The Suffolk Journal

Baseball slides past all of GNAC competition

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Baseball slides past all of GNAC competition

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

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Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

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More than halfway through the season, the Suffolk’s baseball team has continued to have a successful run, accumulating 17 wins and a perfect 10-0 conference record.

The team’s last conference win came in a double-header versus Anna Maria College on Sunday, where in the first game, Suffolk lefty Worth Walrod threw a no-hitter in a 5-0 game.

“Walrod has really stepped up as a senior leader on the mound, he has dominant stuff and we know we can beat anyone when he steps on the mound,” said senior Tim Brigham in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.

Walrod’s performance on Sunday is the peak of an above average season on the mound for the Rams, as they rank in the top five of the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in earned run average, strikeouts and walks given up.

The Ram’s identity, however, lies in their bats. Suffolk currently leads the GNAC in total hits and runs batted in (RBI) and is third in on-base percentage.

“Offensively, we’ve had contributions up and down the lineup all season. When we are all hitting well at the same time, this is a really scary lineup,” said Brigham.

For many of the Rams, Brigham has been the key to their offensive this year. The junior infielder set the Suffolk record for doubles only 25 games into the season. He has had 41 hits and 32 RBI’s, all while batting an average of .410, fifth best in the GNAC and better than Suffolk’s average by more than 25 percent.

“Brigham’s bat has been red-hot all season long… and he’s showing no signs of slowing down,” said captain Trevor Lee in an interview with The Journal. “Hitting is contagious and our lineup has fed off of his success throughout the entire season.”

The season got off to a bit of a rough start down in Florida, when the Rams went 5-6 on their out of conference road trip.

“When we were struggling at times during our Florida trip, I kept telling the guys not to panic because we were still at the point where we were searching for our identity and figuring out how our team this year will win baseball games,” said Lee.

Since then the Rams have found a better rhythm, winning 12 of their last 16 games including an eight-game streak at one point. The Rams refuse to be handed losses though and are currently on another win streak of four games.

Suffolk has been able to reinvent itself in the last few years in order to become a multiyear contender. The Rams went to the GNAC championship game the last 12 years, and has been victorious the last four years.

Once a power hitting, long ball team, that stat has become one of the least impressive facts about this squad, as they only have six home runs on the season, ranking them in the bottom half of the GNAC.

Though not a team that will often send balls over the fences, this Rams team decided to craft a winning formula through defense and base hits, choosing speed over power.

“Our strengths are our athleticism on our roster… we’ve been pretty good in the middle of our lineup in terms of driving in runs,” said Del Prete in an interview with The Journal. “The other guys have done a really good job setting the table and getting on base. For us, it’s a matter of getting a lead and holding it.”

For many, the burden of Suffolk’s success is the fear of being the team that does not continue it. Del Prete continually reminds the team that every game counts the same in the regular season and that every team is gunning for them and the title.

The Rams, as any team with championship aspirations, use the regular season as a tune up for the playoffs. At the beginning of the season, Suffolk set their own win goal at 30, continuing a tradition implemented since Del Prete took over.

Now that the Rams sit at 17 wins, with only 13 games left, Suffolk would have to win the rest of their games in order to achieve that goal. Despite that, Suffolk is in first place in the GNAC, with some players already having bigger aspirations.

“I think we could definitely get by the first round [of the regionals],” said senior captain Charles Batchelder in an interview with The Journal. “I don’t think there’s any reason we cannot win three or four games and get past that first divisional round and I think this year we have the team to do it.”

The Rams play Wheaton College Wednesday at 4 p.m. in their continued search for excellence and dominance in the GNAC.

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Baseball slides past all of GNAC competition