Panthers Return From Arizona

March 28, 2006

The Middlebury College baseball team headed west to Phoenix, Arizona this season on its spring break trip. After going 4-4 in non-league games, the Panthers took two of three from Williams to open up NESCAC play.

Middlebury opened the season with an 8-6 loss to Springfield. The game was tied at four after three innings, with the Pride scoring solo runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings to pick up the win. Senior Ryan Armstrong (Whitman, Mass.) opened the season with a 3-5 effort, scoring a pair of runs, while sophomore Nick Lefeber (Branford, Conn.) went 3-3 with a run driven in. Senior Andrew Pavoni (Scotch Plains, N.J.) had a pair of hits in the game. Sophomore Jack Britton (Carmel, Calif.) suffered the loss on the hill.

The Panthers bounced back the next day with a 3-2 win over Buena Vista. Armstrong had an RBI single in the first as Middlebury took a 2-0 lead. Buena Vista tied the game in the fourth, before the Panthers scored the game-winner as Pavoni scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Justin Wright (W. Simsbury, Conn.) earned the win, striking out five over five innings. Armstrong and junior Joe Ramoin (Nederland, Texas) each had a pair of hits in the game.

Middlebury split a pair with Albright, dropping the first game 4-3 before coming back to win game two, 14-7. A solo homer by Lefeber in the fifth inning of game one tied the game at three, before Albright scored in the bottom of the sixth and hung on for the win. Sophomore John Lanahan (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 3-3 in the contest to lead the offense, while taking the loss on the hill.

Game two saw the Panthers explode for seven runs in the second inning on their way to the win. A two-run triple by rookie Mark Shimrock (Lansdale, Pa.) sparked the big inning, while Ramoin hit a three-run blast in the sixth to place the offense. Armstrong and Lanahan each went 3-5 with two runs scored, while Lefeber and sophomore Gabe Broughton (Barrington, Ill.) each had a pair of hits. Rookie pitcher Steve Shortle (Rutland, Vt.) earned the win, with four innings of work.

The Panthers split another twinbill the next day, falling 11-10 to Midland Lutheran before bouncing back to earn a 7-5 win in game two. Each team scored four runs in the fourth, with Midland Lutheran adding three in the fifth and four in the sixth. Middlebury battled back late, with six runs in the top of the seventh, but it wasn't enough, as they dropped the one-run contest. Armstrong went 2-2, Lanahan was 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored to go along with a triple, while Lefeber went 2-3 with two RBI and a triple. Junior Chris Solberg (Katonah, N.Y.) took the loss in relief.

Midland Lutheran jumped out to a 5-2 lead after three innings before the Panther offense plated five runs in the fourth inning of game two. Shimrock had a two-run single in the inning, ending the day 2-3. Ramoin went 2-3 with a pair of runs scored and a double on the afternoon. Sophomore Christian Hansen (Laramie, Wyo.) earned the win in relief.

Middlebury earned yet another split of a doubleheader the next day, as they fell 3-1 to Allegheny before winning game two, 15-5. An RBI single in the first by senior Noah Walker (Oakland, Calif.) was all the offense could muster up as sophomore Tom Sullivan (Saugus, Mass.) took the loss in relief.

Six runs in the third, five in the fourth and four in the fifth was plenty of offense as Middlebury's bats came to life in game two. Lefeber hit a two-run triple in the third, Walker hit a three-run bomb in the fourth, following that up with a two-run triple in the fifth. He ended the game 4-4 with three runs scored and six RBI. Broughton went 3-5 with three runs scored, Lefeber was 2-4 with three RBI and two runs, while Ramoin went 2-4 with three runs scored. First-year hurler Matt Joseph (Alexandria, Va.) picked up the win.

In game one of a three-game series against Williams, the Panthers won a slugfest, opening with a seven-run first inning on their way to a 15-10 win. A two-run single by Lanahan gave the Panthers an early lead in the first inning, before senior Alex Casnocha (San Francisco, Calif) ripped a three-run homer to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead. Williams cut the lead to 10-7 in the seventh, before a two-run single by Lefeber gave Middlebury some breathing room on its way to the win. Wright earned his second win of the trip, striking out six over seven innings of work.

In the first game of a doubleheader the next day, Williams scored six runs in the late innings to pick up a 7-4 win. Lanahan had an RBI double in the third, Walker hit a SAC fly in the sixth, while senior Dom DiDomenico (Oceanside, N.Y.) drove in a run with a single in the seventh. Lanahan went 3-4 in the game, while Broughton, Lefeber and DiDomenico each had a pair of hits. Britton took the loss, throwing five and a third innings.

The final game of the trip and the series was another slugfest, with the teams combining for 25 runs and 34 hits on the afternoon, with the Panthers prevailing, 13-12. A two-run single by Broughton and a two-run triple by Armstrong plated four runs in the third for Middlebury. Williams led 7-4 before a solo homer for Casnocha cut the lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth. The Ephs added three more runs before Middlebury struck for five in the eighth. Pavoni plated two with a double, while Broughton scored a pair with a triple in the inning to tie the game at 10. Williams struck for two in the ninth, before Middlebury answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double from Shimrock to tie the game. After holding the Ephs in the 10th, Lefeber singled in Walker in the bottom of the inning to win the game and the series. Broughton went 2-4 with two runs scored and four RBI, while Lanahan, Lefeber and Casnocha each had two hits in the win. Gary Roosa earned the win in relief.

Lefeber ended the trip hitting .531, followed by Armstrong (.471), Lanahan (.439), Walker (.394), Broughton (.393) and Ramoin (.359). Walker led the team with 15 RBI and 14 runs scored, Lefeber scored and drove in 11, Ramoin hit five doubles, while Casnocha belted a pair of homers. Joseph and Wright each earned a pair of wins on the hill.