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NESCAC Tournament Final
Williams 8    Tufts 5

At Williamstown, MA
Sunday, May 13, 2007

Game Box Score

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williams won the NESCAC Championship with an 8-5 victory over Tufts on Bobby Coombs Field on Sunday morning. In the bottom of the eighth inning with the game tied at 5-5, the Ephs rallied for three runs to take the lead for good.

Williams (26-8), the top seed out of the NESCAC West and host of the tournament, won all three of its conference tourney contests to earn the crown. As NESCAC Champs, the Ephs will receive an automatic berth to the Div. III NCAA Sectionals. Tufts, the top seed out of the East, awaits a possible NCAA Tournament at-large berth with a 25-12 mark.

Sophomore pinch-hitter Taylor Mikell started the eighth inning rally for the Ephs with a leadoff double to center. After sophomore Barrett Allison came in to pinch-run for Mikell, senior Ryan Fote knocked a base hit to right. Allison, playing it halfway, advanced to third on the play, giving the Ephs runners at the corners with no outs. The Jumbos went to their bullpen, bringing in senior Brian Casey (Milford, MA) to escape the jam. As rookie Rob Allemand squared at the plate to bunt, Fote stole second on the first pitch of the at-bat. With the infield in, Allemand then dropped a bloop hit over the head of the Jumbos' shortstop to drive in Allison and Fote and give the Ephs a 7-5 lead. Junior James DiCosmo moved Allemand from second to third with a sacrifice bunt before senior Chris Kenney provided another insurance run with a base hit to left, making it 8-5.

Tufts threatened in the top of the ninth, but senior Sam Tuttle was able to close it out for the Ephs. After walking the first batter he faced, Tuttle went to a full count on rookie Nate Bankoff (Lynnfield, MA) before sitting him down on a called third strike. Senior Chris Decembrele (Walpole, MA) then also worked the count to 3-2 before striking out swinging. With two outs, first-year catcher Alex Perry (Danvers, MA) kept the Jumbo hopes alive with a base hit to center, bringing the tying run to the plate. With men on first and second and two outs, Tuttle went to 3-2 on Casey before striking him out to seal the win.

The win was Williams' second conference championship, its first coming the last time the Ephs hosted in 2001. The Ephs have been to the sectionals twice, on an at-large bid in 1998 and an automatic bid in 2001.

Williams looked to be in control early, taking a 4-0 lead through two innings played. With two down in the bottom of the first, the Ephs scrapped together the first run of the contest. Kenney drew a walk and senior Paul Morgan blooped a single into shallow right to move him to third. Senior Sean Gleeson then hit a dribbler to third that was mishandled, allowing Kenney to score for a 1-0 edge. The Ephs extended their lead in the bottom of the second. After rookie Chad Brown reached on an infield hit, Allemand came through with two outs, delivering a triple to left center to plate Brown. After back-to-back walks to DiCosmo and Kenney, Morgan hit a two-run single to left to make it 4-0.

But Tufts answered in the top of third inning. Senior left fielder Kyle Backstrom (Worcester, MA) led off the inning with a single, but he was erased on a fielder�s choice by Bankoff. Bankoff moved to second on a wild pitch and Decembrele walked to put runners on first and second. Perry then doubled down the left field line, knocking in Bankoff for the Jumbos� first run of the game. A groundout by Casey to the shortstop made it 4-2. Senior Bryan McDavitt (Holden, MA) drove in Perry with a base hit to right for the final run of the inning, cutting the Eph lead to 4-3.

After three scoreless frames, Tufts took the lead in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Perry hit a line drive single to center that was fumbled, allowing Decembrele to score with the tying run. The Ephs then went to the bullpen, calling on senior Cory Catelli to relieve junior starter Matt Gustafson. But a wild pitch by Catelli allowed Perry to scramble in from third with the go-ahead run. After walking Casey, Catelli induced a fly-out to right to get out of the inning. Williams got one back in the bottom half of the seventh. After Morgan walked with one out, Gleeson doubled to right center to knock him in, tying it at 5-5.

Two rookies had multi-hit days for the Ephs. Allemand finished 2 for 5 with two runs scored and three RBI, while Brown went 2 for 4 with a run scored. The seniors also came up big at the plate. Morgan went 2 for 4 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs, Gleeson was also 2 for 4, knocking in one, Fote was 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, and Kenney was 1 for 3 with two walks, a run, and an RBI.

For the Jumbos, Perry finished 3 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored, and two RBIs, while Decembrele finished 2 for 3 with two runs scored and a walk. Catelli got the win for the Ephs, allowing no runs over 1 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out one. Gustafson had a solid start, lasting 6 2/3. He surrendered five runs, four earned, on six hits and two walks, striking out four. Tuttle got the save with a scoreless ninth and three strikeouts.

Senior Carlos Lopez (Brooklyn, NY) started for the Jumbos, going seven innings. He gave up five runs, four earned, on nine hits and five walks and struck out three. Rookie Thomas Hill (Robbinsville, NJ) took the loss, allowing two earned runs on two hits in the eighth without recording an out. Casey recorded the final three outs, giving up one earned run on two hits.