Three feet short.
A chance to remain in playoff contention came to just that—three feet.
Down 10-6 in the seventh and final inning of the first game of a Bates doubleheader, the baseball team was facing loaded bases and two outs when catcher Reid Auger '10 came up to bat. And when the ball came off his bat, flying into left field, for just a moment it seemed the comeback was there, the game tied. But the moment passed just as the ball fell into the outfielder's mitt.
With a 2-1 weekend at Bates, the Bears lost their chance at second place. Because Colby took a game off Tufts, had Bowdoin swept the Bobcats, it would have only needed a win against the Mules to win a playoff spot.
On Friday Bates visited Bowdoin for the first game of the three-game series. Behind a complete game, two-earned-run performance by Carter Butland '10, the Bears were able to secure a 6-2 victory.
"Carter pitched great, threw the ball well, and competed well," Head Coach Mike Connolly said.
Connolly took the opportunity to talk about Butland's season as a whole.
"He's been outstanding from the first start to the last start," he said.
On the offensive side, Joe Berte '09 provided a solo home run, one of eight hits on the day for the Bears. In the field, the team only committed one error, an improvement from recent games.
The defense, however, would not remain solid for the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday.
"We went into the day thinking we would sweep and wait on Tufts and Colby and we just started out slow hitting," K.J. Kozens '08 said. "We didn't play like we normally play."
The team committed four errors and fell into a 5-0 hole after three innings. Despite the deficit, the team rallied and took a 6-5 lead going into the sixth inning, but a combination of Ryan Turgeon '08 and Ben Higgins '11 allowed five runs, putting the Bears in a four-hole. It was in the next inning that Auger's long fly found the left fielder's mitt.
"In order to keep playing you have to consistently play well," Connolly said. "We couldn't consistently play well."
Even though their playoff hopes had been shattered, the Bears did not let it get to them, and they beat the Bobcats 16-7 in the final game.
"As you can see in the second game we took care of business," Kozens said.
Joe Pace '10 struggled in the early going, so Steve Hall '10 came in for seven innings of relief.
"Steve Hall pitched great in game three," Connolly said.
Offensively, every Bowdoin hitter had a hit except for the pitchers, and Matt Ruane '11 hit two home runs while Higgins added one.
The Bears have four games this weekend, one at Colby on Friday and two at home against Middlebury on Saturday, with the fourth against Fisher College again at home on Sunday.
"If we happen to put together a good stint of baseball we could win 20 games this season, which would be a good thing for the program," Connolly said.