Baseball prepares for a promising spring season

Billy Whaley pitches for the Cadets baseball team.

Billy Whaley pitches for the Cadets baseball team.

Every fall, the Norwich Baseball team, as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), is allotted only one day of competition and 16 official practices. For the second year in a row the Cadets made a trip to New England College (NEC) in St. Henniker, N.H., to compete in a fall doubleheader, and, for the second time, split the series with the Pilgrims, 1-1.

The Cadets fell short in game one losing 5-1 behind starting pitcher Billy Whaley. Whaley, a sophomore from Northfield, Vt., came out hot, leading the Cadets through his fall performance flawlessly. The Cadets’ ace threw only 18 pitches, notched a strikeout, and didn’t allow a hit over two dominant innings on the bump.

The only run scored by Norwich in game one was scored by means of deception. With runners on first and third with two outs, senior, captain, and third baseman, Devin Cilley (Tunbridge, Vt.), went to steal second but intentionally fell to the ground, drawing the attention of the lefty pitcher on the mound. In the confusion, the runner on third managed to score almost entirely unnoticed while Cilley avoided being tagged out long enough for the play to succeed before the end of the third inning.

The Cadets’ sophomore pitcher/outfielder, Brandon Place (Concord, N.H), came in to relieve Whaley in the third with a confident three-up, three-down performance, keeping the game scoreless into the fourth. The Pilgrims put up their biggest numbers of the day in fourth, rallying to score three runs and then extending their lead in later innings to 5-1.

The Cadets failed to answer The Pilgrims’ surge in the fourth and struggled to get the bats going in game one. Norwich recorded only a handful of hits, including singles from senior center fielder, Charles Schaub (East Hampton, Conn.), junior first baseman, Jordan Britton (Haverhill, Mass.), freshman second baseman Jeremy Quelch (Northfield, Vt.), and freshman shortstop Kyle Lamory (Northfield, Vt.)

Despite their hitting woes, the Cadets boasted nearly flawless defense throughout the day, committing only one error over 12 innings. Northfield native and freshman second baseman, Jeremy Quelch, made an outstanding full extension grab up the middle and topped it off with a solid throw from his knees to get the runner at first. Kyle Lamory, Quelch’s counterpart in the middle and fellow freshman, Northfield native, repeatedly flashed the leather at shortstop, making several diving stops throughout both games.

Despite their struggle at the plate in the first game, the Cadets came back out for game two with new life, amassing more than 10 hits in their 5-0 victory over five innings. The game was called early by the umpiring crew due to darkness.

Coupled with their excellent defense, Norwich’s superior pitching helped lead the way to victory in game two. Jacob Muetterties (Boxford, Mass.) opened the game with another hitless inning and was relieved by southpaw Brian Albert (Wappinger Falls, N.Y.). Albert, a freshman in the Corps of Cadets, recorded one strikeout and no hits over one inning. Relieving Albert was freshman Kyle Farquharson (South Ryegate, Vt.). Farquharson also pitched a hitless inning, recorded one strikeout and allowed a walk.

Highlighting Norwich’s performance at the plate in game two were Place, Whaley and freshman outfielder, Timothy Dargan. The pitching duo from game one showed off their bats in game two when Whaley, returning at first base, roped a RBI single in the first inning to give Norwich their first lead of the day. Place, now in the outfield, broke the game open in the third inning with runners on second and third, ripping a two strike, two-RBI hit and extending the Cadet lead to 3-0. Dargan’s debut for Norwich baseball was a loud one. The freshman drove a hard-hit single down the left field line late in the second game to extend the Cadets lead to 5-0.

The Cadets, who have been focusing their efforts on dominating the base paths next spring, displayed their new mentality and skill by notching 10 stolen bases over both games. Sophomore outfielder, John Flanagan (West Groton, Mass.), paved the way on the paths, swiping three bases on the day and notching a single in the second game.

As the fall season comes to a close, Norwich baseball looks forward to rigorous winter training and a promising spring. The Cadets will be heading back to Vero Beach, Fla. in March to compete for a week with other Division III teams from around the nation.

The Vero Beach complex is the old Dodgertown complex where baseball greats like Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax once stayed, trained, and played.

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