Steve Englert is an assistant coach at Boston College.
Each week, he will provide
a journal of the previous week's happenings from Chestnut Hill.
May 6, 2003
Books, Baseballs and Brooms
This past week was a tough one for our guys, for not only
did we have six games scheduled but it also was the start of final exams. It was
nothing but a steady diet of books and baseball.
On Tuesday, the Dartmouth Big Green ventured into town for
a nine-inning (ahem) emulation (I figured I'd toss that one out there since we
were playing an Ivy). Dartmouth was delayed and missed its allotted time to hit,
but had time for a quick infield/outfield. The game began, and I think the Green
took their 40 minutes of BP on the bus. The first pitch of the game was hammered
off the right-field wall and it continued from there as they jumped out to an
early 4-0 lead. We didn't panic and began to chip away, registering runs in the
third, fifth, sixth and eighth to win, 7-6. The guys enjoyed the win for about
two minutes, then headed straight to the library in full unit to study.
The team had an optional noon workout on Wednesday, which
involved hitting for an hour or so. Only a few position players were able to
make it, but a couple of pitchers managed to break away from their studies to
get in a few hacks. I have never met a pitcher who didn't think he couldn't hit.
Our assistant manager jumped in the cage as well as some grounds crew members, a
women's hoops player and even a few of us coaches.
The afternoon was spent watching a local high school game,
and I almost fell asleep. The entire state of Mass has gone to wood bats at this
level, and the game has slowed immensely. Three hits the entire game, all
flares. A pitching guy's dream and a hitting guy's nightmare.
Thursday brought a doubleheader with UMass. It was a gray,
overcast day, and the Minutemen kept us at bay throughout the first game and
beat us, 6-2. The second game started to mirror the first, with UMass taking the
early 5-0 lead. However, the bats slowly started to come around and the pitching
settled in as we crept back to within two. In the bottom of last frame, the
offense had two big pinch-hits to keep us alive, and we finally won it on a
walkoff single. The first loss was a bit disappointing, as we felt we could have
played better, but the second game, putting up a three-spot in the last inning
for the come-from-behind win, built up momentum leading into the weekend.
After a light team workout on Friday, consisting of mostly
hitting and fielding ground balls, a few of us took in a Sox game that night.
They almost drew as many fans as we did for last week's Beanpot. I buried five
Fenway Franks during the game, and I didn't taste one I ate them so fast. I'll
put Fenway's dogs up against any other ballpark's in the country.
We were blessed with perfect weather on Saturday for the
Big East tilt against Pittsburgh. The team used the momentum from Thursday to
get right out of the gate, plating four in the first. That would be it for us
scoring-wise, but it turned out it was all we needed as the defense and pitching
took over in a 4-3 win.
Sunday's weather was a carbon copy of the previous day, and
it felt great to be able to go without sleeves once again. For our home games,
all of our guys walk up to the plate to a song, mostly crazy gangsta' rap stuff.
Not that I'm against it. I like some of the stuff (I've hit pregame to Big
Punisher). But to shake things up a bit I requested a little Frank Sinatra for
the pregame infield. Our student manager didn't know who he was. WOW!
The team yanked up its pants and went with high socks
Sunday to help us get two wins on the day. Good pitching shuts down good hitting
any day, and starting pitcher Chris Lambert once again had his best stuff,
throwing a one-hit shutout to lead us to a 5-0 victory. The only hit given up
was a perfectly placed bunt in the sixth.
In the final game, the team played with a sense of urgency,
knowing that the broom would keep us alive in conference play. The offense
produced a bunch of runs on clutch two-out knocks, and starting pitcher Matt
O'Donnell put in a strong performance as we took the final game of the homestand,
Finally, a Big East sweep, which put us at 10-8 in the
conference. Congratulations to head coach Pete Hughes, who picked up his 200th
Our starting pitching each day was tremendous, holding a
solid Pittsburgh team in check throughout the weekend. Defensively, we are
making all the routine plays and coming up with a few ESPN highlight one's as
well. Offensively, we are having great approaches, sticking to a plan and
producing quality at bats.
WHO ARE THESE GUYS! What a difference. Being able to
practice and play regularly on a field has done wonders for our players. The
team is a different squad from when it started. A good friend and Atlanta scout
said back in February that he saw a lot of talent in us, but that we just
weren't ready yet and stressed the need to get outside. The winter really put a
damper on us getting into a groove. But, now that spring has sprung, we have
improved a ton and look to control our own destiny in the final two weekends.
There's Nothing Like Baseball at Fenway (4/29/03)
and Huskies Highlight Week (4/22/03)
Hokies Make for Tough Week (4/15/03)
Gowdy Brings Snow Back to Northeast (4/8/03)
Eagles' Wins Rise with Temperature (4/1/03)
Return to Florida Not as Rewarding (3/25/03)
Weather or Not... Eagles Battling Elements (3/18/03)
Wins Bring Fun in the Sun (3/11/03)
Hanging with Nomar and the Gang (3/4/03)
Working the Kinks Out (2/25/03)
(photo courtesy of BC Media Relations Office)