Baseball Breaks Out Brooms vs. Hamilton

By Jordan Howell

The baseball team swept divisional opponent Hamilton to close last week’s action on April 14 and 15. The Panthers now stand at 9-10 overall and a game over .500 in conference play.

The Panthers won a decisive 3-0 victory over the Continentals Friday afternoon on the right arm of first-year Spencer Shores ’20. Shores went eight innings and tossed 12 strikeouts, giving up only six hits, a walk and a healthy HBP.

The game was scoreless heading into the sixth until Sam Graf ’19 got the Panthers’ Ryan Rizzo ’17 across the plate with an infield single deep into the hole to the shortstop. The scoring continued in the bottom of the seventh where designated hitter Alan Guild ’20 hit a solo shot over the wall in right center to put the Panthers up 2-0. A couple of batters later, Jason Lock ’17 drove in Brooks Carroll ’20 with a single up the middle. That pushed the score to 3-0, which Conor Himstead ’19 preserved in the ninth as he struck out the side.

Shores got his second win of the season and of his career thus far. Himstead racked up his third save of the season, while Rizzo, Graf, Lock and Guild led the way for the Panthers at the dish.

The Panthers were able to carry their momentum from Friday afternoon’s victory when the teams met again for a doubleheader on Saturday.

In the first game, the Panthers pulled out a come-frombehind 6-5 victory.

Hamilton was up 4-0 going into the first when Carroll came to the plate with Justin Han ’20 in scoring position. Carroll was able to hit a sharp single to push Han across and begin a threerun inning for the Panthers. Carroll would score on a Lock single to center before the Panthers had a stroke of luck when Raj Palekar ’18 hit a popup that the Hamilton shortstop lost in the sun and bobbled that allowed Lock to score.

Middlebury scored again in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at four. However, this was quickly taken away when Hamilton went up one after scoring in the top of the seventh.

On their last legs, the Panthers came up in the bottom of the seventh needing some timely production. Phil Bernstein ’19 answered the call.

Palekar reached the base on a fielder’s choice when an error allowed Graf to score to tie things up at five. Palekar eventually got into scoring position and Bernstein came up with a chance to notch one in the win column for Middlebury. Bernstein continued what has been a fantastic sophomore season with a shot up the middle to give the Panthers a well-deserved win in what was an all-around team effort.

In the final matchup of the three game set on Saturday afternoon, the Panthers once again came from behind and won another thriller by one run, this time 7-6.

Already holding a 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Hamilton scored three more runs and it appeared the Camels had blown the game open and would take a game off the Panthers. However, the Panthers never quit and rose to the occasion.

In the bottom of the sixth, Guild tripled to left center to score both Bernstein and Han. After a ground out by Rizzo, Guild scored on a wild pitch to bring the Panthers within one.

The Panthers kept the pedal to the metal and before the pivotal sixth ended Carroll singled through the left side to bring home Andrew Corcoran ’18 to tie the game at six apiece.

The 6-6 tie held until the bottom of the eighth, by which point the Panthers clearly held all of the momentum. Middlebury got the edge when Graf doubled down the leftfield line to bring home Lock and put the Panthers ahead for good 7-6.

The top of the ninth was not without some measure of fanfare however, but a putout at home and two successive quick outs were enough to seal the deal.

The Panthers will be back in action tomorrow and Saturday, April 21-22, for an important three game set with Wesleyan.