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It’s easy to get swept up in remembering the beginnings and ends of things. The nostalgia of Trips and the seemingly grand significance of right now — what may feel like an end to some and a beginning to others but is probably something of both. But, in between that first step on the Green to the last step off that stage, what will you remember once you are no longer at this College on the Hill?
There’s an immediate quality to the appearance of Dartmouth baseball’s third baseman Nick Lombardi ’15 that tells his story in a second. He has an obvious gap in the coloring of the skin tone on his left wrist where the EvoShield he wears while playing baseball mutes the afternoon sun. A white TaylorMade visor pushes froths of hair out of his face and accentuates the leather-like skin on the back of his neck, shaded so dark it could only have come from weeks spent outside during the first “livable” weeks of the Hanover spring.
NEW YORK, N.Y.— It happened again. Columbia University took the Ivy League Championship from Dartmouth baseball for the third consecutive year — but maybe “again” doesn’t quite fit here.
If it can be said that this year was a season of opportunity for Dartmouth baseball — as I wrote in the preseason round up so many weeks ago — then this weekend is the culmination of that opportunity, the chance to swipe the Ivy League crown from the two-time reigning champ Columbia University in the Lions’ own den. Whether or not Dartmouth will bring home the championship for the first time since 2010 is a question to be answered only by the unpredictability and fickle nature of baseball itself. Whether or not the Big Green can is a question that the team has already answered.
With a clean sweep of Harvard University this past weekend, Big Green baseball (20-19, 16-4 Ivy) has completed its regular season, going undefeated in divisional play for the first time in 23 years and extending its win streak to 14 games — the third-longest win streak in program history.
If two weeks ago Dartmouth baseball was the king of splits, it has since become the king of streaks — winning 10 in a row, sweeping all of its conference competition so far and taking the Red Rolfe Division title for the eighth consecutive year with four conference games left in the season. It’s a good time to be watching baseball at Dartmouth.
Matt Parisi ’15, shortstop for Big Green baseball, lives the kind of life that makes you doubt everything you know about physics — like a magician pulling out an endless chain of handkerchiefs from under this sleeve. The difference between the two is that the magician waits with a prop up his sleeve. Parisi does not deceive.
Break out the brooms and call in the cleaning crew because last weekend the baseball team completed its first sweep of the season in a four game series against Yale University (10-18, 2-8 Ivy) — the first clean sweep of the Bulldogs at Yale in program history since the back-to-back double header schedule was instituted in 1993. Dartmouth followed up its stellar performance against Yale with a midweek doubleheader sweep of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (7-18) on the strength of three Joe Purritano ’16 triples.
A loss assigned to a pitcher is — in a perfect world — supposed to indicate fault. At times the loss can be telling of a pitcher’s performance, but it can also be a misleading statistic — a sting felt by no one more than Chris England ’15 last Tuesday after taking the start against Boston College.
After competing in two doubleheaders this weekend, Big Green baseball has concluded its rounds in the Lou Gehrig Division and has established itself as the King of Splits. After playing both Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania last weekend and the first home games of the season this past weekend against Cornell and Princeton Universities, the team finished with a win and a loss in all four doubleheaders thus far.
How does one write a lede for a string of brutal spring interim away games, an Ivy opening day doubleheader against the defending League champions and a pair of games the very next day which were both decided in the final half innings? (Like that, I guess?)The most interesting development from the jam-packed schedule of baseball is the emergence of somewhat dark horse pitcher Jackson Bubala ’17, who had his first start and appearance against the University of Texas at Arlington in Santa Barbara, California, over the spring interim. Bubala, who had yet to toss a single inning for the Green and White since his arrival as a freshman last year, allowed just one run in six innings on the mound and left the game with the Big Green holding a 2-1 lead. Though relief pitcher Chris Burkholder ’17 ultimately blew the lead, Bubala’s six-inning stretch gave him the capital to secure the final open spot in the rotation for the team’s first Ivy weekend.Bubala took the mound against the University of Pennsylvania for Sunday’s second game after the team lost the front end of the doubleheader. In the day game, a two-run seventh inning for the Big Green knotted the score at three before a walk-off single pushed a runner across home for Penn in the bottom of the seventh. Bubala, starting the nine-inning game immediately after the 4-3 loss, threw another six innings and allowed just two runs — a solid showing despite the fact that his opponent, the Quakers’ Mike Reitcheck, went for seven innings and allowed no runs. Bubala’s two outings so far this year, captain Louis Concato ’14 said, are evidence that the sophomore is being given an opportunity — of which he is taking advantage — to keep his name in the mix for the rotation.Reitcheck was pulled before the eighth as Penn attempted to preserve the two-run lead. In the end, the Quakers burned through four bullpen arms while trying to retain control of the game.A late-game rally by the Big Green’s offense — put together by Justin Fowler ’18, Matt MacDowell ’15, Matt Parisi ’15 and Nick Ruppert ’16 — left Dartmouth ahead by two. Though the Quakers scored in the bottom half of the inning, the Big Green eventually secured the victory. Patrick Peterson ’18 took home the win after throwing the final three and surrendering just one run. Head coach Bob Whalen left Peterson on the mound to close out the ninth inning, a developmental nod to the freshman who has so far had four appearances and racked up a 3.21 ERA.Getting the win in game two, MacDowell said, was huge for the team going forward, especially considering the win as a testament to the team’s ability in the final frames.The split doubleheader came after the team’s opening Saturday against Columbia University — the defending Ivy League champions who bested the Big Green last season in the Ivy League Championship Series. Brothers Mike Concato ’17 and Louis Concato ’14 took the starts, with Mike Concato securing the seven-frame victory in game one. Both brothers gave up four runs, though Louis Concato didn’t receive as much run support as his younger brother. In game one, the Big Green scored five runs and in game two the men only pushed across one run, batted in by Adam Gauthier ’16 who has seen a considerable amount of time behind the plate this year.The baseball team jetted off to California for its annual spring break trip, competing against some of college baseball’s best programs. Of the nine games in California, the team won only one at the tail end of the trip against California Polytechnic University. The team was driven by strong performances by starting pitchers Duncan Robinson ’16 and Mike Concato. Robinson allowed one run on seven hits in eight innings of work, while Concato closed out the final inning and put three up and away to clinch the lone win of the journey. Jeff Keller ’14, last season’s co-captain and a California native, attended the games in Santa Barbara and said that though they were lost decisively, they do not predict the team’s ability to succeed in the Ivy League.“It’s hard to read into these things,” Keller said. “Obviously you’d love to go 20-0 but…it’s hard to say you really lost or won those games when they’re throwing their number one pitcher and you might be throwing your number five.”With the grueling spring interim hopefully behind them, Dartmouth’s 2-2 Ivy start ties the team’s best opening weekend start since any of the current players suited up in the Green and White — against last year’s two strongest teams in the League no less. While concern has, for the second season in a row, been hovering around the mound, the emergence of pitchers like Bubala, Peterson, Sam Fichthorn ’18 and — every now and again — Burkholder gives rise to hope that the program will, at the very least, remain dominant in the Red Rolfe Division and, just maybe, keep a bid alive for that elusive Ivy League title.
