30, wrapping up the regular season with a doubleheader at home against Middlebury this Saturday. After that follows the wait for a bid to the NCAA tournament and a chance for the Ephs to display their prowess on the national level.