By Harrison Kelly
The Pride have been streaky to start the 2017 season. Although Springfield is 10-7 and sit atop of the NEWMAC, it seems that the team is either winning or losing big, which means they aren’t playing in close games, something vital to a team who wants to play deep into the playoffs.
Joey Gamache, a reliable bullpen arm last year, got the start against NEWMAC opponent Coast Guard last Saturday. Gamache made the most of his opportunity and totaled 13 strikeouts in route to his first win of the season. He became the first Springfield College pitcher to register more than 10 strikeouts since Alex Marakovits struck out 12 against WPI on April 28, 2012.
As a transfer, Gamache came out of the bullpen, and proved to be one of the most effective pitchers out of the bullpen. He posted a 1.50 ERA and struck out six batters per nine innings. While succeeding in that role, Coach Simeone promoted him to a starter position.
Gamache is easy going, but sees the opportunity to make a bigger impact on a game when he starts. “I liked relieving last year, but I would much rather start a game and pitch longer. It’s easier to figure out what pitches are working and what’s not working,” said Gamache. “I also feel if I make a bad pitch I can make up for it easier later in the game.”
Even with the success, Gamache continues to stay humble, something the team has preached all year. He said, “I would expect to move up in the rotation next year, but I would love to be in a position to help my team any way that I could.”
With games ending in scores of 25-14 (W), 20-5 (L), 16-4 (L), and 19-8 (W), Springfield is beating up on the teams they’re supposed to beat, and losing to teams that may have more talent than them. This past week, both of these kinds of games were on display at Berry-Allen Field.
In a NEWMAC battle versus MIT, the Pride fell by a score of 16-4 on Monday. Kyle Naples got the nod on the mound and was uncharacteristically subpar, letting up two home runs and seven earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. The Engineers have mashed the ball this year, hitting 18 home runs in only 16 games, but Naples seemed off, with his velocity receding as the game went on.
On the brighter side, Springfield erupted for 22 hits in a win versus Emerson by the score of 19-8. Colin King, Mark Joao, and Brandon Russo each totaled three hits, while combining for seven runs batted in. Designated hitter Logan Barrett crushed his first collegiate home run, and added a double to the hit total.
Senior Tyler Kelly got the win and pitched an efficient six innings. Kelly gave the ball up to freshman Cole Donovan, who cleaned up the last three innings and received valuable experience on the mound.
Errors continue to haunt Springfield, totaling five against MIT and six against Emerson. We’ll chalk that up to early season growing pains, but the Pride will need to improve to stay in tight ballgames.
A real bright spot for the team this year has been the consistent play of Chad Shade, the dual-sport athlete who plays quarterback for the Pride in the fall. As a freshman, Shade is making routine over the shoulder grabs almost every game starting in center field, and he has forced himself in the two-hole in the order.
Catch the next home doubleheader this Saturday as Springfield takes on NEWMAC opponent Clark University. Clark is currently second in the NEWMAC with a record of 5-5 in conference, and 20-8 overall.