Baseball (19–11, 6–6 in the NESCAC West) swept a doubleheader versus Bates on Saturday to close its regular season. Both games were tight, low-scoring affairs, and the Ephs prevailed over the Bobcats 2-1 in the opener and 3-2 in the nightcap.
On Bobby Coombs Field in Williamstown, the men played two shortened seven-inning games due to rain in the forecast.
The first game finished in under 90 minutes as tri-captain Luke Rodino ’17 battled on the mound with Bates ace Connor Speed.
The Ephs started the scoring in the bottom of the second. Adam Dulsky ’18 led off with a walk, and tri-captain Adam Regensburg ’18 followed with double to left-center, scoring Dulsky from first. The RBI was the 28th of the season for Regensburg, a total that leads the team.
In the next frame, tri-captain Jack Cloud ’17 walked and advanced to third when Kellen Hatheway ’19 smacked a one-out double down the right-field line, his 12th of the season. Cloud then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jack Roberts ’18 to give the Ephs a 2-1 lead.
The men did not score for the rest of the game, although they had opportunities. In four out of their six innings at bat, the Ephs left a runner stranded on third base.
Nevertheless, Rodino kept the Bobcats’ bats at bay in his final start as an Eph. He faced the minimum through four innings and held a shutout until Bates centerfielder Ryan McCarthy homered to left in the top of the seventh. In seven innings pitched, he gave up six hits, walked one and struck out six.
Bates managed to get the tying run in scoring position with two outs, but Rodino (3-1) struck out Leo Watson to end the game. Rodino was greeted by his teammates on the mound after throwing the final pitch.
“It was pretty overwhelming,” he said. “I heard the clapping from the stands and my teammates cheering. I threw my last pitch as hard as I could, and luckily I snuck it by him.”
“Luke stepped up in a in a big way in the first game,” Cloud said. “It was a dominant performance.”
For Bates, submariner Speed (1-5) went the distance as well, giving up four hits and four walks while striking out four.
The Ephs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap. Leading off the bottom of the first, Cloud singled to left and stole second. The next batter, Hatheway, crushed a two-run homer to left, his second of the season.
Bates, however, worked its way back to tie the game. In the fourth, the Bobcats had runners on the corners with two outs and sent Jack Arend to steal second base. Caught in a rundown between first and second, he allowed Dan Trulli to score from third.
The following inning, the wind took a fly ball over the head of Michael Stamas ’20, permitting Bates designated hitter Pat Beaton to score from first.
The game remained knotted until the Ephs came to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Shapiro came in to pitch for Bates in relief, but Shapiro could not find the strike zone. He walked Cloud, hit Hatheway and walked Roberts to load the bases with one out. Dulsky chopped a grounder to second base, but the throw home was inaccurate. Cloud slid in safely, and the Ephs walked off with the 3-2 victory.
Cloud was 3-for-3 in the game and scored two runs in his final collegiate game. Trulli had a 3-for-3 game for Bates with a run scored.
Sean Hager ’20 (5-1) was the winning pitcher, throwing a seven-inning complete game while giving up one earned run, walking two and striking out five.
A scheduled doubleheader between the two teams on Sunday was canceled due to inclement weather.
Cloud, who scored the winning run in his final game for Williams, said he was proud of how the team finished the season against Bates, a NESCAC playoff team. “We benefited from some timely hitting and approached the games with great confidence,” he said. “There was not a second I felt like we might lose either of the games.”
Rodino echoed those sentiments. “It was great to get to go out on top with a win,” Rodino said, “but more importantly it was amazing to be able to do it with these guys in particular. We have an amazing group that loves playing for and with one another.”
The Ephs finished the season 19-11, their first winning record since 2011.
“We had an incredibly successful year but we didn’t reach a few of our major goals,” Rodino said.
Head Coach Bill Barrale said he was pleased with the way the team played, though close division losses prevented the men from reaching the postseason.
“We finished 10-5 in one-run games, but three of the five loses were in division play,” he said. “We are all excited for the future with the talented young pitching staff and a solid core of our lineup returning.”
Cloud said he is expects the Ephs to contend in the playoffs in the near future, in large part due to their freshman pitching trio of Hager (5-1, 2.98 ERA), Johnny Lamont ’20 (4-1, 1.80 ERA) and Kyle Dean ’20 (2-1, 1.38 ERA). He also tagged Roberts, Hatheway, Regensburg and Doug Schaffer ’19 as important contributors for the team going forward.
“I am excited about the young pitching that we saw dominate in conference play,” Cloud said. “Johnny is one of the most impressive NESCAC pitchers I have seen.”
“The future is bright,” Rodino added. “This team is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the NESCAC, and I can’t wait to come back to cheer them on. The senior class has worked hard to leave the program better than we found it, and I think on the whole we have accomplished that.
“The young guys are committed, talented and driven to succeed. It’s going to be fun to watch Williams baseball grow and win in the future.”
The men graduate Cloud, Rodino, Jackson Parese ’17, Marcus Colella ’17, Cole Futterman ’17, Nate Michalski ’17 and Tyler Duff ’17.
Rodino was a Second Team All-NESCAC selection last year, and Cloud was a Second Team pick in 2014.
“The seniors will be missed,” Barrale said. “They are a talented class, and they set the tone for what the offseason should look like: hard work.”