By Chris Allen
The weather forecast for Saturday’s matchup between the Union Dutchmen and the Rochester Yellow Jackets said there was a high chance of thunderstorms, but Mother Nature was aware of the task at hand for the Dutchmen and delivered a gorgeous, sunny day.
The Dutchmen had a tall order at hand. They needed to win the first game against Rochester and follow up with a win later that day to become Liberty League Champions.
The first game began with Union taking the lead in the second as Jake Fishman ’17 scored.
Rochester came back and put two runs up against starting pitcher Greg Geisel ’17 in the fourth, but the Dutchmen answered that inning with a run of their own to tie the ball game.
“We knew early that we needed to get more run support, as that was the reason we lost the first time to Rochester. They certainly had some good pitching, but knowing the capabilities of our offense, I knew we could do it,” said captain Dave Peretti ’14.
In the sixth, Joe Bradlee ’14 scored on a throwing error, putting the Dutchmen in the lead with at 3-2.
The Yellow Jackets continued the back-and-forth scoring with a run in the eighth, tying the game 3-3.
But in the bottom of the eighth, the Dutchmen offense finally came alive. All-tournament player Anders Goetz ’15 started the scoring by singling, scoring Fishman and Kent Curran ’17.
Vincent Esposito ’14 also singled to move Goetz to second. He also scored CJ Worley ’15, who had moved to third on the previous hit.
Liberty League First Team member Sam Caruso ’14 batted next, adding another hit to an impressive season and scoring Goetz.
“That inning was huge. It really took the wind out of Rochester’s sails and helped secure the first victory,” said Caruso.
The Yellow Jackets were able to put up one more run in the ninth, but closer Chris Pignatello ’15 shut the door and received the win.
After the victory, the Dutchmen had a 30-minute break, then entering the win-or-go-home game that would crown the next Liberty League Champions. “We tried to relax, but it was tough, knowing what lay ahead,” said Andrew Beaule ’14.
Devin Martin ’17 was given the rock in the second game, but was hit early, letting up two runs in the first inning.
The Dutchmen answered with four runs in the bottom of the first. Curran started the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right that scored Caruso and moved Peretti to third. Fishman came up next and delivered a frozen rope into center, scoring Peretti.
After an error, Worley singled to right, allowing Bradlee and Fishman to score.
After Martin let up another run in the fourth, Andrew Beaule was put on the mound. He had thrown 126 pitches in nine innings the day before.
“I don’t know how Beaule could even move his arm after his performance on Friday, but he threw an absolute gem,” said Caruso.
Calling Beaule’s pitching a gem is an understatement. Beaule kept the Yellow Jackets off the board in the five and two-thirds innings he pitched.
Even spectators were amazed by the performance and focus that Beaule demonstrated on the mound.
Beaule’s pitching was supported by an RBI from Caruso and another RBI from Worley, which put the score at 6-4.
Captain Dane O’Neil ’14 went in as the closer, and it seemed fitting that the torch be passed from senior to senior. O’Neil struck out the last batter.
As soon as the umpire gestured for the K, the team stormed the field to celebrate the fact that they had become Liberty League Champions, moving on to the NCAA tournament where they faced Keene of New Jersey on May 14. Congratulations, Dutchmen!