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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacon baseball is here and UMass Boston delivered!

With the arrival of March comes baseball season. The Beacons are looking to make a splash this year. They enter the season tied with Eastern Connecticut (1), the team that knocked the Beacons out of the tournament last year, for the third favorite to take the Little East Conference title. Voters granted them 52 total points, only five points behind Southern Maine, who is the favorite to win the conference (2).

The Beacons lost pitcher Alex Amalfi to the Toronto Blue Jays and All-Conference outfielder Steve Brookwell to graduation, but they should be all right. The Beacons retained several key players as well as some new faces that should prove to be very helpful (2).

The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper shouted out three of the Beacons’ returning players.

Infielder Craig Corliss is a name to take note of. Corliss was named to the All-Little East Conference Third Team last season and has a sensational career batting average of .322 (3). Joining him is fellow outfielder Drew Metzdorf, who was named to the All-Little East Conference Second Team last season and hit .342 (3). These two are sure to terrorize opposing pitchers all season long. The last of the three is pitcher Ross Dexter. Dexter’s excellent 3.05 Earned Run Average is a number that will intimidate batters (4).

Luke Leavitt, who led the team in batting average with an absurd .407, also makes a return to this year’s lineup (5) alongside reigning members of the All-Little East Conference teams, Aidan Blake and Dillon Ryan (2). Wrapping up the returning faces is pitcher Josh Eastman. Eastman led the Little East in saves last season—an accomplishment that is no easy feat (2).

On top of the star power that the Beacons retained, they have some incoming transfers that are looking to take this team to the top. The Beacon’s landed a trio of players from Southern New Hampshire University. Pitcher Nick Assad and outfielders Breon Parker and Justin Gouevia are headed down to Boston to join the team (2).

Massasoit Community College has also provided two players, pitcher Ethan Hunt and catcher Bryce Evans. Evans was an All-American last year, so he should make to be a very exciting acquisition. Rounding out the class of transfers is a first baseman, Mike Gorham. Gorham is coming all the way from North Dallas College, looking to find success on the East coast (2).

From March 9 to March 17, the Beacons will head down south to Florida to play in the RussMatt College Baseball Invitational. They will play eight games against schools from all across the country (8). With their new acquisitions on top of an already strong roster, there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to handle these unfamiliar teams.

The Little East Conference tournament will be held in May (1), and this year’s title is more up for grabs than ever (2). There is no runaway favorite this year, which could make for a competitive season with exciting conference matchups.

Last season, the Beacons finished the year with a strong record of 26–17 (1). They made a deep run into the tournament last year winning their first two games convincingly (1).  It seems they gained just as much as they lost, if not more. They may be projected third, but it shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody if the Beacons come out on top of the conference this year. If their season opener against Massachusetts Institute of Technology says anything, they may do just that.

The Beacons swerved around the Engineers for a wild walk off, literally. After trailing by as many as five runs through five innings, Blake and Corliss made it a game with back-to-back extra base hits in the sixth inning to make it 5–2. Blake hit a Runs-Batted-In triple to the right center field gap to put the Beacons on the scoreboard, while Corliss drove Blake in with a double down the right field line. Crawling back down three runs, the Beacons’ rally seemed short lived after MIT’s Teddy Schoenfield hit a nuke to right field for a homer to put the Engineers up four in the final inning.

The bottom half of the frame had the Beacons backed into a corner down four runs and on the cusp of losing the season opener. Although, whatever drills they ran revolving around plate discipline during the offseason truly paid off; the Beacons drew four total walks in the ninth inning with the first two coming on back-to-back batters. This was soon followed by Leavitt getting hit in the shin by the first pitch he saw. The Beacons down 7–4 now, an infield single brought the lead to within two, and a pitching change was made by MIT to try and shift the momentum back their way. That never happened.

Back-to-back walks were issued with the bases loaded to tie the game at seven, but you may be asking yourself “how did the Beacons manage to win the game 8–7 when the final batter only walked in the tying run?” It’s because Aidan Blake is a ninja, that’s why. The tying run was scored after infielder Gianni Zarrilli worked a walk on a full count. Since all runners were advancing on the pitch—a wild one at that—Blake had a head start and got a bit too ahead of himself rounding third base. As a result, Blake got caught in a rundown; a bystander watching even noted that he was an “idiot” for doing so. After swerving the tag from MIT’s catcher about ten feet from home plate, he scored the winning run, and the Beacons stormed the field and celebrated after their rally. Cheers from the dugout paid off in rattling the Engineers. Blake commented on the team performance after the game:

“Overall, just very impressed by a team with a lot of guys who came off the bench; big At Bats, came in the game, big defensive games, can’t complain.” Blake added, “It’s always good to get the first (…) and pull out a game like this against a team we haven’t beaten in three years (…) especially for this senior class who have gone through a lot of stuff with being here at the beginning of COVID-19 all the way through the end of COVID-19. It’s especially good to get this first one.”

The Beacons are as good as any other team, and their home opener provides hope that they can hang with anybody thrown at them. Make sure to stop by a game whenever it’s possible because this sure looks like a team you do not want to miss.

Sources:

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/baseball/schedule/2022

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/2/14/Little_East_Conference_Releases_Spring_2023_Preseason_Polls.aspx

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/1/9/trio-named-to-collegiate-baseball-newspaper-top-players-to-watch-list.aspx

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/baseball/roster/craig-corliss/8868

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/baseball/roster/drew-metzdorf/8880

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/baseball/roster/ross-dexter/8869

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/baseball/roster/luke-leavitt/8877

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/baseball/schedule