By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College baseball team hit the ball hard and frequently on Friday afternoon in its NEWMAC tournament matchup against Babson at Archie Allen Field. However, the Beavers defense reacted well, and the Pride also went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position in their 7-1 loss.
“We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on,” said Springfield head coach Mark Simeone. “We had some loud outs. We had some really good at-bats that they made plays on, or [we] hit balls right at people.”
The first inning was a hit parade for both squads, but it did not produce many runs. Babson led off the game with a double, and after the first out was recorded, a single through the right side drove the leadoff man in. Another single came in the inning for the Beavers, but no more runs did.
The Pride led off the first inning with a Michael Barrett single and a Jack Simonetty double. Then, with the infield playing about medium depth, Cadin Maynard grounded the ball to the shortstop, who looked back Barrett at third base. However, when the throw went to first base, Maynard beat it out to load the bases with no one out. But, Babson’s pitcher showed a display of grit when he struck out Springfield’s No. 4 and No. 5 hitters, then induced a weak fly ball to right field.
Each starting pitcher was able to find a groove following the first inning. Both of them had a 1-2-3 inning in the second frame. Springfield starter Blake Roberge then left two men on base in the top of the third inning.
In the bottom of that inning, Barrett led off with a double over the left fielder’s head. Simonetty then grounded out to the shortstop on a solidly-played backhand. Maynard hit a ball that seemed like it would be going into center field, but it was played on a hop by the second baseman and thrown over to first base for the out. Then, with two outs, Noah Bleakley hit a line drive to right field that was charged in on and caught at the waist of the right fielder.
The offenses remained quiet in the fourth inning, but it did not remain that way for Babson in the fifth. The Beavers led off the inning with a single. That batter stole second base and advanced to third base on an errant throw. A single drove him in, and the batter after that hammered a fastball about 25 feet over the right field fence to make it 4-0.
Springfield finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning with two very hard-hit fly balls. Maynard led the inning off with a ground-rule double to right-center field. After Bleakley lined out to right, Ryan Sorgi hit a fly ball almost 400 feet and over the center-fielder’s head. It bounced over the center-field wall for another ground-rule double that drove Maynard in.
Babson responded with a run in the top of the seventh on an RBI triple. The only other scoring on the day came on a 2-run home run by the Beavers in the top of the ninth that made it 7-1.
Despite the six-run loss, there was still a lot to be proud of for the Pride.
“I think we competed from first pitch to final out as a group better than we have all year long,” Simeone said. “They didn’t outcompete us — they outplayed us a little bit, and won more big spots than we did.”
Simeone is also extremely satisfied with the lack of mistakes the Pride made. They only made one defensive error while walking just two batters. On the offensive side of the ball, they struck out only four times.
“I thought it was a good baseball game,” Simeone said. “They played good defense. We played solid defense.”
With the NEWMAC tournament being double elimination, Springfield will be facing off against MIT on Saturday at 12 p.m. to determine its fate. The Pride won each of their regular season games against the Engineers. The game will be taking place at Wheaton College.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics