Columbia: Champions of the Ancient Eight.

By Eric Sorenson. Posted on May 4th, 2013 in Saturday statements
 
The piling is on. Columbia celebrates winning the Ivy League title in the lets-hope-no-one-gets-injured way.

The piling is on. Columbia celebrates winning the Ivy League title in the lets-hope-no-one-gets-injured way.

 

“I want to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep,

and find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap.”

 

- Frank Sinatra “New York, New York”

 

Big Crowd. Yeah, I know you big-money snobs are gonna say "So fuggin' what?" but there were energetic fans jammed into every nook and cranny at Satow Stadium today, including a good gathering on top of the parking structure overlooking the field.

Big Crowd. Yeah, I know you big-money snobs are gonna say “So fuggin’ what?” but there were energetic fans jammed into every nook and cranny at Satow Stadium today, including a good gathering on top of the parking structure overlooking the field.

 

WHAT I SAW AT SATOW STADIUM.

Columbia got revenge. Revenge for 2010 when they lost the Ivy League Playoffs to Dartmouth. And revenge for a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Big Green a few weeks ago right here at Satow Stadium. They won a white-knuckler in game one, before roaring from behind and winning in a landslide in game two. That put them into celebration mode, dogpiling, lifting trophies and gathering for team pictures with index fingers raised. Columbia wins the Ivy League title with two wins today.

CU starter David Speer had 12 Ks in his 7.1 innings of work for the Lions in game one.

CU starter David Speer had 12 Ks in his 7.1 innings of work for the Lions in game one. Coming into today the lanky lefty led the Ivy League with a 5-0 record and 1.06 ERA in league games this year.

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GAME ONE

Dartmouth – 200 001 011 0 – 5  10  3

Columbia – 030 010 100 1 – 6  13  1

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PITCHING: 

WP: Kevin Roy,  3-1

LP: Cole Sulser, 5-3

Save: None

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TOP HITTERS:

Dartmouth

- Jeff Keller, 2-for-4, HR, 2RBI, 2runs scored

- Dustin Selzer, 2-for-4, RBI

 

Columbia

- Joey Falcone, 3-for-5

- Nick Ferraresi, 2-for-5, RBI

- Nick Crucet, 2-for-5, 2RBI

- Mike Fischer, 1-for-3, 2RBI

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IN A NUTSHELL. 

This was a game of waves. It just so happened that the last big wave was made of Columbia blue.

 

A back and forth affair stayed close all game long and ended in white-knuckle fashion. Dartmouth got a 1st inning two-run homer from Jeff Keller to jump on top early, but soon saw the Lions roar past them with a 3-run 2nd inning (thanks in large part to a 2-run double from Nick Crucet) and then a 5th inning single run from the bat of Nick Ferraresi.

 

The Big Green and Lions traded single runs in the 6th and 7th to put make it a 5-3 game going into the 8th inning. But it could’ve been much worse as CU left the bases loaded in both the 5th and 7th inning, getting just one run with the bases juiced to four different batters.

 

Dartmouth practiced brinkmanship by scoring single runs in the 8th and 9th inning with two out. In fact, the game looked all but over – as in CU fans standing up with two out and a two strike count – but pinch hitter Ryan Toimil stroked an RBI single into left to plate Joe Purritano with the game-tying run in the top of the 9th.

 

That set up the dramatic ending for game one. Dartmouth loaded the bases with no outs on a single by Ennis Cole and walks to Jeff Keller and Dustin Selzer. Again, bases-loaded, no outs.

 

But CU RHP Kevin Roy rallied and got an infield pop-up to Purritano and then struck out both Nick Lombardi and pinch hitter Shane Ogren. Three-on, no-out, none-in. Ack!

 

Columbia then got a leadoff double from Mike Fischer on a ball that was hit over the “short fence” in center field. (There is a chain link fence behind the blue wall which is still in play, but there is a little space between the two, so if a ball hits off the chain link fence, it usually falls between to the two fences and is then ruled a “ground rule double”).

 

The final batter of the game ended up being pinch-hitter Gus Craig, who came on to hit for leadoff man Eric Williams. Craig cooly stroked a single to center field and Fischer, as a catcher not exactly the swiftest of runners, was able to beat the relay and score standing up… setting off the Lion celebration.

 

As the team went to huddle in right field following the game – and after coach Brett Boretti said “Hey Baldy” to me – the team broke the huddle by yelling “Finish!” in unison.

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PICS

A few images from Game One.

A frustrating day: Dartmouth coach Bob Whelan couldn't make much ground with the umpire here.

A frustrating day: Dartmouth coach Bob Whelan couldn’t make much ground with the umpire here.

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David Vandercook has a foul ball go off his hand here. He would shake it off and stay in the game.

David Vandercook has a foul ball go off his hand here. He would shake it off and stay in the game.

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The Rally Monkeys made an appearance for the Big Blue in the parking structure that overlooks the right field line.

The Rally Monkeys made an appearance for the Big Blue in the parking structure that overlooks the right field line.

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Members of Columbia's football team were seated in bleachers above the 3rd base line and were pretty vocal for most of the day.

Members of Columbia’s football team were seated in bleachers above the 3rd base line and were pretty vocal for most of the day.

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Dartmouth outfielder Jeff Keller gets props after hitting a 1st inning home run to put the Big Green up 2-0.

Dartmouth outfielder Jeff Keller (No. 4) gets props after hitting a 1st inning home run to put the Big Green up 2-0.

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Joe Purritano kicks up some tire bits on this slide into 2nd base.

Joe Purritano kicks up some tire bits on this slide into 2nd base.

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With the Columbia fans on their feet clapping in unison in anticipation of the game-ending out, pinch hitter Ryan Toimil got the game-tying hit in the 9th inning. As you can see, he was sort of pumped about it too.

With the Columbia fans on their feet, clapping in unison in anticipation of the game-ending out, pinch hitter Ryan Toimil got the game-tying hit in the 9th inning. As you can see, he was sort of pumped about it too.

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DC's Jeff Keller and CU shortstop Aaron Silbar have a collision at 2nd base as Nick Crucet tries to bail out of the way.

DC’s Jeff Keller and CU shortstop Aaron Silbar have a collision at 2nd base as Nick Crucet tries to bail out of the way.

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A bizarre play here: In the 10th inning, Lion catcher Mike Fischer hit a ball over the head of Jeff Keller and into the chain link fence beyond the outfield wall...

A bizarre play here: In the 10th inning, Lion catcher Mike Fischer hit a ball over the head of Jeff Keller and into the chain link fence beyond the outfield wall…

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2nd base umpire John Harrington called it a ground-rule double, since Columbia's outfield wall and the chain link fence behind it have a space between them. And a home run must go over the chain link fence since Satow Stadium's center field wall is relatively short.

2nd base umpire John Harrington called it a ground-rule double, since Columbia’s outfield wall and the chain link fence behind it have a space between them. And a home run must go over the chain link fence since Satow Stadium’s center field wall is relatively short.

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Coach Boretti, left, questions the call, thinking the ball went over the link fencing.  He asks if he can go see if the ball is there between the two fences or if it had gone over both of them.

Coach Boretti, left, questions the call, thinking the ball went over the link fencing. He asks if he can go see if the ball is there between the two fences or if it had gone over both of them.

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So in a surreal moment, both Columbia coach Brett Boretti and Dartmouth center fielder Jeff Keller hop up on the wall, looking for the baseball.

So in a surreal moment, both Columbia coach Brett Boretti and Dartmouth center fielder Jeff Keller hop up on the wall, looking for the baseball.

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The Columbia Lions bench comes storming out of the dugout after Gus Craig's game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning.

The Columbia Lions bench comes storming out of the dugout after Gus Craig’s game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning.

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Nick Ferraresi and Gus Craig get some serious hang-time in this post-game celebration for Game One.

Nick Ferraresi and Gus Craig get some serious hang-time in this post-game celebration for Game One.

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Then, after a 30-minute break in the action, we moved on to game two of the Ivy League Playoffs.

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The sign that was hung in the Columbia dugout.

The sign that was hung in the Columbia dugout.

GAME TWO

Columbia – 021 100 602 – 12 16 0

Dartmouth – 200 012 000 -  5  9  3

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PITCHING

WP: Stefan Olson, 1-1

LP: Michael Danielak, 1-1

Save: None

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TOP HITTERS

Columbia

- Jordan Serena, 4-for-6, RBI

- Joey Falcone, 3-for-4, RBI

- Nick Crucet, 3-for-4, 3RBI

 

Dartmouth

- Matt Parisi, 2-for-4, BB, 2runs scored

- Nick Lombardi, 2-for-4, RBi

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RECORDS:

Columbia: 26-19

Dartmouth: 32-9

 

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IN A NUTSHELL

Unlike game one, this one had very little drama to it. Early on, it looked like another slap-fight back and forth of trading jabs as Dartmouth took a 5-4 lead into the 7th inning, primed to make this a three-game series.

