By Tim Marcin
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College baseball team made great progress toward a Centennial Conference playoff berth this past weekend, sweeping Dickinson College in a doubleheader. The squad is currently sitting in fourth place in the conference, with four teams advancing to the playoffs.
The visiting Shoremen certainly made quite a statement with the two important wins, announcing their intentions of making their way into the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time since their inception.
The week did not start off as well as it ended, however. The team dropped two games to Johns Hopkins. The first game, taking place on April 14, ended 4-2 in favor of the Blue Jays. This was, however, a solid effort by the Shoremen. Considering that Hopkins was ranked number five in the nation with a record of 26-3 coming into the game, it was not that bad of a result. In fact, the Blue Jays had scored an average of 12 runs per game coming into the matchup, so the four runs let up was a very good defensive performance. Senior starting pitcher Chris Keiper put together an impressive day on the mound: going six innings allowing only three runs, one of them coming on a homerun that barely skimmed over the wall. WC Coach Al Streelman called it a “great baseball game” by both sides.
The second game against Johns Hopkins did not go as smoothly however, with the matchup ending in a 13-4 Shoremen loss. Streelman said it was “a different story for us” in the second game. While at one point the game was tied 4-4 and the Shoremen took an early 2-0 lead on a homerun by sophomore John Rolewic, WC simply could not muster enough to beat the Blue Jays. Streelman said, “[we] had opportunities, but couldn’t cash in.”
WC certainly showed up to play at its next game however. Knowing the doubleheader versus Dickinson held serious playoff implications, the Shoremen were holding nothing back.
Senior Chris Smith pitched the first game, and Streelman said Smith “[did] a really nice job.” Smith went six innings allowing only three runs. Keiper shut the door in the seventh and final inning, recording his fifth save.
The game was back and forth until the fifth inning when WC took a 3-2 lead and never looked back. The final score was 4-3, with each team adding a run along the way. Leading the way for the Shoremen was senior Matt Boucher, who reached base three times (on a single and two walks) and scored a run. Rolewicz added a hit and a run scored, and freshman Tyler Cotterell added a hit and run scored.
The second leg of the double header proved to be just as fantastic as the first. The Shoremen put on a hitting display scoring six well earned runs. Boucher did well again having a hit and an RBI, sophomore Ryan Normoyle added two hits, freshman Sean Connole added two hits and two runs, and Rolewicz raked three hits and scored a run.
ophomore Shane Mattingly added yet another stellar performance for WC, as he improved to 5-1 on the year with the 6-4 victory. He went seven strong innings allowing only two runs. After two runs were scored in the eighth, WC once again called upon Keiper to shut the door—and he did not disappoint. He recorded three strikeouts in the ninth picking up his second save on the day.
Streelman called the victories “two huge wins,” that improved the Shoremen to 9-7 in the conference, and again placed them at fourth overall. Upcoming, WC takes on Muhlenberg away, in a doubleheader that essentially decides the season for both squads. If WC wins at least one of the games, they make the playoffs, but if it gets swept then Muhlenberg steals the last playoff spot. Essentially, the Shoremen need a split to make the playoffs. Before that, they play Wesley in a non-conference game that hopefully serves to build momentum for Saturday. Streelman said that the team feels “ready to roll.” He said team members are “in the driver’s seat, controlling their own destiny,” which is where any team wants to be at the end of the year.
This Sunday, after Saturday’s important doubleheader, is senior day for the squad as they take on St. Mary’s at 1 p.m. Come out to Athey Baseball Park and support the team’s four seniors as they will hopefully be gearing up for playoff baseball.