Baseball Update: Week of 4/18

Now that the spring is in full swing, America’s pastime is as well. There are many storylines to follow throughout the 2016 season: AOF will try to make it a decade with at least a share of the Founders/Colonial League titles, Loomis and Choate will try to stand in their path, and KO will continue their efforts to establish themselves as serious contenders. For a quick brush-up on what the difference is between the Founders League and the Colonial League, click here.

Current Founders/Colonial Standings

It is still early yet, so these standings will most likely be shaken up a bit in the coming weeks as teams play more league games.

#1 Choate – 5-1 (4-0 in Founders/Colonial)

The Wild Boars have put themselves in good standing so far this season, with four league wins coming against Taft, Kent, Kingswood-Oxford, and Hotchkiss. It is worth noting that none of these teams have a record over .500. They beat these teams by a combined score of 49-8, so it is safe to say there is no shortage of offense. The biggest difference between this year’s team and last year’s team is the graduation of Jacob “Bear” Stevens ’15 (Boston College). In his six decisions, Stevens finished the 2015 season with a 5-1 record, the only loss coming against their rival and future Founders/Colonial champions, AOF. He was the go-to starter for the big games, like their match-ups against AOF and Loomis.

The future seems bright, though for the Wild Boars. There is not a doubt that this season will be like every other prep baseball season in recent memory: Choate, Loomis, and AOF will contend for the Colonial League crown and perhaps end up sharing it. Their first major test is against Loomis this afternoon, which is set to start at 3:00.

#2 AOF – 5-1 (3-0 in Founders/Colonial)

After a tough loss to competitive non-league opponent, Brunswick, the Winged Beavers bounced back with two wins over Loomis. While only the first of those two wins counts towards the Founders/Colonial, the second was definitely still beneficial for the team’s morale. Apart from their win over the Pelicans, Avon won two other league games over Westminster and Hotchkiss by a combined score of 36-1. In a similar fashion to Choate, the Winged Beavers have had little trouble offensively thus far, excluding their performance against Brunswick.

They benefited from the performance of RHP Matt Gill ’16 (Boston College) against Loomis, and will most likely continue to depend on him for the rest of the season. He is optimistic about the future of the Winged Beavers this season, “We have a very good and deep lineup 1-9 – a very potent offense. If we stick to what we do best, we shouldn’t have a problem putting runs on the board. As for pitching and defense I think we’re in good shape moving forward. Everyone seems to be in mid season form which is great for the team.”

They host the Kingswood-Oxford Wyverns this afternoon at 2:30.

#3 Loomis – 4-2 (2-1 in Founders/Colonial)

The Pelicans sprinted out of the starting gate with three decisive victories against T-P, Suffield, and Hopkins respectively, but they hit a bump in the road this past weekend in their two games against Avon. In a pitchers’ duel between Avon’s co-captain Gill and the Pelicans’ ace, Bobby Cecere ’16 (Yale). Loomis’s head coach, Jeff Ross, sees a great positive that the team took away from the defeat, “We learned a lot about where we are at this point in the season from the Avon games – mentally and physically, offensively and defensively.”

Loomis bounced back with a 5-1 win over Westminster on Monday. They don’t have time to rest on that one, though, as they’ve got a massively important game this afternoon against the Wild Boars of Choate. “It was good to have another game to play [Monday] and start to put some of those lessons to work,” Ross confirmed the Pelicans’ readiness, “I’m sure we’ll be ready for [Choate]. We played 1-0 and 3-1 games last year and a few years ago played an 11 inning 1-0 game in an hour and forty minutes, so I’d expect things to be tight and crisp in this one.”

First pitch is set for 3:00 PM.

#4 Trinity-Pawling – 3-1 (2-1 in Founders/Colonial)

Trinity-Pawling has had a fairly strong start although they haven’t played too many strong baseball programs. They managed to beat Gunnery, Westminster, and Kent. While they did have good wins against those teams, they suffered a 10-2 loss against Loomis. What this shows is that they will struggle against stronger teams but can absolutely win against weaker teams. In order to compete for the title, they would have to beat the perennial powerhouses like Loomis.

The Pride take a trip up to Hotchkiss this afternoon for a 2:30 PM game.

#5 Kingswood-Oxford – 2-3 (1-1 in Founders ONLY)

The Wyverns have had a relatively decent start to their season, splitting their two league games thus far, but going 1-2 in non-league play. Their strong-suit has not been their bats in their first five contests. They have a total of 14 runs through five games, and were shut out on Monday by Suffield Academy. Where they make up for that is their strong pitching staff, the ace of which is Holden White ’16 (Wake Forest). He is set to get the ball this afternoon against AOF, which will be an interesting pitchers’ duel. In order to achieve consistent success, the bats will have to awaken for the Wyverns, and this afternoon will be a good test to see if they can come alive against good pitching.

They travel to AOF to take on the Winged Beavers at 2:30 PM.

#6 Taft – 2-3 (1-2 in Founders/Colonial)

Taft had a relatively successful season in 2015. They contended seriously against the leaders in the league, finishing third behind only Avon and Choate. They have not followed suit this season so far.  They have played three league games, winning one of them. Their win came against current last-place team Hotchkiss and their losses to Choate and KO. Defense has been a bright spot so far, as none of their opponents have scored more than five runs. Eric Holzman ’17 pitched in both of those league losses, but the losses weren’t results of his performance. In fact he pitched quite well in both, only letting up 3 hits against Choate and 5 hits against KO. The problem, in truth, was offense. They put only one run on the board in both match-ups.

They host Kent at 2:30 PM.

#7 Westminster – 1-3 (1-3 in Founders/Colonial)

Westminster is off to a rough start this spring. Three out of their four contests so far have resulted in losses. Two out of their three losses were relatively close, although their other loss was by a margin of 18-1. Peter Horsfall ’17 pitched a complete game against Hotchkiss in their sole win allowing only one earned run. If the rest of their pitching staff follows his lead, and their offense starts to produce, they may finish around .500, but it is most likely that they will end up as one of the lower teams in the Colonial. 

The Martlets will not be in action this afternoon.

#8 Kent – 0-3 (0-2 in Founders/Colonial)

The Kent Lions have been struggling right out of the gate as they have started out by losing their only two league games. Their first loss was a 14-0 blow out by Choate. They had a very close game with Trinity-Pawling, in which they only lost 2-1. This has proven that they can compete with weaker teams, but will struggle significantly against stronger teams. Kent has a long way to go if they want to have a successful and strong season.

They travel to Taft this afternoon to take on the Rhinos at 2:30.

#9 Hotchkiss – 0-4 (0-4 in Founders/Colonial)

Hotchkiss’s start has been less than ideal. They have struggled on both sides of the ball, and will most likely continue to do so. Unless they have a drastic change in form, they will almost definitely stay in last place for the rest of the year.