NESCAC Tournament
Williams 4    Tufts 3    (11 inn.)

at Pittsfield, MA
Saturday, May 12, 2001

Williams 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 = 4-12-4
Tufts 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 3-7-2

T - Steve Lapham, Brian Shapiro (11) and Joe Surprenat; W - Ryan Paylor, Adam Mancinone and Tim Albretcht.
LP - Lapham (3-5); WP - Mancinone (7-0).
2B - T, Tim Ayres; W, Tim Albrecht 2.

Click here for game box score

Records - T, 20-12-1; W, 30-3.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Tucker Fitzgerald scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the top of the eleventh inning as Williams College advanced to the finals of the NESCAC baseball tournament with a 4-3 victory over the Tufts Jumbos on Saturday. The marathon game was a pitcher's duel between junior Steve Lapham (Newburyport, MA) of Tufts and Ryan Paylor of Williams.

Lapham went 10 and 2/3 innings, allowing 12 hits and four runs (two earned), but walked only one and worked his way out of a number of jams. The Jumbos' hurler was also helped out by some spectacular defense, including several great plays by freshman third baseman Dan Lapointe (Everett, MA).

However, Lapham ran into trouble in the eleventh. With Fitzgerald, who was running for Mark Scialabba, on first with two outs, Matt Dahlman laced a single to right center that moved Fitzgerald to third. Sophomore Brian Shapiro (Swampscott, MA) then relieved Lapham and bounced his first offering to Bobby Coppola past catcher Joe Surprenant (Tewksbury, MA). Fitzgerald scored easily from third on the wild pitch.

In the bottom of the inning, junior 1B Tim Ayres (Irvine, CA) lined a two-out single to left off of Williams reliever Adam Mancinone (7-0). LaPointe then looped one over second base that appeared as if it would drop in, but Coppola ran back and made a beautiful over-the-shoulder sliding catch for the final out. It was the third great play by Coppola on the day, and all three got the Ephs (30-3) out of jams. In the first, Coppola made a diving stop up the middle that led to an inning-ending double play. Then, with the bases loaded in the second and two outs, he made another diving play up the middle and flipped to second for the force out. Coppola also helped out on offense with two hits, and his RBI single in the second put Williams up 2-0. Dahlman had put the Ephs up 1-0 one batter before with a single to center.

Tufts came right back in the second. Ayres (2 for 4) ripped a double to right that scored Shapiro, and then later came home on an error. After Williams regained a 3-2 lead in the third on an RBI single by Jabe Bergeron, Tufts' Todd Boutwell (Woburn, MA) scored on a balk by Paylor to tie it back up. After the balk, Paylor would allow only one more hit for the next five innings and worked his way out of bases loaded jams in the fifth and the ninth. Paylor allowed only one earned run on four hits while striking out four, although he walked five and hit three batters. Mancinone, in two innings, struck out three, walked one, and allowed the lone hit to Ayres.

The win set the single season record for victories by a Williams baseball team. The prevous record was set in 1998, when the Ephs were 29-4. The Ephs now await the winner of Amherst and Tufts, which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The finals will begin at noon on Sunday.