By Chris Allen
The Dutchmen baseball team made their way to Colburn Park, in Newark, N.Y., to attend the NCAA New York Regional.
In the first game, Union faced off against the Kean Cougars out of New Jersey. The winner of the game would move to the winner’s bracket, while the loser would move to the loser’s bracket and face elimination.
“We didn’t know a whole lot about Kean, as they aren’t in our league, but we felt it wouldn’t matter,” said Anders Goetz ’15, part of an efficient middle infield tandem with Joe Bradlee ’14.
Jake Fishman ’17 was on the bump in the Union Baseball’s first NCAA game since 1965. He threw eight innings, letting up four runs, three of which were earned.
Throughout the game, he struck out three batters and kept the Dutchmen in the game the entire time.
“Once again, Fishman threw a gem for us. I’m excited to see him progress over the next couple of years and become an even more dominant pitcher in the Liberty League,” said Captain Dave Peretti ’14.
The Dutchmen’s offense began in the second inning with Logan Schulte ’17 singling to center to score Bradlee.
CJ Worley ’15 notched another RBI with a sacrifice bunt that allowed Eric Egan ’16 to score in the sixth inning. At this point, the score was 3-2 — a true nail-biter.
The Cougars came back later that inning to take a 4-2 lead, but Egan blasted a double in the seventh that scored Kent Curran ’17 and Dave Peretti.
“Egan’s hit in the seventh was huge. It was a complete momentum swing,” said Sam Caruso ’14.
Unfortunately, the tie did not last. The Cougars had a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth to move onto the winner’s bracket. “That hit stung. We worked so hard all game to just have one hit determine our fate,” said Peretti.
The Dutchmen returned the next day to face off against Stevens Institute of Technology.
This game was not as close as the previous and, at the last out, the scoreboard read 10-3 in favor of Stevens.
“Union didn’t seem to have the same intensity and edge as they did previously in the season. It looked like the loss against Kean took a lot out of their sails,” said spectator Connor McManus ’14.
Even with the loss, the Dutchmen have a lot to be proud of. This season was one of the most successful in the school’s history.
They were not only able to win the regular season title for the Liberty League, but also the Liberty League Championship.
They made the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1965, and there were many individual awards that players wouldn’t share because of their dedication to the team atmosphere.
One example is Jake Fishman, who won Liberty League Rookie of the Week, Liberty League Championship Co-MVP and Liberty League Rookie of the Year.
Andrew Beaule ’14 was the other Liberty League Championship Co-MVP and won Liberty League Pitcher of the Week after pitching 14 innings in two days.
Sam Caruso won Liberty League Performer of the Week twice during the season, and was also named to the Liberty League Championship Tournament All-Tournament Team and All-Liberty League First Team. Caruso finished second in the league for batting average, with .408. He also finished first in the league for hits, with 51, and stolen bases, with 20.
“Our senior class was loaded this year, but coming into the season, we knew that the younger guys were going to have to step up. They certainly did, as we had the most balanced lineup with contributions coming from batters one through nine. I look forward to seeing these guys progress and continue Union’s domination of the Liberty League and into the NCAAs,” said Bradlee.
Congratulations for all of your success, Union Baseball. I wish the team the best of luck next year.