By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College baseball team was swept in a doubleheader against Western New England on Saturday afternoon. They lost the first game, 6-2, and the second game, 6-4.
Some days, a team is forced to accept they were not the best team on that particular day. Whether it be starting pitching, offense, or timeliness, the Golden Bears had the advantage on Saturday.
“We got outplayed. That’s the first thing I said to our group, is that we got outplayed today,” said Springfield head coach Mark Simeone. “And they won more big-spot situations both on the mound and in the batter’s box. And I think our guys realize that, and I think we’ll adjust and come back and play better tomorrow.”
The opening game was initially a pitcher’s duel. Each starter did not allow a run and had seven strikeouts. Springfield senior Brendan Kirck only allowed one hit while walking two batters.
Each pitcher had help from the fielders behind them to make their scoreless outings possible. In the top of the second inning, a Western New England player hit a deep fly ball to the right-center field gap, and the Pride’s center fielder, Jack Cooney, sprinted the whole way to the ball to make a sliding catch. It saved what would have been an extra-base hit with one out in the inning.
In the bottom of that inning, Springfield had men on first and third base with no one out. Noah Diamond hit a sharp ground ball, and the Golden Bears third baseman fielded it sliding to his left. He threw the ball to second, and after Cadin Maynard bolted for home plate, the second baseman fired the ball home to get him out and keep the game scoreless.
In the fifth inning, Western New England began to rally. They led off with a hit-by-pitch, which was followed by a double to put runners on second and third with no one out. The next batter hit an RBI single to put the Golden Bears on the board. After a groundout that failed to drive another run in, Western New England hit a three-run home run to left field to make it 4-0.
Springfield responded in the bottom of the inning with a home run of their own by Andrew McCarty, although it was only of the solo variety.
In the top of the seventh inning, a leadoff walk for the Golden Bears was followed by back-to-back RBI triples to make it 6-1. Jack DeGirolamo came into the game after that and was able to leave the man on third, despite starting his appearance with no one out.
The Pride responded with one run in the bottom of the seventh, but ultimately, the team lost by the score of 6-2.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the scoring opened in the top of the second inning with a Western New England solo home run. In the same inning, the Golden Bears gathered a couple of singles and scored their second run on a sacrifice fly.
The Pride was able to answer back in the bottom of the inning on Western New England’s mistakes. Back-to-back defensive errors and a passed ball put men on second and third with no one out. Jack Simonetty hit a sacrifice fly to cut the Golden Bears’ lead in half, but that was all Springfield garnered in the run column in the frame.
After a couple quality innings from each starting pitcher, Western New England’s offense struck again in the fifth inning. They had men on first and third base with two outs in the inning, and they extended the lead on an RBI single. However, the damage was just starting for the Golden Bears. Another three-run home run was hit to make the score 6-1 in the top of the fifth.
Springfield responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on an Andrew McCarty RBI triple and a Jack Cooney RBI groundout.
In the final two innings, the Pride made great opportunities for themselves to score runs. In the bottom of the sixth, they had men on first and second base with one out and the top of the lineup due up. However, the momentum was halted when Joe Traversa hit a line drive to the shortstop that was caught and turned into a double play when the runner was caught off second base.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, McCarty started the inning with a walk, which was followed by a Cooney single. Western New England was able to get a couple outs before allowing Maynard to drive in a run on a single to make it 6-4 in the Golden Bears’ favor.
The Pride’s fate was then turned to first-year Cole Zalegowski with men on first and second with two out. He hit a hard fly ball willing its way toward the gap, but the Western New England center fielder made a running catch to seal its 6-4 victory and its Saturday sweep.
Last season, due to COVID policies, the team only played one day out of the week, and had to sit on that performance. What Springfield is happy about is that they can rebound quickly this season.
“The best thing about the fact that we did get outplayed is that in less than 24 hours we get to get back out here and get after somebody again,” said Simeone.
Their next matchup is another doubleheader on Sunday afternoon starting at 12 p.m. against Westfield State at Archie Allen Field.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics