The Suddenly Wild West: Stock Report 4/19

Middlebury catcher and co-captain Max Araya '16 had some kind of weekend, going 6-12 with three walks, three RBIs and his first career home run while tallying his 100th game and 100th hit in a Middlebury uniform. And he did all of this while the Panthers positioned themselves with a shot at the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since 2011. (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)
Middlebury catcher and co-captain Max Araya ’16 had some kind of weekend, going 6-12 with three walks, three RBIs and his first career home run while tallying his 100th game and 100th hit in a Middlebury uniform. And he did all of this while the Panthers positioned themselves with a shot at the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since 2011 by beating Hamilton in two out of three games. (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)

I titled the weekend preview a few days ago “Separation Weekend” because I was expecting the usual suspects to make a statement that the status quo was still very much in place. Well, I was dead wrong, as Williams rocked Wesleyan to win two of three. On Friday, starting pitcher Luke Rodino ’17 worked around five walks to pitch seven innings, and the Ephs got production up and down the lineup to get the win. Then in Game 1 of the doubleheader Saturday, shortstop Kellen Hatheway ’19 dropped a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh and the Ephs walked off with the win. Wesleyan battled back to win the third game handily, but they are still just 3-3 halfway through their conference schedule

Want to know something crazy? Middlebury has as many conference wins as any other NESCAC team. Sure, they also have four losses, but this has still been an incredible run for the Panthers. They took two of three from Hamilton in a sloppy series that was filled with runs. The Friday game in particular was a doozy. Hamilton raced out to a 7-2 lead and seemed to be in control until Middlebury took advantage of a bajillion (it was five but whatever) errors by Hamilton in the 5th inning and scored 10 runs. Hamilton almost came back to win in large part because Chris Collins ’17 was a man possessed at the plate going 5-5 with four runs, seven RBI, and two home runs. That wasn’t enough though, and the Continentals are now 2-4 in conference while Collins left the Saturday twinbill with an injury and he could be affected going forward.

It is still entirely possible that Amherst and Wesleyan emerge from the West, but the two still have to play each other in their series so the math isn’t easy. Considering that Amherst didn’t even play a NESCAC series, they had a great weekend watching the rest of the division beat up on each other. The Amherst-Middlebury series suddenly has serious playoff implications on both sides, a sentence that I didn’t think I was ever going to write. Two wins from the Panthers locks them into a NESCAC Tournament spot. Williams is feeling great after taking two of three from Wesleyan, but they are still just 4-5 with Hamilton still on their docket. The Ephs likely need to sweep Hamilton to have a hope of making the playoffs. For years, the West has been a boring time, and I’m glad that this year has proved to be different.

Stock Up

Relief Pitcher Ian Kinney ’18 (Tufts)

In the final game of their series, Tufts grabbed a 7-0 lead after the first inning, but starting pitcher Andrew David ’16 could last only 2+ innings on the mound. So Kinney, seldom used in high leverage situations this year, had to come on with the score 7-4, runners on first and second, and nobody out. Kinney got out of the inning by getting a strikeout and double play ground out. He then held the Bantams scoreless for the next four innings, and Tufts came away with the victory 11-4. The win completed the sweep of Trinity and moved Tufts to 5-0 now in the NESCAC. The Jumbos are three losses clear of anybody in the East, and they are now virtual locks for the playoffs.With the top teams in the West not looking as strong as usual, this could be the year that the Jumbos convert their domination of the East into a NESCAC championship.

P/DH Joe MacDonald ’16 (Middlebury)

Let me give dear friend of the program and Nothing But NESCAC’s co-founder a little love here. MacDonald has moved over the past two years from playing primarily at third base to now being a weekend starting pitcher and occasional DH, too. On Friday at DH he went 3-6 and had four RBI as a big part of the Panthers comeback. Then on Saturday, he pitched five innings and kept Hamilton in check allowing three runs (two earned). Middlebury has now won two of his three conference starts. He isn’t overpowering many hitters and has a very low strikeout rate, but also only one walk in 18.2 IP. He is doing a good enough job of mixing up his pitches to keep hitters off balance. We have focused mostly on the impact of young players in improving Middlebury’s fortunes, but a large part can also be attributed to contributions from old standbys like MacDonald and John Luke ’16. Max Araya ’16 has also been sensational with a .447 OBP.

3B Zach Ellenthal ’16 (Colby)

Ellenthal hit a not too shabby .667 (8-12) over the three games against Bowdoin. Four of those hits were doubles, and the senior had five RBI. Ellenthal has been in and out of the lineup a little bit this spring, but I’m guessing he is going to get plenty of playing time the rest of the way given that he has a .526 OBP in conference games. Colby’s offense has been much better of late, and they blitzed Bowdoin in the first two games of their series. There isn’t a ton of power on the roster (just four home runs as a team), but they can still hurt you because of the ability for the entire lineup to get on base. I know it sounds cliché, but I saw Bowdoin lose to the Mules in part because Colby put the Polar Bears into situations where they had to make a lot of plays.

Stock Down

Trinity

There is nothing terrible about losing to Tufts, but getting swept by them has put the Bantams into a much more precarious position. Trinity had chances to win each of the three games, and that makes the losses even harder in a way. They led 3-1 in the first game, forced the second game to extra innings, and threatened for a brief moment in that third game as mentioned above. Trinity didn’t play particularly bad in any aspect, but if you have to pin the sweep on any one thing, it would be the inability of the offense to string together hits. They scored four runs in each of the three games, an almost frustrating consistency that allows you to be in every game but have a hard time winning one of them. The Bantams still very much hold their own destiny, and they get a chance at Bates this weekend. Trinity was in basically the same situation last year: 4-5 with only their series against Bates left. The Bantams lost all three of those games to finish in last in the East. A repeat performance of that would be devastating.

Bowdoin’s Veteran Hitters

The Polar Bears offense has ground almost to a complete halt, and the biggest reason is that the guys expected to carry the lineup have instead been huge drags on it. Be warned, some of these conference numbers are tough to swallow. Shortstop Sean Mullaney ’17, who was batting well above .400 for a while, has a .094 BA in conference. Chad Martin ’16, the big bopper in the middle, has a .111 BA and just one extra base hit. Peter Cimini ’16 has a .233 average in conference. Along with Trinity, the Polar Bears are well below every other team in BA for NESCAC games at .217. In fairness to Bowdoin, they do have a much better OBP than Trinity does, but the Bantams have slugged the ball better. Bottomline, nobody on Bowdoin is really hitting the ball that well, and the team has now lost three consecutive series against teams in the East not named Tufts.

Hamilton Defense

The old Bull Durham quote goes, “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.” Well, Hamilton has been failing in the catching department, and it really bit them badly on Saturday. We noted already that they had five errors in one inning against Middlebury. They had eight total in that game. For the weekend series, the Continentals had 13 errors. Hamilton is good, but it is hard to win when you keep giving the other team extra outs and opportunities to score. The weekend was a frustrating one for Hamilton because they played well enough in areas to win. And they could see the window of opportunity for making the playoffs open with Williams beating Wesleyan twice. However, they couldn’t capitalize and get it done on their home field. They can still get hot and make a miracle run to the playoffs, but they are going to have to field a lot better to do so.

The Biggest Storylines of 2015 and What to Expect in 2016

Guy Davidson '16 has some big shoes to fill as the incumbent star on the two-time reigning champs. (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)
Guy Davidson ’16 has some big shoes to fill as the incumbent star on the two-time reigning champs. (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)

The 2015 NESCAC baseball season was one for the history books: from a star-studded senior class to a handful of record-breaking underclassmen claiming the spotlight, the players made an impact not only on their own teams but in the entire NESCAC conference. With the season underway, it’s time to review last year’s hits and misses and predict what we can expect from this year’s competition.

But ICYMI, for any reason (like me—they don’t play baseball in London, where I was last spring!), here’s a rundown of the biggest storylines from the 2015 season:

  1. Wesleyan, Wesleyan, Wesleyan: the Continual Rise of the NESCAC Underdog

The Cardinals made history in 2014 when the underdogs grabbed the NESCAC Championship for the first time; they stunned us yet again in 2015 by holding on to the title in a nail-biting match-up against longtime rival Amherst in the final. It was wild. If you missed it (guilty), you really missed out.

Wesleyan just had everything in their arsenal and all the odds in their favor. The Cardinals didn’t graduate a single hitter after the 2014 campaign, and in 2015 the team ultimately produced the program’s record-breaking 31 wins. Offensively, Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15, Andrew Yin ’15, current Cubs’ minor leaguer Donnie Cimino ’15 and Jonathan Dennett ’15 all produced in their final season. In the field Wesleyan was led by a trio of All-NESCAC performers: Cimino (CF), Goodwin-Boyd (1B) and Guy Davidson ’16 (SS), all of whom were eager to build off the momentum they developed during their summer with the Cape Cod League. Together, the trio helped produce the strongest defense in the NESCAC.

But the talent didn’t stop there: on the mound Wesleyan was a serious force to be reckoned with. Returning starters Nick Cooney ’15, a 2014 All-NESCAC selection, and Gavin Pittore ’16 both pitched in the Cape Cod League in preparation for their season. Sam Elias ’15, who competed in the esteemed New England Collegiate Baseball League the summer before last, was honored with the 2015 NESCAC Pitcher of the Year Award after accumulating a 7.78 K/9 ratio and 1.53 ERA over 76.1 IP. Elias turned into an ace, doing double duty as a starter (seven starts) and closer (four saves), and his 1.03 BB/9 rate was among the league’s best as well. Pete Rantz ’16 rounded out the Cardinals’ dominant rotation, and has big shoes to fill after the graduation of two rotation mates and Pittore’s early departure.

  1. The Man, The Myth, The Legend: the Unstoppable Odenwaelder

At 6’5″ and 225 lbs., Mike Odenwaelder ’16 is the type of baseball player you used to look at and wonder why he wasn’t playing Division-I ball, or even pro. After all, in his first two seasons alone, the player was crowned the 2013 NESCAC Rookie of the Year and 2014 NESCAC Player of the Year and selected for the NCAA Division III Gold Glove Team, the D3Baseball.com All-American team and First Team All-New England.

The real question going into the 2015 season was whether or not Odenwaelder could continue to surpass expectations. He returned to the Jeffs last year fresh off his most successful season. In 2014, he hit .400 with six HRs and 31 RBI, posting a jaw-dropping slugging percentage of .607. On the mound he had a 1.74 ERA over 20.2 IP. Though the Amherst star didn’t pitch for the majority of 2015 because of a shoulder injury, he continued to dominate the NESCAC with his powerful hitting. By the end of the 2015 season, Odenwaelder had racked up a total of 118 games, during which he developed a career batting avg. of .372 with 16 homers, 86 RBI, and 39 stolen bases.

  1. Tufts’ Secret Weapon: Tommy O’Hara ’18

O’Hara transitioned from “rookie” to “phenom” the moment he stepped onto the Jumbo diamond. The freshman third baseman was Tufts’ best hitter on their trip to Virginia and North Carolina. He had an incredible .564 OBP in 42 at-bats with six walks. But the question no one wanted to ask remained in the minds of Tufts’ NESCAC opponents: can a first-year really transform a team?

The answer was a thousand times, yes. Tufts’ offense was undoubtedly questionable at the beginning of the season and definitely needed bolstering if it was to make it to the NESCAC playoffs. O’Hara single-handedly delivered. The freshman infielder led the team with a .405 batting average, .518 on-base percentage and .603 slugging percentage. He also hit a team-high 14 doubles while registering four home runs, 42 runs scored and 42 RBIs.

Oh, and did I mention he was First Team All-NESCAC as well as NESCAC Rookie of the Year? I guess you could say he’s kind of a big deal.

  1. Hamilton’s Franchise: Joe Jensen ’15

The former three-season athlete (football, track, and baseball) gave the Continents serious bragging rights last year, breaking records both on the diamond and off.

In March of last year Jensen outplayed the lofty expectations set out for him after a successful junior year in which he hit .398/.495/.430 and a sophomore campaign during which he set school records with 137 at bats, 30 runs scored and 29 stolen bases. He was in the top three in the NESCAC in batting average (.525), on-base percentage (.587), and slugging percentage (.775) at the end of the month. His trip to Florida was probably his shining moment in the 2015 season, as he had multiple hits in all six games. While his numbers dropped off once the Continentals returned home, he remained one of the best hitters and defensive outfielders in the NESCAC.

Jensen received NESCAC All-Conference honors last spring for the second time, earning second-team recognition after leading the league with 24 stolen bases and a gaudy .450 on-base percentage. His .398 batting average ranked third in the NESCAC.

“His ability to affect the game both defensively and offensively with his speed is something that sets him apart from his peers, both on the field and as a professional prospect,” Hamilton coach Tim Byrnes said following Jensen’s senior season. “Joe is a true take-away center fielder with a plus arm for this level. He’s able to use his plus speed to beat out infield singles, stretch singles into doubles and steal bases at will.”

  1. Bowdoin’s Starting Pitcher Henry Van Zant ’15 (the NESCAC’s Best Non-Cardinal Pitcher)

Van Zant closed out a fantastic career for the Polar Bears by recording one of the finest seasons in program history; he tied the program’s single-season record for wins by going 7-1, including a 5-0 mark in conference games, with a 1.95 earned run average. That some rainy weather allowed Van Zant to pitch and win five NESCAC games is a miracle. Nobody had started five conference games since two players did so during the 2013 season, and Van Zant’s five wins in conference games is a NESCAC record. His complete game shutout over Wesleyan, which ended in a 1-0 victory for the Polar Bears, made him 6-0 overall against NESCAC teams.

Van Zant’s career amounted to 17 win (tied for third in school history) and 168 career strikeouts (ranking him fifth all-time at Bowdoin). Van Zant was named a second-team selection for the All-NESCAC and D3baseball.com teams.

Though Van Zant ultimately lost the Pitcher of the Year nod to his top rival, his remarkable senior season no doubt gave the conference a difficult decision to make.

So with that in mind, here are some of the biggest questions you should have as the 2016 season unfolds:

  1. The Pitcher Problem: Who will take the mount in place of former starters?

Year after year, graduation and the pros inevitably lead to casualties on teams’ rosters, but the damage inflicted this year, especially on the mound, is shocking. Reigning champs Wesleyan lost three—Elias, Pittore, Cooney—of their four top pitchers, leaving Rantz, who threw 60.2 innings with a 2.97 ERA in 2015, to pick up the pieces. After losing Van Zant, Bowdoin has to redesign its pitching plan, and Trinity loses ace Sean Meekins ’15, (3-1, 2.01 ERA, 10.48 K/9, 44.2 IP). Tufts lost Tom Ryan ’15 and Willie Archibad ’15. Amherst lost John Cook ’15. Even Middlebury lost Eric Truss ’15, who finished 9th in the NESCAC.

The pitching lineups of Hamilton, Williams, Bates and Colby appear unscathed, but time has yet to tell how the returning starters will mesh with the young up-and-comers on the roster.

While the teams’ are grateful for the underclassmen they set as starters last season, they still need to figure out how inexperienced pitchers will contribute to NESCAC competition during spring training. The clock’s ticking.

  1. The Odenwaelder Inheritance: Who will fill the shoes left in centerfield?

As anticipated, Odenwaelder was picked by the Baltimore Orioles in the 16th Round (493 overall) of the 2015 Major League Draft. But anticipation didn’t seem to lead to effective planning: Odenwaelder’s incredible talent overshadowed several, if not most, of the other Jeffs, and has consequently left a gaping hole to be filled.

Thankfully, Amherst returns several promising team members, including Harry Roberson ’18, he finished his breakout freshman year with an OBP of .429. Yet, while Roberson is unquestionably a standout hitter, it’s unknown if he can carry the team like Odenwaelder. Yanni Thanopoulos ’17 and Connor Gunn’16 have promising stats, but it’s unlikely Amherst will be the same offensive dynamite as last spring.

Nevertheless, Amherst pushed Wesleyan all the way to extra innings in a winner-take-all NESCAC championship game, so all hope is not lost for the Jeffs.

  1. The End of an Era? How will reigning NESCAC champs Wesleyan compete against the competition after losing most of their starters?

Elias, Cooney, Goodwin-Boyd, Dennett and Yin are off the field and into the real world of post-college life. Pittore signed as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cimino is with the Cubs organization. Guys essential to the Wesleyan machine, and part of the epic 2015 class of athletes at Wesleyan, are no longer a part of its construction, and for the two-time reigning NESCAC champions, that’s pretty frightening.

Shortstop Guy Davidson ’16 had a notable 2015 season and is back to up his game, but there are very few sure bets in the Cardinals’ lineup. On the flip side of that, though, the early returns on Wesleyan’s shiny, new lineup are darn right impressive. The Cardinals are hitting .386/.469/.600 as a squad through eight games down in Arizona. Gotta love that thin Tucson air.

Wesleyan has been so successful because it has been a complete, practiced team—the players worked for years to mesh together and become the reigning champions. There are a lot of gaping holes in the lineup now, and it’s unlikely the Cardinals will be able to fill them all this season. We’re looking at a dramatically different team than those we’ve grow accustomed to seeing come out of close games victorious again and again.

So, with Wesleyan in a sort of limbo, who will take up the mantle in the West? Amherst lost its beloved star to MLB, but still packs a ton of talent. Middlebury and Hamilton have promising players, but it’s unlikely that they are ready to step up to the plate. Williams has been in a sort of middle tier limbo for awhile now. I’d wager that Hamilton may have an inside track on a playoff spot; the team lost only one starting player going into this year, guaranteeing a solid lineup.

  1. The Spring of Tufts? Do the Jumbos have what it takes to win the NESCAC East this season?

The Jumbos aren’t without any losses: their lineup will have to make do without big contributors like Connor McDavitt ’15 and Bryan Egan ’15. However, Tufts’ fantastic pitchers Tim Superko ’17 and Andrew David ’16 give them a solid baseline on the field, and in a re-building season for many teams, that is a real boon. And then there’s O’Hara. Tommy O’Hara earned D3baseball.com Preseason All-America accolades following a tremendous freshman campaign last spring.

By putting faith in underclassmen—and phenomenal ones at that—early on, the Jumbos have outsmarted other NESCAC teams struggling to pull together competitive lineups.

  1. Chemistry on the Continentals: Is Hamilton the next NESCAC powerhouse?

Hamilton lost just one starter from the lineup, and the strength of the pitching rotation returns.

Even though the Continentals will play without Alex Pachella ’15 or JJ Lane ’15, co-captain Cole Dreyfuss ’16 stood out as the real pitching MVP for the Continentals last spring. Dreyfuss assembled a 5-2 record in seven starts and struck out 41 batters. He ended up third in the conference with a 1.89 earned run average in 47.2 innings.

Overall, the rotation is promising: hard-throwing right-hander Spencer Vogelbach ’18 was the No. 4 starter in 2015 but should be in the weekend rotation this season. Vogelbach went 4-1 with one save and was sixth in the NESCAC with a 2.25 ERA, averaging 9.90 strikeouts per nine innings and fanning a total of 44 batters in 40 innings, but with the propensity to get wild at times. Last season, Finlay O’Hara ’17 also emerged as a versatile arm, earning a 2-2 record and two saves. F. O’Hara struck out 28 hitters and walked just five in 28.2 innings. Depth in the bullpen is added by Dan DePaoli ’18, who fanned 22 batters in 22.2 innings. Charlie Lynn ’18 and Mike Borek ’18 provide depth in the bullpen.

Offensively, Hamilton has fostered a dangerous core group of juniors in twins Kenny and Chris Collins ’17, designated hitter Andrew Haser ’17 and outfielder Ryan Wolfsberg ’17. Kenny Collins, one of this year’s captains, finished with 32 hits in 102 at-bats for a .314 average and scored 21 runs, while hitting six doubles and three triples. He was fourth in the NESCAC with 16 stolen bases and represented the Wellsville Nitros in the 2015 New York Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. Chris Collins, meanwhile, hit .309 (30-97), cracked six doubles and stole 14 bases. Haser showed great improvement last season after having an OBP below .300 in 2014. To finish off the group, Wolfsberg developed his skills in the California Collegiate League last summer after finishing in fourth in the NESCAC with a .396 batting average (36-for-91) in 2015, smacking nine doubles, three triples and four homers and driving in 25 runs. The outfielder posted a .692 slugging percentage and a .449 on-base percentage.

Second baseman Zack Becker ’16 also proved to be an incredible offensive player last season, rebounding after a disastrous sophomore campaign. He was eighth in the conference with a .365 batting average (27-for-74) and enjoyed his best season at Hamilton with five doubles and a pair of round-trippers to go with an on-base percentage of .447.

In just two weeks, the season will begin in full force. While you can never really be sure what’s going to happen in baseball, it’s certain that these questions will significantly linger throughout the spring.

Bobcats Never Say Die: Baseball Stock Report 5/6

Nate Pajka '15 won NESCAC Player of the Week Honors as Bates advanced to the playoffs. (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)
Nate Pajka ’15 (14) won NESCAC Player of the Week Honors as Bates advanced to the playoffs. (Courtesy of Bates Athletics)

Bates knew their task was simple going into last weekend: sweep Trinity and make the playoffs for the second straight year. Actually doing it appeared like a long shot, however. The only team in the NESCAC East that Bates had swept in the last 14 years was Colby who the Bobcats sweep practically every year. But Bates had never swept Trinity, Tufts or Bowdoin over three games.

Of course statistics like that don’t really have any impact on the actual games. The quick recap of each game of the series goes like this: Nate Pajka ’15 did something awesome and Bates won. The second game was the closest the Bobcats came to losing because Trinity starter Sean Meekins ’15 kept them scoreless for five innings. Then he ran into trouble, and after Sam Jordan ’16 came on an error allowed the tying run to score. Bates won the game in extras on a Sam Berry ’15 single. The final game came down to Will Levangie ’15 putting together the start of his career to get Bates over the top.

Once again Bates is going to the playoffs at 7-5. A year ago they ended up finishing third in the tournament with their one win coming over Amherst. They are certainly the least likely team to win the whole thing, but the presence of Pajka and Berry is enough to scare teams. To make the playoffs after losing far and away their best pitcher and top two hitters is a credit to Manager Mike Leonard and the resiliency of his players.

Stock Up

Starting Pitcher Will Levangie ’15 (Bates)

In the biggest start of his career (yes, bigger than his start in the NESCAC tournament last year), Levangie could not have pitched any better. He went all seven innings allowing only three hits and one walk. He never allowed a Trinity batter to advance beyond second or multiple Bantams to be on base at once. On April 25, in the final game against Tufts, Levangie didn’t even make it out of the first inning after allowing four walks and six runs. Just a week later the entire Bates team was mobbing him after a complete game shutout. He had two starts in the NESCAC season where he bombed out quickly, but he also had two complete game shut outs. If Bates is able to win at least one game, he will be called upon in the third game of the tournament. Hopefully, for the Bobcats, the good Levangie shows up.

Hamilton

Alright so they got swept by Wesleyan this weekend. The Continentals certainly weren’t the only team to have that happen to them this year. Two of the losses were by only one run because of great starts from Alex Pachella ’15 and Cole Dreyfuss ’16. Then on Sunday they swept their doubleheader against SUNY Polytechnic to guarantee that they will finish the season above .500 for the first time since 1990. Multiple parents of the program contacted us to inform us of this news, which just goes to show the excitement building around this program. From 1990-2014 the Continentals went 233-480-1, good for a .327 winning percentage, but Hamilton is 16-13 as of today with one game left to play this afternoon. They also had four NESCAC wins, tied for their highest total since 2001. The Continentals are nowhere close to the giants in the West, but they were a fun team to follow this year. They led the league in stolen bases in large part because of the 23 from Joe Jensen ’15. Kenny and Chris Collins ’17 also had 16 and 14 respectively. The lineup returns everyone except for Jensen and should be better overall. The key for them in 2016 will be Dreyfuss and Spencer Vogelbach ’18 reprising their stellar performanances, with the latter likely moving into a weekend starting role.

Stock Down

Trinity

The Bantams didn’t play poorly this weekend. They played right about how you might have expected them to, but were not able to come up with the hits when it mattered. Their lack of offense has been their weakness all year and ultimately why they again missed the playoffs. It hurts knowing that they went into the final day of the regular season at 4-6 but still having a chance to make the playoffs. Instead, they lost both games and ended up alone in last place in the East. Hard to imagine a larger one day swing than that. Going forward, the Bantams will have to replace Meekins as well as the middle of their lineup outside of Brendan Pierce ’18. The freshmen class saw a lot of different players like Nick Fusco ’18 get playing time, and they will be the ones who are likely to lead any resurgence in Hartford. Just don’t expect it to happen next year.

Weather

Where was all of this warm weather for the entire season? Playing baseball in the northeast is never easy, but the beginning of this season was almost wiped out because of all the leftover snow. The NESCAC was able to get through it through a combination of clever scheduling, the ability to play games at the recently opened New England Baseball Complex, and the good luck of not much rain on the weekends in April. Hats off to all of those that were able to find a way to make it all work, grounds crews, administrators, etc. The good news is that Mother Nature’s stock appears like it is about to go up. The weather report for the weekend in Nashua, New Hampshire has temperatures in the 80’s and sunny skies.

Baseball Starting Nine: What You Have Missed Thus Far

Baseball returns to New England this coming weekend. Get ready. (Courtesy of Tufts University)
Baseball returns to New England this coming weekend. Get ready. (Courtesy of Tufts University)

Been too busy watching basketball and avoiding the snow to remember that NESCAC baseball is in full swing at this point? You certainly were not alone. It has been easy to lose sight of everything going on down south, but we kept close tabs for you. With the NESCAC conference season starting Friday, get ready for our season predictions and other analysis coming later this week. In the meantime, here are nine things you need to know about.

1. Wesleyan has experience for days: A quick perusal of the Wesleyan statistics tells us very clearly that freshmen are not going to see much playing time. Through twelve games, the only stats accrued by freshmen are four at-bats. Besides that a returning player has played every pitch and at-bat. That ability to have exclusively upperclassmen separates the Cardinals from every other team that has to rely on some freshmen to fill crucial roles. The returning champions have every reason to be confident.

2. Cardinals have impressed: Sticking with the defending champions for our second point. As we mentioned in our season preview, Wesleyan played a challenging spring trip schedule, and overall they showed they belong with the best. Their 8-4 victory over #7 Cal Lutheran was a high water mark that brought them to 5-0 for the season. Ace Nick Cooney ’15 started and won that game for Wesleyan. Wesleyan stumbled a bit near the end of the trip and is now 8-4, but they still are the most impressive team to this point. Guy Davidson ’16 has a slashline of .395/.477/.684 to lead the offense. Wesleyan probably hasn’t hit their stride yet, and they are already pretty scary looking.

3. Dylan Sinnickson ’15 is bashing baseballs: The return of Sinnickson to the diamond is a big reason why there is a sliver of hope around the Middlebury team, and he wasted no time making an impact. In the Panthers opening doubleheader Saturday, Sinnickson went 5-9 and hit THREE home runs. Then he hit another in the Panthers first game on Sunday to tie for the league lead after only three games. The team’s pitching against him probably had no idea who he was and he likely saw some fat fastballs that he was able to eat up, but still, not many players in the NESCAC can do hit four homers in three games. To take a year off from baseball and come back hitting like that is incredible and shows the type of athlete he is.

4. Bowdoin and Trinity struggled: The two East Division teams both have their sights set on returning to the playoffs, but they need to improve on their play quickly. Bowdoin went 5-8 on their Florida trip while the Bantams went 7-5. The Bowdoin staff saw nobody pitch well and the team had a 5.58 ERA. The front of the rotation guys like Erik Jacobsen ’15 and Harry Ridge ’16 pitched decently while Henry Van Zant ’15 started only one game. Meanwhile Trinity’s problem of hitting for no power carried over to this season. As a team the Bantams slugged .357 in their 12 games and had nobody hit a single home run. The good news is that their top two pitchers Sean Meekins ’15 and Jed Robinson ’16 looked fantastic.

https://twitter.com/TrinityBaseball/status/579722627373240320

5. Tommy O’Hara ’18 big for Tufts: The weakness of Tufts is their lineup, but O’Hara looks like he is going to solve a good deal of that problem single-handedly. The freshman third baseman was Tufts’ best hitter on their trip to Virginia and North Carolina. He had a ridiculous .564 OBP in 42 at-bats. With a 1:1 K:BB ratio, he should be able to carry over that type of hitting to the conference season. Don’t expect him to finish with an OBP above .500, but the Illinois native will be a huge bat in the middle of the Tufts lineup that appeared a bat or two away from being elite before the season started.

6. Amherst pitching is unsettled: The big reason why the Jeffs went only 6-6 on their trip was a pitching staff that saw a lot of players auditioning for a starting role. Six different pitchers started games for the Jeffs, and John Cook ’15 started only one game in part to let others get a chance to show their stuff. Drew Fischer ’18 flashed his massive potential with 15 strikeouts in only 8.2 innings. The problem is that he also walked nine batters. He will have to do a better job of trusting his fielders and not simply trying to strike everybody out. Jackson Volle ’17 had two solid starts and might have won the third rotation start because he appears to be more consistent than the flashy Fischer.

7. Rob DiFranco ’16 emerging for Bates: The transition from reliever to starter is going well for DiFranco so far with two starts and two wins. Granted, the first start he only went two innings. He has allowed only one run in eight innings so far, and he has yet to walk an opposing batter. DiFranco only went five innings in his longest start so far so we have not seen whether he can go deep into games yet, but the early returns are promising. Combined with Will Levangie ’15 thus far, and the Bobcats rotation has been solid.

8. Hamilton sophomores stepping up: Joe Jensen ’15 has been fantastic like you would expect him to be, and the Continentals are hitting better behind as well. Chris Collins ’17, Kenny Collins ’17, Ryan Wolfsberg ’17, and Andrew Haser ’17 are all hitting .333 or better. Haser in particular has been impressive after having an OBP below .300 in 2014. Having this core group of sophomores be consistent threats in the lineup makes Hamilton a much more dangerous team to pitch against. The Continentals will get the chance to see whether it stands up against Wesleyan this weekend.

9. Remember the sample size caveat: Do not get carried away with all the results so far. Statistics tells us that through random probability some players will get hot  A lot of things are going to change as we go forward. When assessing the worth of early season statistics, keep in mind Bayes’ theorem. While the idea is sort of complicated, the idea is lend more weight to events that confirm what we thought already and give pause to events that contradict what we thought. So for example, we can trust that Jensen hitting above .500 is not a fluke because we knew already that he was really freaking good at baseball.

Your Continental Breakfast: Hamilton Baseball Season Preview

Joe Jensen '15 could have a massive senior season. (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)
Joe Jensen ’15 could have a massive senior season. (Courtesy of Hamilton Athletics)

2014 Record: 10-16 (2-10, Fifth in the NESCAC West), missed NESCAC playoffs

Starters Returning: 10 (8 position players, 2 starting pitchers)

Projected Lineup: (Stats are from 2014)

CF Joe Jensen ’15 (.398/.495/.430, 0 HR, 9 RBI)
RF Kenny Collins ’17 (.359/.422/.372, 0 HR, 15 RBI)
LF Ryan Wolfsberg ’17 (.273/.359/.364, 1 HR, 13 RBI)
3B Andrew Haser ’17 (.250/.291/.350, 1 HR, 9 RBI)
SS Chris Collins ’17 (.280/.353/.307, 0 HR, 8 RBI)
C Brett Mele ’17 (.237/.384/.271/0 HR, 7 RBI)
1B David Rose ’16 (.176/.167/.353, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
DH Mike Chiseri ’16 (.242/.395/.273, 0 HR, 5 RBI)
2B Brian Ferrell ’16 (.120/.241/.120, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

LHP Jjay Lane ’15 (1-4, 5.35 ERA, 3.74 K/9, 33.2 IP)
RHP Cole Dreyfuss ’16 (1-3, 6.75 ERA, 5.83 K/9, 29.1 IP)
RHP Finlay O’Hara (1-1, 3.38 ERA, 4.22 K/9, 21.1 IP)

Offensive Overview:

Almost the entire lineup returns from what was a very freshmen-heavy contingent a year ago. The one MAJOR exception to those freshmen was center fielder Joe Jensen ’15. The speedy outfielder enjoyed an incredible junior season and was voted by Baseball America this winter as the best Division-III professional prospect in America. Teams are forced to pitch to him because he is so fast that walking him is almost like a lead-off double because he can steal second base almost at will. He is the most likely player to keep Mike Odenwaelder ’16 from winning NESCAC POY again. Besides Jensen, the Collins twins, Chris and Kenny, will be major cogs in the lineup again as sophomores. Ryan Wolfsberg ’17 is another of those sophomores looking to improve after playing a lot as a freshmen. This lineup was one of the worse ones in the NESCAC because of how many freshmen got serious at-bats, but they should be much improved and at the least the top of the lineup will scare pitchers because of Jensen.

Defensive Overview:

The Continentals struggled in NESCAC play to make the simple play and ended the year with 30 errors in 12 NESCAC games, the most of anyone in the league. Again, Jensen is the best glove where he uses his All-American track speed to catch everything in the outfield. Having two freshmen, Chris Collins ’17 and Andrew Haser ’17, man the left side of the infield a year ago showed as those two combined for 22 errors. Expect a good amount of improvement as the two get more comfortable this season. Brett Mele ’17 is back at catcher where he will provide a steady presence behind the plate.

Pitching Overview:

The pitching staff is the area where Hamilton is probably the weakest. As a sophomore in 2013, Jjay Lane ’15 was one of the best pitchers in the NESCAC with an ERA well below 2.00, but last season he was touched up to the tune of a 5.35 ERA. Never a power pitcher, Lane only struck out 14 batters all season, and his defense let him down a good amount of the time as well. The Continentals are hoping that he will be able to rebound this year. Cole Dreyfuss ’16 really struggled a season ago, but he will get another chance this season, and Finlay O’Hara ’17 will try to build on a freshman year where he showed promise. None of those three is a strikeout heavy pitcher so they will rely a lot on their defense behind them. The hope is that Lane can be an ace and Dreyfuss and O’Hara are able to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible.

Storylines to Watch

1. Does Jensen have another level?

The somewhat amazing thing about Jensen is that he has improved leaps and bounds during his time at Hamilton. His freshman year he hit .170 in 53 at-bats, and his sophomore year showcased his speed more than his bat. Only last season did he emerge as an absolute force at the plate. His sudden ascent to an actual MLB draft prospect took virtually everybody by surprise. Already this season Jensen has hit a home run, something that he never did a year ago. That could hint at him being more than just somebody who is able to get on-base like crazy. It would also make the talk about him being drafted become a lot more realistic. Despite being on one of the worst teams in the league last year, Jensen is unquestionably one of the top five players in the NESCAC, and he could finish the year as the very best one.

2. Where does their opponents’ BABIP end up?

For the uninitiated, BABIP stands for “batting average on balls in play” which basically takes away strikeouts and home runs. In general research has found that pitchers actually have little control over their BABIP, though there are some notable exceptions. So a lot of it is luck, and for a staff like Hamilton that doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters, luck can be very important. The difference between a low opponents’ BABIP (good for Hamilton) and a high one (bad) is significant enough that we could look back at Hamilton’s season differently just based on that. A good defense that limits errors will also help the pitching staff, of course.

3. What is their ceiling?

Jensen is going to be very good, and the lineup around him should be much improved. Unfortunately for Hamilton (Middlebury and Williams too), Amherst and Wesleyan just have way more talent than them. The Continentals went 2-10 in conference last year, and they were fifth in the West because they lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to Middlebury. A third place finish in the West is certainly possible given the room for improvement amongst their younger players, but their lack of any dominant pitcher will make beating Amherst or Wesleyan in even one game a tall task.

Biggest Series: April 24-25 home against Williams

A season ago Hamilton ended the NESCAC season on a low note by being swept at Williams. That result was a big reason why they ended up in the cellar, but the series could be very different in New York this year. A series victory could be enough to lift Hamilton into third place.

Power Rankings Part 1

Last week we promised a big blowout of the Power Rankings, and today we deliver. We take a look at all the teams that won’t be making the playoffs this season and are done for 2014. We will cover what went right, what went wrong, and make a way too early prediction about how they will do in 2015. Thursday we will rank the four playoff teams.

10. Middlebury (5-24, 2-10)

What Went Right: Not very much. You have to hit bottom before you start going up again, and Middlebury baseball fans better hope that 2014 represents rock bottom. The only thing that really worked was Alex Kelly ’14 in the outfield and at the plate. Other positives for the Panthers to draw on were their improved pitching and defense. A young pitching staff battled all year with reliever Jake Stalcup ’17 having the best overall season. Max Araya ’16 also emerged as an above average offensive catcher who could serve as an anchor going forward, although there is some question about where he will start 2015 defensively. Middlebury struggled down the stretch winning only one of their last 13 games, but they looked better and more competitive than earlier in the year.

What Went Wrong: It might sound blunt, but there just wasn’t enough talent in Middlebury to compete. The statistics say that Middlebury had the worst hitting, fielding, and barely second worst pitching. You can’t help but sympathize for the seniors who have been there all four years and have watched as the program struggles to gain a foothold. Only one regular hit above .300 and no starter finished with an ERA under 4.50. This was simply a case of a season where nothing really went right for Middlebury. They had brief moments of competence and gave some of the top teams scares, but they weren’t good enough to get over the hump.

2015 Outlook: The key will be maintaining commitment during the offseason so that the Panthers return in 2015 ready to play. Players up and down the roster are going to have opportunities to get playing time, and it is simply a matter of who steps up when their number gets called. 2015 should be better for Middlebury, but they have a long way to go.

9. Hamilton (10-16, 2-10)

What Went Right: Hamilton and Middlebury were very similar teams this year. They both lacked depth, had pitching that held tough but couldn’t consistently get batters out, and struggled mightily fielding and hitting while sporting a fantastic leadoff hitter. For Hamilton, that was Joe Jensen ’15. He had a fantastic year with 23 stolen bases, 23 runs, and a .495 OBP. Hamilton’s best quality was their speed as they placed second in the NESCAC with 63 stolen bases. The other notable base stealers were Chris and Kenny Collins ’17. Of the two twins, Kenny finished the season especially strong with two three hit performances against Williams to help up his OBP to .422. Four of Hamilton’s top five batters in terms of plate appearances were freshmen who should see improvement in 2015.

What Went Right: The expected stars for this team were Zack Becker ’16 and Jjay Lane ’15, but both of them struggled to match their 2013 performances. Lane had an up-and-down season on the mound finishing with a 5.35 ERA. He never really found his groove and had trouble getting batters out in large part because he struck out only 3.74 batters per nine innings. Still, Becker had perhaps an even more disappointing year. Some regression was expected from his .434 OBP in 2013, but not many thought he would fall all the way to a .274 mark. By the end of the season he was a part time player because of his struggles. Overall, a very young lineup struck out this season with nobody capable of delivering the big hits that the Continentals needed.

2015 Outlook: Modest improvement should be expected from a Hamilton squad that showed potential early on. Almost everybody will be back besides a few secondary parts. If Lane gets straightened out then Hamilton will win at least four NESCAC games.

8. Trinity (16-17, 4-8)

What Went Right: Trinity showed a lot of resilience in their play down the stretch going on a nice winning streak and splitting against Wesleyan. Brian Wolfe ’15 stepped up to become the team’s best hitter over the course of the season, and his classmate Daniel Pidgeon ’15 enjoyed a successful season as well. Their pitching kept them in a lot of games, but the offense wasn’t powerful enough to take full advantage. Trinity won at least one game in every series, but they were incapable of ever going on a run in conference play to make a real move up the standings.

What Went Wrong: The schedule makers did no favors to this team with their four NESCAC series played on consecutive weekends. At one point, nine of ten games Trinity played had conference ramifications. We are used to watching powerful Trinity offenses, but those players just weren’t on the roster. The fact that they hit only two homers is telling. Trinity had almost every position player on its roster see significant playing time because nobody was playing well enough to make the coaches play them. The pitching staff was solid as mentioned above, but in college baseball you need pitchers who can singlehandedly win games for you. No one on Trinity was able to distinguish themselves as capable of that.

2015 Outlook: The East is all of a sudden very crowded, so expecting Trinity to simply return to the top is foolish. The offense will be better and the pitching potential is there, but anything better than a .500 season in the NESCAC will be a surprise for the Bantams.

7. Bowdoin (18-16-1, 5-7)

What Went Right: Young players who needed to step up did so in a big way. The most obvious of those were Peter Cimini ’16 and Chad Martin ’16. The duo went from non-factors in 2013 to the linchpins of the Bowdoin offense. Elsewhere Michael Staes ’16 emerged as a potential weekend starter for next season with a 2.29 ERA in 35.1 innings, and Jon Fraser ’15 also had a spectacular season in limited duty with a 0.76 ERA. The statistics said that Bowdoin underperformed as a team in conference. This was a team with some of the best pitching in the league, but lacked the ace that other teams had to shut down opponents. Bowdoin seemed to play every team when they were playing their best, but managed to win at least one game in every series.

What Went Wrong: Bowdoin graduated a superb class in 2013, but still had a lot of talented players in the 2014 class who were expected to lead this team. That just didn’t happen whether it was because of injury for Christian Martin ’14 or inconsistent play from John Lefeber ’14 and Duncan Taylor ’14. Lefeber and Taylor ended up with solid statistics, but they just weren’t the stars the team needed. The other big loss was not having Henry Van Zant ’15 available for most of the year. He flashed what he could do posting a 1.95 ERA in 27.2 innings. The team’s true weakness however was in the field where they had the second most errors in the NESCAC. 36.4 percent of the runs Bowdoin allowed this year were unearned.

2015 Outlook: The silver lining of a disappointing 2014 is that most of what went wrong won’t take away from the 2015 team. Van Zant should be healthy and the loss of all the seniors will not sting nearly as much as would have been believed before the season started. A return to the playoffs is definitely possible.

6. Colby (16-15, 5-7)

What Went Right: The final conference record is a disappointment, but Colby has a lot to be proud of from their 2014. We expected them to improve somewhat, but not many thought they would be on top of the East Division until April 18. The key was improvement by players already on the roster. Jason Buco ’15 delivered an MVP-quality season by leading the NESCAC with seven homers, and Kevin Galvin ’14 was a more than capable Robin to give him support. The biggest difference in 2014 though was the pitching. Scott Goldberg ’15 and Greg Ladd ’15 put in the work to become leaders of the staff while Soren Hanson ’16 showed he is also close to being an ace down the stretch. Overall the Mules improved their ERA by 1.90 runs in 2014.

What Went Wrong: Colby didn’t end up making the playoffs because the supporting cast was not strong enough to support the stars on offense. In their final six conference games Colby averaged only 1.17 runs as they went 1-5 against Bates and Tufts. Colby’s pitching was very good, but they would have needed a Herculean effort to win with that type of offense. In many ways Colby’s baseball performance mirrored that of their basketball and football teams. It was filled with promise and strong performances for most of the season (beating Bates for football and upsetting Amherst for basketball), but ended on a sour note (the Hail Mary loss to Bowdoin in football and the first round NESCAC tournament loss for basketball).