 

Then all hell broke loose.

 

Columbia went bat-crazy, sending 11 men to the plate and getting the go-ahead runs on a two-run double from Nick Ferraresi. That made the score 7-5 and the Lions would not trail again. If fact, they just kept piling on the poor Big Green. Thomas Olsen came in to replace Michael Danielak, and the hit parade didn’t subside. Aaron Silbar would welcome him with a screaming single up the middle to score another run, David Vandercook was plunked and Nick Crucet singled in another run. Eric Williams would knock in the sixth and final run of the frame with an RBI flyout to center field.

 

That would put the Big Green into a dire hole, finding themselves doubled-up by a 10-5 score. To make sure there would be no late-inning magic, reliever Stefan Olson would get Dartmouth to go four-up/three-down, four-up/three-down and three-up/three-down in the last three innings to salt the game away – with only one hit surrendered in the process.

 

In other words, Olson didn’t budge when it came crunch time, sinking their shoulders just a wee bit with every out ’til the end was nigh. A lofty to fly to Jordan Serena in center field brought the dogpile out from the Columbia dugout, giving the Lions their second Ivy League title in the last five years. The Lions also tied the school record for wins in a season with their 26th W of the year in game two.

 

A few seconds later, the stadium P.A. cranked out Frank Sinatra’s seminal ode to the Big Apple, “New York, New York.”

Coach Brett Boretti lifts his daughter Mia.

Coach Brett Boretti lifts his daughter Mia.

 

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COACH SPEAK

A few Qs after the celebration with Columbia head coach Brett Boretti.

 

Me:

I know you’ve won an Ivy League title before, but how special was this?”

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Coach Boretti:

It means the most for the guys, the senior class of guys that were here as Freshmen in 2010, they are the ones that ended up on the wrong side against Dartmouth (in the Ivy League playoffs). The work they put in, the effort they put in and to have it come to fruition for them, it’s a great feeling. I mean, I feel great for the whole team, but especially those four-year guys.

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Me:

You guys had a rough start to the season, going 2-11. But I guess that’s not unusual for an Ivy League team. The thing is, you guys beat Arizona and UCF, so did you know you had something special this year?

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Coach Boretti:

Yeah we did. And that’s not unusual for that kind of early season record. We try to go play those teams to get that experience and to play that high-level of competition. We know it will only help us down the road. But we got things rolling once we came back up North. It’s interesting because you question yourself – as any competitor would – when you’re 2-and-11. But these guys stayed within the process. We knew we had good pitching. We knew we had a good defense. We just had to wait for the bats to come around and start doing some things for us and that’s what happened.

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Me:

Now, you lost to Dartmouth twice earlier this year. What changed this time when you faced them?

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Coach Boretti:

Again, we’re hitting better. We’re getting things going and doing more on the basepaths. But they’re a great team and as you know coach Whelan has done a great job there, so we were fortunate to be able to get another shot at them and make it count. You know going in that they’re going to be well-prepared and gonna throw a lot of strikes. The big thing is they don’t give up any free bases, so you know you’ve gotta hit. The guys believe in themselves now, they’re playing good baseball and we felt that the adversity we faced during the season was going to help us in the long run and that’s part of why we were able to get it done today.

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Me:

You had Gus Craig come in as a late-game replacement for your leadoff hitter Eric Williams, and then he gets the game-winning hit in game one. What was your reason to put him in and for him to come through?

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Coach Boretti:

Well, he’s been a late inning defensive replacement for us a lot this year. But this is his third or fourth walk-off, game-winner in his career. So he’s been in that spot before and he’s come up big.

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Me:

Last thing. I notice when your team broke the huddle after the celebration, they all said “Omaha” in unison. I’m not going to say you’re not a Stony Brook but you have to believe, right?

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Coach Boretti:

There’s no question about it, you DO have to believe. (Shrugs shoulders, as if to say “you never know”)

 

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PICS

More images from today’s second game.

As you might've seen already on Twitter (What, you don't follow me? Gah!), here's the Columbia radio crew announcing the game from the football press box.

As you might’ve seen already on Twitter (What, you don’t follow me? Gah!), here’s the Columbia radio crew announcing the game from the football press box.

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Columbia just seemed to be two steps ahead of whatever Dartmouth was doing today.

