By Tim Marcin
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College baseball team recently had a fantastic and historic week. It started off well on April 22, when the Shoremen beat Wesley College 5-4 in what Coach Al Streelman called a “nail-biter” and an “outstanding college baseball game.”
Leading the way for WC were freshmen pitchers Joe Kearney-Argow and Kyle Aldrich, who held back a very good hitting ballclub in Wesley. Senior Chris Keiper once again finished the game on the hill for the Shoremen, recording his seventh save on the year. On the offensive side, sophomore Ryan Normoyle, freshman Joe Willis, sophomore John Rolewicz, and freshman Sean Connole all contributed two hits. The real story, however, came on Saturday.
The Shoremen visited Muhlenberg College to play a doubleheader. They went into the day knowing that they needed only one victory to qualify for the Centennial Conference playoffs. They got that victory in the first game.
WC took the opener with a score of 9-5. Starting on the mound for WC was senior Chris Smith who pitched well, who took a 6-3 lead going into the sixth inning. After a walked batter and hit batsman in the sixth however, Keiper took over. Keiper pitched well and let up two runs when a batter hit what Streelman called “a beautiful pitch.” In the end however, Keiper earned a victory, not letting up another run.
The key inning for the Shoremen was the last, when they exploded to break open the game in the top of the ninth. Up until that point, the game was back and forth, with the score being tied at five a piece. That changed when Normoyle knocked in Connole (who reached base on a single) with a single up the middle to make the score 6-5. Later in the inning, senior Matt Boucher, Aldrich, and freshman Tyler Cotterell would all add RBI’s pushing the score to a comfortable 9-5. Adding multi-hit performances for the Shoremen were Connole (3), Boucher (4), Normoyle (2), freshman Ryan Mulhearn (2), and sophomore Ben Jardot (2). This offensive show was more than enough for Keiper, who shut the door in the bottom of the ninth—and just like that, the Shoremen secured a berth in the Centennial Conference Baseball tournament.
While game one was fantastic for WC, Streelman called the second game “a little disappointing.” The Shoremen were ahead for most of the game, but could not finish it out, losing by a score of 8-7. Through six innings the Shoremen were up 5-2 and after eight innings they were up 7-5. However, Muhlenberg was the team pulling some late game heroics this time. In bottom of the ninth, with WC gave up three consecutive walks, and the walk-off run was delivered on a bases loaded walk.
Sophomore Shane Mattingly went 6.2 innings in the loss letting up only two earned runs, while junior Paul McMannis took the loss letting up three earned runs.
Leading the pack offensively were freshman Ryan Mulhearn and sophomore Brian Kramer. Mulhearn notched three RBI while Kramer raked four hits. Streelman, however, attributed the loss to perhaps a fall off in adrenaline after such a big victory in the first game. He spoke of the team making mistakes it usually does not and leaving runs on the table.
Nonetheless, the Shoremen are in the playoffs after a great regular season. They finished 17-13 (10-8) and in the wake of such an impressive year, five of the members of the team received All-Centennial Conference honors. In fact, pitcher Keiper recently received two awards. He won second-team Centennial Conference honors while also winning Centennial Conference pitcher of the week. Over the year, Keiper has had a team-leading ERA of 2.16, a 3-2 record, and a WC record eight saves. Joining Keiper on the second-team were shortstop Normoyle and catcher Rolewicz. Normoyle leads the squad in batting average at .389 and Rolewicz leads the team in homeruns at four. Pitcher Chris Smith got honorable mention honors, going 4-2 with an ERA of 3.26 on the year. Leading the pack, however, was Mattingly, who garnered first team Centennial Conference honors. He has been dominant all year with a 5-1 record and impressive ERA of 2.17. Mattingly also notched 43 strikeouts on the year while pitching 66.1 innings. He is the first WC pitcher to earn first team honors since Ernie Wagner in 2001.
Obviously, the week was huge for the baseball team. It saw a playoff berth and numerous awards. This does not mean it is satisfied as it looks forward to the conference tournament. It is the four seed and will take on Johns Hopkins this weekend in a double elimination style tournament. In fact, it revels the chance to take on the one seed that beat it twice this year.
Streelman said it is “looking forward to it” and “feel [they] can beat any team.” With all the recent success, it certainly looks like the Shoremen could have a great playoffs ahead of them.