I’m not sure if I’m allowed to have nostalgia at a time like this. This is the men’s ice hockey’s story, and I am a writer, the ultimate inside-outsider. There’s an otherworldly aspect to the sport that I both understand and don’t — enough that I feel I can write something about it but just enough mystery to keep my eyes glued to what unfolds on the ice. The game can become so intense I don’t realize I’ve stopped breathing until I hear the final buzzer and I let out the pent up air, unaware that so much apprehension could fit inside my 5’2” frame.
The baseball team’s first win of the season was a victory in every sense of the word. The pitching, fully commanded by two freshmen, Patrick Peterson ’18 and Sam Fichthorn ’18, left the Bucknell University Bisons scoreless through nine innings. In the final game of the Snowbird Classic in Florida, the team’s offense spread its eight runs across four separate innings, and with the exception of a single fielding error — compared to Bucknell’s five — on the very first at bat of the game, the defense seemed nearly flawless.
If any lesson can be taken from the first weekend of postseason play for the men’s ice hockey team, it’s this: the team’s abilities are not in question, but if they want it, they’re going to have to work for it.
You can always tell when it’s the first weekend of a baseball team’s season. The pitchers’ ERAs are largely goose eggs or more similar to their own shoe sizes. The batting averages of a few hitters are impressive, some almost unreal, while others are closer to BACs after a few games of pong. Drawing from just about the smallest sample size you can, the numbers often feel wild and erratic. So what can be done to make sense of the team’s 0-3 series against No. 14 Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, this past weekend?
The goal, Carl Hesler ’18 joked before the game, would be his. A long pass to Jack Barre ’16 in the neutral zone from Andy Simpson ’15 gave Barre the opportunity to carry the puck in and find Corey Kalk ’18 in the center. Kalk slipped it under a sliding defenseman to Hesler on the far post, who nicked it across the crease. In his first home showing against Princeton University, the freshman centerman netted his third goal of the season, beckoning the single loudest, most cacophonous sound to be heard in Thompson Arena all year, accompanied by the tennis balls that came down like acid rain on the visiting Tigers.
It’s a season, for the baseball team, of opportunity. Without a doubt, the seven-time defending Red Rolfe Division Champions have a challenge at their doorstep. At the end of last season, the Big Green graduated co-captains Jeff Keller ’14 and Dustin Selzer ’14. Right-fielder Keller led the team in batting average (.308) and doubles (15), while Selzer — a two-time all-Ivy First Team first baseman — anchored the right infield for all but two games last season, batting clean-up for Dartmouth. The team, however, knew those departures were coming.
Personally, I find the game-winning goal statistic to be over-hyped. Players collect them here and there, sometimes coincidentally in the middle of the game or right after the puck drops if their team’s defense is good enough. On Friday night, though, team point leader and alternate captain Eric Neiley ’15 put a game-winner top shelf against Clarkson University for the 3-2 victory that represented everything a game-winning goal is supposed to — nicked off a perfect pass, under pressure in overtime, with nothing accidental or incidental about it. The overtime goal — just over a minute into the period — was the first of his collegiate career.
Madison Hughes ’15, who was selected to captain the USA Eagles sevens squad earlier this year, reunited with the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club this past weekend in Las Vegas. The reunion came with the coinciding of the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational and 2015 USA Sevens international rugby tournament as part of the Sevens World Series. Hughes was selected to lead the team for the series’ fifth consecutive leg and captained the Eagles to their best World Series finish since 2010.
Not too high, not too low. You hear that phrase in interview after interview, from player after player. What it means, in not so many words, is that a team is looking for consistency — ways to manage big victories so they don’t start pushing the boundaries of their own play while handling tough losses so they can take the ice with enough confidence to avoid getting stuck in a rut. After this weekend, which began with an exciting late-game 3-2 win over Cornell University and ended in a devastating 0-3 loss to Colgate University, not too high, not too low is what men’s ice hockey is counting on as the team nears the end of the regular season.