Columbia just seemed to be two steps ahead of whatever Dartmouth was doing today. Here, CU 2nd baseman NicCrucet tags out Dustin Selzer by a good bit.

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Jordan Serena slides into 3rd on this 7th inning triple, which jumpstarted that magic inning for CU.

Jordan Serena slides into 3rd on this 7th inning triple, which jumpstarted that magic inning for CU.

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A few batters later Nick Ferraresi cranked a two-run double to the wall to give Columbia a lead it would never lose on their way to the title.

A few batters later Nick Ferraresi cranked a two-run double to the wall to give Columbia a lead it would never lose on their way to the title.

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... that double sent Joey Falcone to home before the relay throw could get there.

… that double sent Joey Falcone to home before the relay throw could get to catcher Matt MacDowell. By the way, Falcone is also notable as being the oldest player in Division One at 26-years old. The sophomore is a former Marine and has done three tours of duty oversees prior to starting his career at Columbia.

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That ushered in another pitching change for Dartmouth head coach Bob Whelan and his boys.

That ushered in another pitching change for Dartmouth head coach Bob Whelan and his boys.

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Stefan Olson came in to throw the final 3.2 innings, giving up just one hit in the process.

Stefan Olson came in to throw the final 3.2 innings, giving up just one hit in the process.

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This was the view through the heavy chain link fence from the parking structure along the right field line.

This was the view through the heavy chain link fence from the parking structure along the right field line. Also, note all the people standing alongside the track on the left field line, that’s where I ended up standing and taking pics of the dogpile. Good vantage point.

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The view from the football press box at Robert Kraft Stadium. Note how it is buttressed up against the Hudson River and there's a giant blue "C" painted on the rocks on the other shore.

The view from the football press box at Robert Kraft Stadium. Note how it is buttressed up against the Hudson River and there’s a giant blue “C” painted on the rock wall on the other shore.

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Late in the second game the Columbia football team came out to cheer on the baseballers in their full uniforms. They were having a spring practice session after the baseball games were done.

Late in the second game the Columbia football team came out to cheer on the baseballers in their full uniforms. They were having a spring practice session after the baseball games were done.

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The baseball field is so jammed against the football/track stadium that the 3rd base coaches box is right near the visitors bench. So in this shot you see both Columbia head coach Brett Boretti and Dartmouth coach Bob Whelan in close proximity.

The baseball field is so jammed against the football/track stadium that the 3rd base coaches box is right near the visitors bench. So in this shot you see both Columbia head coach Brett Boretti and Dartmouth coach Bob Whelan in close proximity.

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Don't tell the Fire Marshall. The stands were so packed for the second game, fans started sitting in the rows. The attendance was officially listed as 952 fans, pretty good for a stadium whose capacity is 500 or so.

Don’t tell the Fire Marshall. The stands were so packed for the second game, fans started sitting in the aisles. The attendance was officially listed as 952, pretty good for a stadium whose capacity is 500 at best.

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Dartmouth players react to watching Columbia's celebration. This was the third straight year that the Big Green has lost in the Ivy League playoffs. But give huge credit to coach Whelan and his assistants over the years since this marked their sixth straight playoff appearance, having won their way to the NCAAs in 2009 and 2010.

Dartmouth players react to watching Columbia’s celebration. This was the third straight year that the Big Green has lost in the Ivy League playoffs. But give huge credit to coach Whelan and his assistants over the years since this marked their sixth straight playoff appearance, having won their way to the NCAAs in 2009 and 2010.

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AND ONE TO GROW ON… 

The Columbia players pose with the Ivy League Championship Trophy after the game.

The Columbia players pose with the Ivy League Championship Trophy after the game.

 

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Great time at the Ivy League Playoffs today. I hope you all get a chance to see two teams like this fight it out for one NCAA bid from a small conference at some point in your college baseball-lovin’ lives. There’s nothing like the raw emotion of a winning team and the crushing defeat felt from the losing team. This is good stuff, man.

 

G’night.

 

 

 

COMMENTS:

May 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Fat Sam says:

Nice pics and game coverage. Curious as to whether anyone got drilled by a foul ball during the spring football game.


May 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm
Go Gophers says:

Great pics and write up. Love all the little details you bring up. The “C” painted on the rock wall behind the football stadium being one of numerous interesting tidbits.


May 6, 2013 at 3:48 pm
Stretchy says:

What is the umpires mask doing on the ground on his call at 3rd base???