2015 Outlook: The trend is definitely in the positive direction. The only loss of real significance is Galvin. Whether other players can make similar leaps to what some did this year will make the difference in 2015. Right now I say Colby makes the playoffs next year.

5. Williams (13-16, 7-5)

What Went Right: Some people will draw issue with a team with a losing record being considered the fifth best team in the NESCAC, but we are weighting conference games heavily. Williams also split a doubleheader against Bowdoin so it’s record against NESCAC teams was 8-6. Again, detractors will point out six of those wins came against cellar dwellers Middlebury and Hamilton, but every NESCAC game is hard-fought. The best thing Williams did was beat the teams they should have in conference play. Their offense was scintillating in the early going with a host of players putting up gaudy numbers. The high point of their season came after they won their first game against Amherst in four years and stood at 4-1 in the NESCAC on April 5.

What Went Wrong: The pitching improved as the season went on, but was never reliable enough. Their teamwide statistics ended up being worse than last year underscoring the possibility they really didn’t improve at all in 2014. 2013 stats: .374 OBP and 5.73 ERA vs 2014 stats: .363 OBP and 6.46 ERA. They really struggled in non-conference play exposing the fact that they don’t have a lot of pitching depth. Williams squandered any chance at making the playoffs when they got swept by Wesleyan. The best pitching was able to make their offense struggle. Overall a very mixed year for a team that was riding high early on before reality set in a little in the middle part of the year.

2015 Outlook: Several key cogs have to be replaced as well as innings leader Steve Marino ’14, but there will still be a lot of firepower in Williamstown. However Williams probably won’t improve their conference record in 2015.

 

Power Rankings May 1

Going to keep the Power Rankings a little bit shorter this week before doing a big blowout one next time. It will be special I promise. In the mean time feast your eyes on these rankings and consider them a bit of a sampler before the main course next week.

1. Tufts (27-4, 8-2)- At first I was going to put Wesleyan here before looking at the team wide stats. Tufts’ pitching has separated themselves just a little bit from the other pitching staffs down the stretch, and its 2.58 ERA is .75 runs better than Bowdoin’s second place mark. Tufts has a great video of the Tufts staff discussing what has made them so successful. The offense is not quite as dominant, but has still scored 21 more runs than anybody else in the NESCAC. The secret to their success has been their patience. They rank as a team only fourth in the NESCAC in batting average, but their .396 OBP is the best in the league. Also, a .396 OBP is absurdly high for a full season.

2. Wesleyan (23-8, 10-2)- Did someone on Wesleyan read the Power Rankings last week? No way they printed it out and circled the fact that I put them third right? There isn’t a lot of stuff out there that could be used as bulletin board material in the NESCAC, so let me just have my moment and imagine that they used my writing as inspiration for their series win over Amherst. Like I said above, I almost put them number one, but think that Tufts’ body of work is too deserving not to put them first. One player we haven’t given enough credit to this season has been second baseman Andrew Yin ’15. He has gotten on-base more than any other player in the NESCAC.

3. Amherst (23-7, 9-3)- Yes, it was a disappointing weekend for Amherst, but my impression of them hasn’t changed very much. Drawing Tufts for the first game of the double elimination tournament is tough, but Bowdoin showed last week that Tufts’ Kyle Slinger ’15 is beatable. They have a bevy of pitchers to throw at teams this weekend. They won the tournament last year as the number two West seed without losing a game so they have been in this situation before.

4. Bates (18-14, 6-4)- Their remaining two games against Tufts are much more important in terms of confidence for the Bobcats than the Jumbos. Bates lost the first game of conference season to Tufts when Slinger threw a gem against them, but they were in the game the whole time. Both managers will have to balance keeping their players in rhythm and not giving away too much in case of a potential rematch in two weekends. While Bates is a distant fourth behind the big three, Brad Reynolds ’14 will give them a great chance to win at least one game, and after that the team has been playing well enough to make a run.

5. Williams (10-15, 6-5)- The overall record is not very good in large part because of the depth of Williams pitching, but this was still the best team not to make the playoffs. They were doomed by going 1-5 against the tandem of Amherst and Wesleyan, and it would have been interesting to see how they would have done in the East given how up for grabs the second spot was. Their hitting didn’t perform quite as well in conference play, but some drop off was to be expected.

6. Colby (15-13, 5-7)- Colby gains this spot by virtue of beating Bowdoin in their head to head matchup. No team took a bigger step forward than Colby this season in big part because they had great improvement by returning players. Back in March they looked to be at best a spoiler with enough talent to steal a game from anybody, but their 4-2 conference start was for real. They return a lot of players next season as well. Their offense will need to get contributions for players up and down the lineup, but they aren’t far away.

7. Bowdoin (17-14-1, 5-7)- This is a disappointing finish for Bowdoin given their preseason expectation, but in the end their weaknesses just couldn’t be overcome. Still a lot of positives to take away with the biggest one being all the players who stepped up in bigger than expected roles. All of those players will be back next season in what is sure to be a team hungry to get back to the playoffs in a crowded East.

8. Trinity (15-16, 4-8)-  2014 was a terrible season by Trinity’s high standards, but their series against Tufts showed that there are still plenty of players in Hartford. It felt like Trinity lost more close games than anyone else. Everyone in the lineup will be back as well. It is way too early to make any predictions about the East next year, but it will be just as unpredictable next season. Don’t be shocked if the Bantams bring in a couple of hard throwing freshman to strengthen the rotation.

9. Hamilton (9-14, 2-9)- To be honest, Hamilton really hasn’t done much to hold onto this spot in recent weeks because their offense has completely collapsed. Their pitching staff has kept them in games, but there just isn’t enough hitting. The improvement of twins Chris and Kenny Collins ’17 does represent a ray of hope that next season the Continentals will be a more complete team capable of cashing in on the early promise they showed on their Florida trip.

10. Middlebury (4-21, 2-10)- The Panthers seemed to building a little momentum a few weeks ago after they beat Hamilton twice and played Amherst very tight for a couple games, but that enthusiasm has disappeared in the middle of a nine game losing streak. Their remaining four games are two doubleheaders against Tufts and Bowdoin so those will be difficult games as well. If they win some of them then they recapture some of those good vibes heading into the summer.