Despite fighting its way to a 20-13 record with a slate of weekend games left before the end of the season, the Bowdoin baseball team could not overcome its NESCAC East foes and missed the playoffs. 

The Polar Bears came out of the gate strong during their annual trip to Florida in March, winning their first seven games and heading back north with an 8-3 record. Things began to unravel from there, however. In their first NESCAC matchup against Trinity, the Polar Bears gave up three unearned runs in the first inning and lost to the Bantams 4-3 despite holding Trinity to only two hits. 

For shortstop Sean Mullaney ’17, this loss was a negative turning point in the team’s season. 
“It’s a game we should have won,” said Mullaney. “Defensively, we didn’t make all of the plays. We blew that game, and since then, we’ve struggled in the NESCAC weekend series.”

 Bowdoin lost the next day 4-0 but finished out the series with a 5-2 win in Hartford. This became a pattern for the Polar Bears, as they took one of three games in all four NESCAC weekend matchups they played. While Bates and Colby went 12-20 and 11-22 respectively, Bowdoin could not muster a series win against either team.

One bright spot for the team appeared against the top of the conference. Playing within earshot of Waka Flocka Flame and Baauer during Ivies last Saturday, Bowdoin dropped the first game of its doubleheader against Tufts 16-0. The Polar Bears nevertheless managed to rebound in the second game, taking it 5-2 behind seven strong innings from senior Michael Staes. 

The Polar Bears’ win, which came during their final game of conference play for the season, spoiled the Jumbos’ perfect NESCAC East record and dropped them to 25-6 (10-1). The Jumbos finished out their NESCAC season with a win against Bates in a rescheduled game, so the Bowdoin loss remains their lone blemish in conference play. 

In their final game against Tufts, the Polar Bears managed to solve offensive woes that plagued them throughout the season in conference play. While Mullaney noted that their pitching and defensive play generally kept them in games, he believes that the offense held back the team at points.

Bowdoin worked its way to a .263 team batting average and a .342 on-base percentage.

However, there was a significant gap in runs scored between conference play and non-conference play. During non-conference play, the Polar Bears exploded for 6.05 runs per game. The numbers tell a different story when they were playing against the tough competition of the NESCAC East, though. Bowdoin scored 2.83 runs per game while allowing 5.92. 

“It’s just been frustrating because we have a really good overall record, and we couldn’t put it together the weekends that we needed to,” Mullaney said. “As coach would always say, we were always one pitch short or one hit short.”

While the season may have not ended on the note the team hoped after its impressive Florida trip, there is hope for the future. Due to injuries, most notably to catcher and captain Chris Nadeau ’16, and the graduation of some big contributors in 2015, first years and sophomores were forced into important roles on the team. Brandon Lopez ’19 shined on both sides of the ball, hitting .282 and pitching a 4.21 ERA. Luke Cappellano ’19 smacked the second most RBIs on the team at 16, and outfielder Joe Gentile ’18 led the team in batting average at .379. 

With all of this talent coming up the ranks, the team looks to improve in conference play and make a deep run into the playoffs in the 2017 season.